Ask Jes­sica

Fi­nan­cial trou­bleshooter Jes­sica Gorstwilliams is here to help you with your money prob­lems

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Readers’ letters -

In June my wife and I trans­ferred our life’s sav­ings from Por­tu­gal to Bri­tain via a cur­rency ex­change com­pany called Pre­mier FX. Un­for­tu­nately, be­fore we could ac­tu­ally take the money out, we re­ceived an email in­form­ing us that Pre­mier FX had ceased trad­ing and was in ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Pre­mier FX held it­self up as be­ing a fully reg­u­lated com­pany that would seg­re­gate cus­tomers’ funds in the safe haven of a British bank, in this case Bar­clays. Be­fore us­ing Pre­mier FX we checked it out on the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity web­site and con­firmed, as the firm had said, that it was in­deed reg­u­lated by the FCA. GD, GREATER MANCH­ESTER Those owed money by Pre­mier FX or with ques­tions about the ad­min­is­tra­tion process can con­tact the ad­min­is­tra­tor by email­ing pre­mierfx@ ge­of­frey­martin.co.uk, call­ing Brooke Overtony­orke on 020 7495 1100 or writ­ing to PKF Ge­of­frey Martin & Co, 1 West­ferry Cir­cus, Ca­nary Wharf, Lon­don E14 4HD.

Cur­rently, I un­der­stand, these ad­min­is­tra­tors are go­ing over all the 50 or so in­di­vid­ual Bar­clays ac­counts the com­pany had. Each, I un­der­stand, had be­tween 60 to 100 trans­ac­tions per day so it will take time to see what each trans­ac­tion re­lates to. The ad­min­is­tra­tor will be in touch with cred­i­tors as soon as it has more in­for­ma­tion.

Pre­mier FX of­fered money trans­fer ser­vices mainly to ex­pats in Por­tu­gal and Spain. Such money re­mit­tance ser­vices are not cov­ered by the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­pen­sa­tion Scheme (FSCS), al­though firms in this line of busi­ness have to be reg­u­lated by the FCA and ap­pear on its reg­is­ter. They may also be au­tho­rised, as Pre­mier FX was.

The FCA said: “Au­tho­rised firms must ei­ther seg­re­gate such money from the firm’s own money or de­posit it with a credit in­sti­tu­tion au­tho­rised by a state in the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area if it con­tin­ues to be held at the end of the next busi­ness day fol­low­ing re­ceipt, or take out an in­sur­ance pol­icy or com­pa­ra­ble guar­an­tee to cover such funds to re­im­burse cus­tomers on the hap­pen­ing of an in­sol­vency event.” Re­quire­ments for firms that are only reg­is­tered are less strin­gent.

The FCA ap­plied to put Pre­mier FX into in­sol­vency when, fol­low­ing the death of the founder, it be­came un­able to pay its debts as they fell due.

The case serves as an alarm­ing re­minder that not ev­ery­thing is cov­ered by the FSCS or com­pletely pro­tected by the FCA.

For more de­tails on this see fscs.org.uk and find the “What we pro­tect” page, or call 0800 678 1100 (0044 20 7741 4100 from over­seas).

As you point out, how are or­di­nary peo­ple sup­posed to know that money lost in this way is not cov­ered by the fi­nan­cial safety net? This is a com­pli­cated area and ad­vice should be taken. The FSCS web­site is con­fus­ing as to why vic­tims in this case will not be el­i­gi­ble for

No phone re­fund with­out box

I bought a ba­sic mo­bile tele­phone from my lo­cal Voda­fone shop. The phone stopped work­ing af­ter 18 days and I re­turned it to­gether with the re­ceipt only to be told that, be­cause I did not have the box, it could not re­place it or re­fund my money.

I called Voda­fone and was told the same story. I have had a con­tract with Voda­fone for many years.

At the time of the pur­chase no­body told me that I had to keep the box.

MM, LON­DON

I ap­proached Voda­fone and the com­pany of­fered you

One reader fears for large sums sent from Por­tu­gal to Bri­tain

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