Pensions  

Tenet under fire for ‘overly laboured’ insistent client case

Tenet under fire for ‘overly laboured’ insistent client case

Adviser network Tenet Connect has been ordered to compensate a client after causing delays with his pension transfer, which led to additional fees and a reduction in the transfer value.

The client, called Mr M by the ombudsman, had asked his Tenet adviser to arrange a transfer out of his occupational pension in early 2015.

But a series of delays in getting the correct information together at both Tenet and the scheme administrator meant the valuation had expired before the transfer could take place and the client was asked to pay for a second valuation, which yielded a lower transfer value than the first.

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The ombudsman found Tenet’s internal procedures in particular had contributed to the delay, including a “significant amount of chasing replies” within the group and a “linear approach” to working, which meant tasks were only commenced after previous ones were concluded. 

Mr T was what is considered an insistent client -  he had asked Tenet to proceed with his transfer request despite the firm’s advice to the contrary.

Because he was told Tenet would not be able to contact him until any complaint was resolved he decided to delay making the complaint until after the transfer was carried out.

Mr M complained to Tenet as well as the administrators that delays had caused him to pay an additional valuation fee and suffer a loss in the amount of the transfer. According to the ombudsman Tenet blamed the administrators for the delays, who in turn blamed Tenet.

The pension ombudsman, which received the complaint about the administrators, rejected it on the grounds that the administrators were not the cause of the delay.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (Fos) however, thought Tenet was not wholly to blame for the failure. Despite this, Mr M was granted a refund of the transfer fee he had paid together with a payment for the trouble and upset experienced by him.

The ombudsman decided Tenet could not have completed the transfer within the three-month transfer value guarantee period given by the scheme at its initial valuation.

“It only had all the information from the scheme administrators at the time the deadline expired and even if everything had been provided at the time the valuation was received I didn’t think it would have been able to complete the transfer without another valuation being required,” he said.

At the same time however, the ombudsman reprimanded the network for not being “as quick as it could have been”. He agreed the additional checks with regards to the insistent client were necessary but said the transfer had been further delayed by the network’s internal processes.

He said: “I believed Mr M and his financial adviser to have been prompt in supplying any information requested of them, but there appeared to have been a significant amount of chasing replies from others, mostly within the Tenet group.