Pensions  

Advisers urged to check provider statements for errors

Advisers urged to check provider statements for errors

Advisers have been urged to check all client documents carefully after one adviser noticed a mistake that could have cost him almost £2,000.

Andrew Oliver, company director at Andrew Oliver & Co, complained to Aegon after he noticed an anomaly on his commission statement from a client’s pension plan.

As the pension plan was sold in 2004 payments to the adviser were commission-based, as opposed to fee-based. The policy included a period of time in which the insurer could claw back the commission from the adviser if the client cancelled the policy. 

In Mr Oliver's case the pension plan was still in force with a value of around £244,000, so no commission should have been clawed back.

But Mr Oliver noticed that Aegon had debited £1632.50 without any explanation when he received his latest electronic commission statement.

He said normally there was a range of credits and debits made by the provider but the £1632.50 withdrawal caught the adviser’s eye as it was unusually high.

Aegon said the figure in question was due to a human error but that the adviser had not been charged and no money had actually been taken.

An Aegon spokesperson told FTAdviser: “There was an isolated error shown on the statement. 

“No money was taken as a result of the error and this has been corrected in the next statement the IFA will receive.”

Mr Oliver argued the issue had been dealt with poorly and had resulted in a cost to him as he had had to take time out of his working day to resolve it.

He said: “This issue is a waste of my time but an issue that I need to get resolved. I don’t want someone from Aegon contacting me for £1632 that I do not owe.

“I accept that errors occur and things do not always go right but what is important is how it gets corrected. So far Aegon have failed on that score.”

Tim Morris, independent financial adviser at Russell & Co, said errors like this happened more often than advisers might think therefore it was wise to check all documentation carefully.

He said: “I’ve had instances where a clients fee wasn’t deducted by a provider as per the instruction. You would really expect them to get this right. 

“I do appreciate that errors can happen, yet this happens more regularly than it should. Perhaps they need an additional layer of checks in place to prevent/rectify such errors.”

He added: “I always check the statements and think all advisers need to. It makes sense and is the same as anyone checking their pay to ensure it’s correct. I always want to ensure I’m not underpaid or even overpaid.”

But Ivor Harper, director at advice firm Park Financial Limited, said advisers should be able to rely on providers to provide correct information.