Cofunds  

Cofunds has to compensate confused widow

Cofunds has to compensate confused widow

Cofunds has been told to pay £250 extra compensation to a widow who was led to believe her husband hid £260,000 from her.

In a final decision, ombudsman Ivor Graham stated Cofunds had “bemused” and caused a widow to go through a range of emotions by the platform telling her the wrong information.

Mrs D’s husband held power of attorney for another person who had substantial investments with Cofunds. 

Article continues after advert

He passed away and the person’s financial adviser notified Cofunds who then wrote to the late Mr D saying it noted his change of address. 

Mrs D was unaware that her husband had the power of attorney and called Cofunds to seek clarification. 

She spoke with the platform on three occasions. 

Despite her having a reference number the business had some difficulty in identifying the file and in the first call indicated there would be some investment held by her late husband. 

In the following call Mrs D was told he had investments of some £260,000.

At this point Mrs D was both surprised and confused as she wasn’t aware that her husband had held such a large sum and that he had kept it hidden from her. 

In the third call she was told he acted as a power of attorney and the business couldn't tell her anything about the investment. 

She complained and the business apologised and sent her £100 compensation plus a hamper. 

A Financial Ombudsman Service adjudicators thought the compensation should be increased by £250 but Cofunds didn’t agree and suggested it only pay an additional £100. 

Reviewing the complaint, Mr Graham said: “I can imagine she went through a range of emotions. I don’t think either member of staff appreciated Mrs D’s situation and I don’t believe the situation was properly explained to her. 

“It is clear that she isn’t experienced in financial matters and she was left somewhat bemused. 

“She was given wrong information at a time when she was dealing with the death of her husband and she was caused unnecessary distress.”

In a final decision, he ruled Cofunds should pay Mrs D an extra £250 of compensation.

emma.hughes@ft.com