Client stuck in cash earned just 0.29% in six years

Client stuck in cash earned just 0.29% in six years

An adviser has stepped in to help a client who had accidentally left his £134,000 pension pot in cash for six years, missing out on a strong market run.

Phillip Milton, who runs advice company PJ Milton and Co in Devon, recently acquired the client, who had been paying lump sums diligently into his platform savings but had failed to invest the money into any underlying funds.

As a result, the money was kept in the platform’s default cash account, and the client’s return from six years of having their pot invested in cash was just 0.29 per cent, working out at an annual rate of about 0.05 per cent a year.

By contrast, the average fund in the Investment Association Global equity sector has returned 74 per cent over the past six years, according to FE Analytics.

Mr Milton told FTAdviser: “I guess the client did the ‘right thing’ in establishing the account. He may even have spoken to the provider and completed all the forms with the idea of returning to the matter of fund selection etc later, but that never happened.

“Then, for every year for six years he made lump sum contributions, it repeated the original fund choice of cash by default.”

He said the returns were even weaker than normal cash returns because the provider in question splits the interest earned on the cash with the client.

Mr Milton said: “The cautionary tale is to remember ‘cost over value’. He should have noticed, but maybe he was too busy. And, had he appointed a professional independent adviser, the likelihood of something going wrong like this would have been removed.”

Also, according to Mr Milton, had the client been advised at the time, and the adviser had not spotted the six-year cash build-up, the client could have been entitled to redress for bad/negligent advice.

The client came to Mr Milton for a general check-up of his financial affairs, and Mr Milton discovered the pension pot kept entirely in cash.

He declined to reveal the name of the platform and added it should not be criticised for not providing any advice or guidance, because it did not charge a fee to provide such a service. 

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