Where has fund hold­ing gone?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

Ear­lier this year I opened an ac­count with Axa Self In­vestor and ap­plied to have my hold­ing in the Fidelity In­dex UK fund trans­ferred to my new Axa ac­count.

Five months later, I am still wait­ing for the trans­ac­tion to be com­pleted.

I un­der­stand that the ini­tial prob­lem arose be­cause the fund hold­ings were in a dif­fer­ent “share class” to that which Axa cur­rently deals with, hav­ing been con­verted from class A to “clean fund” class P by Fidelity the pre­vi­ous year.

Be­cause of the ex­tra­or­di­nary de­lay I am get­ting in­creas­ingly con­cerned. My money does not ap­pear to be in ei­ther my Fidelity or Axa ac­count. SW, NOR­FOLK

Un­der­stand­ably, you were be­gin­ning to won­der if your units had some­how van­ished into the ether for­ever.

When I be­came in­volved, both par­ties ac­cepted a share of the blame.

Fidelity said its de­lay had been due to hu­man over­sight. It stressed that this was rare. It has now, al­beit with a lit­tle fur­ther de­lay, switched the units to a share class that Axa can ac­cept.

Apol­o­gis­ing for the length of time it took to re­solve this is­sue, it of­fered you £300 for good­will.

Axa said it had mis­tak­enly ac­cepted a re­quest to trans­fer your hold­ings in the Fidelity fund into a share class that it does not of­fer. Fol­low­ing the ini­tial de­lay in dis­cov­er­ing this, fur­ther time was taken in its deal­ings with Fidelity over the re-reg­is­tra­tion of the hold­ings.

It also apol­o­gised for the over­all length of time it took to re­solve this is­sue.

It said it was work­ing with its trans­fer team to en­sure that more vig­i­lant checks were in place so this didn’t hap­pen again.

After I sug­gested that it should also give you something for good­will, Axa of­fered £100. Com­par­ing this with Fidelity’s of­fer you man­aged to get the amount in­creased to £200.

You now con­clude that you have done well out of this. down to “in­sur­ance” on the right hand side.

Those with­out on­line ac­cess can call 0300 330 3311 and select the third op­tion. which I can ill af­ford. How­ever, I want to en­joy my re­tire­ment has­sle free. JB, HANTS

You had put up with var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion er­rors.

These in­cluded fail­ure to ac­tion your draw­down re­quest quickly enough and an in­or­di­nate amount of time taken to ob­tain de­tails on how to log into the on­line sys­tem and get the nec­es­sary pass­words.

There were mud­dles about fig­ures and you report that you had to watch what was happening like a hawk. You de­scribed the ad­min­is­tra­tion as sloppy and wanted to quit. You felt you were treated in a cav­a­lier man­ner.

You were also con­cerned be­cause it seemed that any

use of “in­come draw­down” would at­tract the full exit fee of 6pc as if a new in­vest­ment were in­volved.

I ap­proached St James’s Place. It said it was dis­ap­pointed and very con­cerned to read of the ad­min­is­tra­tion er­rors you had ex­pe­ri­enced.

A spokesman said: “Fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a new back of­fice sys­tem last year, a small num­ber of clients ex­pe­ri­enced a level of ser­vice that was well be­low the nor­mal high stan­dards that we strive to achieve for our clients and Mr B ap­pears to be one of these.

“For this I would like to of­fer our most sin­cere apolo­gies.”

You say the new com­puter sys­tem ac­tu­ally amal­ga­mated some fig­ures so you found it more dif­fi­cult to work out the charges.

The spokesman added: “We would ide­ally like to meet to dis­cuss this mat­ter as we truly hope that he can be per­suaded to re­main a client of St James’s Place. How­ever, ir­re­spec­tive of whether he chooses to ac­cept our in­vi­ta­tion to meet, if Mr B would like to trans­fer his in­vest­ments to an­other provider, I will en­sure that he is free to do so with­out charge.”

You said you had tried to get some­one to lis­ten to you but noth­ing hap­pened un­til I got in touch. In fact, although it did act when I spoke to it, St James’s Place pro­fessed not to know about or read my columns.

You then spoke at length with St James’s Place, which said that what you had un­der­stood about full exit fees ap­ply­ing to draw­down was very wrong. A spokesman said the fees were “not ap­plied to the trans­fers made into draw­down”.

You were told that it was very likely that some peo­ple may not have been aware of this sit­u­a­tion as it is a tech­ni­cal point. Ap­par­ently this mat­ter has been ad­dressed.

None the less, you de­cided to trans­fer your pen­sion else­where.

Be­ing able to leave St James’s Place un­shack­led by the early en­cash­ment fee will, you say, save you £10,500.

You have con­firmed that your pen­sion and draw­down ac­counts with St James’s Place have now been trans­ferred to your new fund man­age­ment com­pany gross with­out any penalty de­duc­tions at all.

You say this ex­cel­lent re­sult would not have been achieved with­out my in­ter­ven­tion.

Many read­ers com­plain that the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions that are keen to take their money are less will­ing to an­swer le­git­i­mate ques­tions.

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