A pension provider has apologised to a financial adviser after a simple funds switch took nearly two years to enact.
Clerical Medical apologised for the level of service it provided to an IFA and his client, whose request was only granted after FTAdviser contacted the company.
The fund switch was first requested by the IFA in August 2020, after the closure of a property fund held in the portfolio had prompted a wider review of the pension’s holdings.
The two pensions were set up by the client for his two children, and a small amount of money invested into them each month.
The request was acknowledged by Clerical Medical immediately, however in October of that year the adviser received a form to re-confirm the property fund changes, a separate issue to the original fund switch requested.
The company responded to the completed form in early November, at which point Clerical Medical said the requested switch had also been done.
The paperwork, including valuations, seemed correct, the IFA said.
The IFA then received the client’s statement in April the following year, for the year to March.
“Everything was wrong with the allocation of the funds,” the adviser said.
The pensions were still invested in the property fund that had closed, with this issue reported to the company in May.
Clerical Medical acknowledged this letter, however after being prompted by the adviser in June, the company said they were still looking into the matter.
This continued until November, when the adviser downloaded the client’s pensions statements, and the allocations were still incorrect.
This was despite Clerical Medical saying in August that the issue had been sorted on April 20 earlier that year, as well as £50 compensation being sent to both children (the holders of the pensions).
After realising the allocations were still incorrect, the IFA put in another complaint, after which Clerical Medical came back to ask whether the fund allocation figures were correct - on an internal system to which the IFA had no access.
“I suggested that maybe [the caller from Clerical Medical] go back to her admin department to find that out,” the adviser said.
Yet another switch statement was received, and then an investment change statement in February 2022, which was still incorrect.
The IFA said Clerical Medical in the meantime had closed the complaint down.
“At this point we’ve got two pensions for two young kids that were taken out on exactly the same day with exactly the same premiums put in throughout.
“[We are now] getting different valuations for each plan…they were both wrong.”
In July of this year, the complaint was escalated to a manager, however until Clerical Medical was contacted by FTAdviser, the IFA’s complaint was not acknowledged.