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Liberty Sipp points finger of blame at adviser

Liberty Sipp points finger of blame at adviser

Liberty Sipp's managing director has hit back at claims the provider's errors caused a delay of nearly a year in a pension fund being invested, arguing the adviser who recommended them should accept some of the blame.

The complainant, known as Mr T, said he was advised by his financial adviser to set up a Sipp and transfer funds into it from an existing pension.

However, the funds were left in cash and not invested until almost a year later, after a routine check from the financial adviser.

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Liberty Sipp stated that it sent an email to the financial adviser in April 2016, once cash had been received into the Sipp, asking for any investment instructions.

However, Mr T said the adviser did not receive this email and argued Liberty Sipp already had his investment instructions as these were included in the paperwork he completed when he applied to start the Sipp.

The complaint was referred to ombudsman Keith Taylor for a final decision.

Mr Taylor said: "I think Liberty should have done more to get investment instructions from Mr T’s financial adviser once it received the transferred funds. It did send an email but this was not followed up."

However, he added that it was not "fair or reasonable for Liberty to bear all responsibility".

He added that the financial adviser should have checked that the funds had been invested.

He said Liberty Sipp should pay half of any loss.

When contacted for comment, John Fox, managing director at Liberty Sipp, said the problem was caused by the financial adviser.

He said: "This issue was exacerbated, and only went to the ombudsman, as the adviser wouldn’t admit any responsibility for the problem.

"From the outset we were quite open with the Fos and put our case forward that we accepted responsibility but that it should be shared.

"The IFA and client didn’t accept our view hence the referral to the ombudsman for a decision. The ombudsman agreed with us and published accordingly. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have published the name of the IFA."

rosie.murray-west@ft.com