We live in a world where everything is supposed to be “plug and play” – nobody reads instruction manuals any more. The things we buy are built to be used easily. However, during lockdown, we saw all those small jobs that needed doing around the house and many of us decided to go down the Do-It-Yourself or DIY route. The results are seen above – nearly half of DIY-ers had to pay to get their mess fixed. Apparently simple jobs don’t always work out that way.
The issue here is overconfidence bias i.e. the tendency to overestimate our talents and abilities. It’s the biggest bias of the human brain and nearly everyone can tell a “DIY gone wrong” tale.
Unsuitable Pension Transfer Advice
So why am I telling you this?
Well, I want to tell you about Mr H who received unsuitable advice in 2015 to transfer four pensions worth approximately £775,000 into a Self-invested Personal Pension (SIPP), where his funds were overseen by a discretionary fund management (DFM) service. The new pension arrangement did not behave as described and Mr H was worse off than before the transfer.
He’d already complained to the advising firm and received their response also in August 2017. He also spoke to the FOS about a possible claim at that time. However, it wasn’t until March 2018 that he made his complaint against the advising firm to the FOS. This was a fatal error – one of many Mr H unwittingly made.
The rules that define what the FOS can and can’t consider are laid out in the Dispute Resolution chapter of the FCA Handbook (also know as ‘DISP’ or ‘the DISP rules’) and is effectively the instruction manual for claims handling. But it’s a difficult read. Unfortunately, Mr H didn’t know that he “didn’t know” and blundered on with his claim.
- He didn’t know he’d started a clock ticking when he received the FRL from the advising firm and that time mattered;
- He didn’t know that several parties were at fault. He actually had several claims that he needed to make to achieve full compensation not just one;
- He didn’t know that his financial losses began once he transferred out of the 4 occupational pensions and not because the DFM used the wrong benchmark index at a later time as he claimed.
In the end, Mr H’s situation was actually complex but appeared simple at the outset. He didn’t understand or was not aware of the DISP rules and that meant the FOS were only able to award a maximum amount of £ 150,000 compensation in their December 2021 decision.
Luckily for Mr H, the advising firm had earlier agreed with the FOS to settle with Mr H on a “strictly without admission of liability” basis to prevent future legal action from being taken against them.
However, there are limits to redress amounts: Even if the calculation of financial loss suffered by Mr H was greater than £150,000, the FOS cannot force the advising firm to pay more. Mr H may now have to take expensive legal advice and possibly incur legal costs to see this matter through to a satisfactory conclusion.
Mr H should be enjoying a comfortable and well provisioned retirement that he worked hard for but instead he has the stress and inconvenience of trying to recoup his losses for years to come.
What can you learn from this story?
- STICK TO YOUR LANE. Recognise you do have skills and experience that are valuable but they don’t always extend to every sector or industry.
- REALITY CHECK. Ask yourself “what’s the worst case if I’m wrong?”. If the cost of getting it wrong is more than hiring an expert, it’s probably not worth taking the DIY route.
- GET A SECOND OPINION. Is there someone who can give me free unbiased, professional advice?
Unsuitable Investment Advice
If you have transferred your workplace pension, got a badly performing SIPP or invested money with a DFM, you may have been given unsuitable advice and therefore should get your transactions reviewed by a claims expert. You may want us to check your pension arrangements to make sure they’re solid.
Get A Second Opinion
We offer a free assessment of your situation to find out if you may be owed money redress. Don’t delay because there are time limits to claim your compensation. The time to act is now!
Call us or email for an informal discussion to explore your options. You’ll also get a better understanding of how we work before deciding on your best course of action.
Our Claims Advice
ACL Consultancy Ltd have been in operation as a claims management company (CMC) for 10 years and have offered the lowest flat fee service in the industry since 2017.
We are able to work for a reasonable fee because we don’t buy your data from the companies involved in your claim. We pass these cost savings on to you. Our success is your gain.
Our team possess a deep knowledge of pension and investment compensation and welcome your call to find out if you can make a successful claim. So you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling us on 0333 358 0074.