Ruling reclaims saver’s loss

Over the past year we have supported Andrew Reed, with the Financial Ombudsman’s (FOS) ruling making all the difference.

Its thorough and fair assessment, that Andrew has shared with Crusader, is a testimony to how vital it is to have recourse to a scrupulous, independent arbiter.

Andrew’s problems stemmed from the havoc triggered by last year’s disastrous mini-budget.

He managed his savings and at the time his investment, a workplace pension rollover, had been with Aegon (the trading name of Scottish Equitable) for 15 years in its Balanced Lifestyle fund.

It was after spotting its value shrink that prompted Andrew to intervene with some short-term juggling. But instead of the switch happening immediately, as he was wrongly told, it was held in cash at a time of massive market volatility.

“I was then told I could not move mid-transfer so I was stuck and down some £12,000. It was so distressing,” he told Crusader.

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After he complained to Aegon he then discovered his funds had been switched back, although this did not make good his loss.

A general announcement had also been previously posted on Aegon’s website warning about lifestyle funds and growing concerns over poor performance. Andrew didn’t see this, “but had I, I would have acted earlier,” he added.

“This was not helpfully communicated and a simple alert is not too much to ask.” Aegon, however, insisted it does not give financial advice.

Andrew was offered £250, then £500 for his first complaint while the other was rejected.

The adjudication then went through challenges and an appeal with the Ombudsman leaving no stone unturned.

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It was found that Andrew should have been consulted about having his switch reversed. This did not restore him to the position he would have been in had the wrong advice not been issued, so a new fund value calculation was required. Andrew’s compensation was increased to £650 and the redress calculated at £11,803.

An Aegon spokesperson said: “We have now reached a final outcome, with all parties, including FOS, in agreement that [he] is in a position where he has not been financially disadvantaged. We have also made a payment of compensation to apologise for the inconvenience caused. We will review this case and ensure we take any learnings for the future.”

“This is a fair conclusion. I hope the new Consumer Duty regulations will also mean improved treatment for customers generally,”
said Andrew.

● Andrew’s name has been changed


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