Platform complaints reach ombudsman

Platform complaints reach ombudsman

Complaints regarding replatforming issues at Cofunds have begun to trickle through the Financial Ombudsman Service, with a particular emphasis on concerns over a lack of client support offered by the platform.

In January and February of this year the ombudsman upheld four complaints against Cofunds in relation to the replatforming issues which had plagued the company in May last year and continued for months.

In one case upheld in February a client complained she had not been able to access her account since it transferred to the new platform and where she and her husband had previously been able to access both of their accounts with a joint email address, they were now unable to do so. 

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The ombudsman heard the client's husband had made "numerous, lengthy calls" in an attempt to resolve the issue but Cofunds rejected their complaint on the grounds the changes had been made for security reasons.

But Cofunds accepted the replatforming process had "thrown up some technical challenges" which resulted in customers waiting an unusually long time for queries to be dealt with and offered the client £50 compensation in recognition of the cost and trouble caused.

The ombudsman found the company should have told the client in advance about the change and requested it pay an additional £100. 

The ombudsman said: "Even if it did [tell the client in advance], I believe it had a responsibility when bringing about a significant change in clients’ online access to their accounts to ensure it had systems and staffing in place to assist any clients who suddenly found they were locked out of their accounts - even if this was not its fault.

"From what I have read, Cofunds admits it did not have sufficient support in place to provide prompt and helpful advice to clients who could no longer access their accounts."

In another case upheld in January a client complained she could only access one of her two Isa accounts on Cofunds' site in June 2018, and when her husband made six calls to the company he was unable to resolve the matter.

The client alleged her husband was put in queues and Cofunds "hung up on him and promised emails that never arrived".

The client's adviser also contacted Cofunds to ask her accounts be held together, but not merged, so she could view them both under one log in.

In August 2018 Cofunds told the client she should be able to log in and view both accounts, but she was still unable to do so.

Despite Cofunds apologising to the client in September last year and offering £100 in compensation, the problem persisted. 

The ombudsman agreed the issue had prevented the client from accessing her accounts for "some months" and she had therefore been unable to "monitor her investments in the way she wanted to". 

The ombudsman said: "Over this period, Cofunds haven’t responded as quickly as they should have to the client's requests and complaints. And they’ve told her the problems would be resolved when they haven’t been."