TPO upholds pension transfer complaint against SJP

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has upheld a complaint against St James’s Place Wealth Management (SJP) regarding a pension fund transfer discrepancy.

TPO said that it has provided the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with a copy of the determination for the regulator to decide whether SJP is operating inadequate systems "which make it difficult or impossible for it and scheme members to identify any lost units".

The complainant, Mr S, alleged that SJP had not transferred the correct amount when he transferred his benefits from the firm’s pension plan into a small self-administered scheme and that, when written to, they were unresponsive or its responses were inadequate.

Mr S asked SJP to provide a record of the transactions carried out prior to the transfer and “chased SJP for this many times”.

After receiving an “inadequate response” from SJP, in which the complainant claimed that SJP has “ignored his main complaint” and focused on “the minor part of his complaint”, TPO were contacted by SJP.

SJP said: “On further investigating the points raised, Mr S mentioned a difference in units between 22 October 2017 and 27 October 2017. The difference was due to an error on our part which means we should have sent an additional payment of £653.67.”

After providing transaction histories for Mr S’s four policies, SJP agreed to reimburse the recalculated transfer discrepancy of £730.31 with 8 per cent interest.

However, Mr S said that the response, in which SJP stated that it had “not been possible to get to the bottom of what happened to the units”, was “wholly inadequate” and that its “system or administration of the system is noncompliant”.

He also did not believe that the reimbursement offer was reasonable.

TPO agreed and ordered SJP to pay a total of £1,500 to Mr S for the “significant distress and inconvenience” the case had caused him.

The ombudsman also conceded that SJP may be operating “inadequate systems which make it difficult or impossible for it and scheme members to identify any lost units”, and has provided the Financial Conduct Authority with a copy of the determination.

The regulator will then decide whether to take any further action against SJP for the systems it operates.

Responding to the decision, an SJP spokesperson said: “St James’s Place has robust systems with appropriate controls in place and we take client satisfaction very seriously.

"This was an isolated incident and we regret any occasion where an error results in a correction being required.”

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