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Adviser invoices LV= for time spent chasing

Peter Cranwell, director of Oracle Financial Management, claimed an initial transfer of a client’s money from a Cazenove fund that was invested within a LV= self-invested personal pension, into LV=’s flexible options plan, had taken far longer than it should.

However, when he started to chase this in December 2012, he claimed that he was not receiving any answers to emails or responses to assure them that the units would be invested.

He said: “My client had only wanted to pay a fixed fee for the transfer, as he wanted to manage the plan himself.

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“However he was getting irate about the lack of communication and the length of time it was taking to get his units invested.”

Finally, after “lots of chasing” he received acknowledgement that the units would be invested and the price backdated to the time of transfer, so there would be no client detriment.

Mr Cranwell claimed he did not want to charge the client for the time spent chasing LV=, he submitted an invoice on 25 February to LV= for five and a half hours’ work. His director’s fees are £150 an hour. For administration, it is £60 an hour.

On 3 July, Mr Cranwell received a letter that informed him that while LV=’s Manchester sales office accepted his director’s fees, it did not consider the admin fee to be “acceptable” and adjusted Oracle’s fee structure accordingly.

The letter, seen by Financial Adviser, said: “Manchester confirmed that in respect of the administration charges, an hourly rate of £30 has been deemed as acceptable”.

He claimed this left his firm £200 out of pocket. Mr Cranwell said: “How can a company dictate to us what our firm’s costs are?”

As a result, Mr Cranwell wrote to LV=. In an email seen by FA, he wrote: “I intend to submit a second invoice for all the work carried out from the date of last one until today. I will of course be using our standard rate, not the one LV= seems to have settled on.”

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A spokesman for LV= said: “Due to an administrative error, there was a delay in us completing the transfer. We have made sure that the client has not suffered any financial loss or detriment.”