EuropeanMay 23 2013

Adviser hits out at euro conversion errors

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ByKevin White

Steve Laird, director of Belfast-based Carrington Wealth Management, questioned the administration processes of SEB Life International after a client highlighted that it was incorrectly converting its fund prices from pounds to euros.

A number of SEB’s sterling denominated funds, including its UK Cautious Managed Fund, were affected by the miscalculations on the website. The price per unit of £2.317 was converted to €1.956, instead of €2.748 using the exchange rate of €1.186 to £1 on the date the problem was raised.

Mr Laird said: “I was staggered that, in this day and age, this type of error could happen. As an adviser, if I were found guilty of supplying incorrect information I would be pulled up for it by the regulator, so I would expect that the same should apply for SEB.

“This could affect many people who could be misled on the price of a fund and, as far as I know, these errors have been online for at least three weeks.

“When my client saw this, he thought he had lost a big chunk of his investment.”

A spokesman for SEB said the incorrect currency conversions were down to a “coding error”.

He added: “Having immediately investigated the claim we found that the pound to euro conversions listed on our website were incorrect for a three-week period.

“Our immediate concern was to confirm that the error had not affected client funds and that it was limited to that portion of the website only. We can confirm that no client funds were affected.

“While disappointed that we were showing an error on the site, we are relieved that the error was contained on that page of the website only. The coding error was fixed promptly on the afternoon of Friday 3 May and the conversions are accurate again.”

The spokesman said client funds had not been affected, and added that policyholders have online access to daily issued valuations for their individual policies. The daily valuations originate from SEB’s fund-pricing system and are not related to the error on the website.

Regulator View

A spokesman for the Central Bank of Ireland said the sale of products in the UK was an issue for the relevant supervisory authority in the UK. However he added that the regulator would “bring issues such as this to the attention of the firm where we become aware of them”. The Financial Conduct Authority declined to comment.