Pensions  

Xafinity launches client dispute service

The Expert Witness Service – which is available to both individuals and groups – has been launched in response to rising losses of pensions and future earnings claims, and other complicated issues that Xafinity said are now widespread in the UK.

The pension provider has voiced its eagerness to help resolve monetary disputes in an “increasingly litigious society”, and said that a suitable assessment of a claims value can only be made with proper actuarial and investment advice.

According to Xafinity, this new service will provide actuarial advice on a number of everyday financial issues involving personal injury, fatal accidents, unfair dismissal, trust disagreements, divorce and separation, breach of contract, professional negligence, pension scheme mal-administration and investment loss due to inappropriate advice.

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Despite the complex nature of many of these types of cases, Xafinity has said its latest advancement is tailored to reflect specific individual circumstances.

As an indicator of how it evaluates loss of pensions or future earnings claims, for example, the service would put a capital value on any unknown cashflow for the individual’s future lifetime, while taking into consideration both financial and demographic circumstances.

With cost-effectiveness in mind, Xafinity said the service has been developed using comprehensive modelling techniques that put emphasis on the amount of capital under consideration.

“Pension and future earnings claims typically run into hundreds of thousands and often millions of pounds,” said Kenneth Auld, head of the Expert Witness Service.

“The assessment of claims based upon life expectancies is highly complex. For this reason they are usually contentious, which is why we have launched our new service, which brings independence, integrity, objectivity and most of all well proven expertise to the area.”

Adviser view

Dan Clayden, director of Devon-based IFA Clayden Associates, said: “My overriding thought is that this looks like a potential conflict of interest. Xafinity obviously has the resources to offer this service, but what would happen if, say, a consumer complained about a Sipp product, when Xafinity also provides them? As an adviser, you are not going to be looking at this company too favourably if it is in the market of helping potential ligation, while trying to push its own products and services. It obviously has the systems and controls to provide this service, but it almost smacks a bit of ambulance chasing, in that Xafinity is trying to encourage people to complain about the advice they are given.

“I understand that there are situations of poor advice and there has to be something in place to compensate clients in these circumstances, but we already have the Financial Ombudsman Service, which works fairly well. This type of service, however, looks as though it is trying to get people to look at their investments to find faults. Most of the time, in retrospect, you could find things that could have been done a little better. Does that mean, however, that you would open a potential compensation complaint?”