Where has fund holding gone?
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.