Multiple Products/Services Decision Reference 2021-0300

Case OutcomePartially upheld
Subject MatterMultiple Products/Services
Date06 September 2021
Conducts Complained OfFailure to provide correct information,Alleged poor management of fund, Dissatisfaction with customer service , Maladministration, Misrepresentation (at point of sale or after)
Finantial SectorInvestment
Decision Ref:
Product / Service:
Multiple Products/Services
Conduct(s) complained of:
Failure to provide correct information
Dissatisfaction with customer service
Misrepresentation (at point of sale or after)
Alleged poor management of fund
Partially upheld
The Complainants are company directors who make this complaint in their own name. The
products at issue are described in the Complainants’ submissions as occupational pension
schemes and guaranteed income bonds. There are two principal elements of the complaint,
the first relating to a guaranteed income bond that matured in 2011 and the second relating
to the winding up of the Complainants’ occupational pension schemes. The Provider, against
which this complaint is made, acted as intermediary in relation to the pension schemes and
investments that are the subject of the complaint.
The Complainants’ Case
The documentation furnished to this office by the Complainants indicates that in June 2005,
the Complainants invested in a geared investment with a life assurance Provider (the “2005
bond”). The Provider, against which this complaint is made was the intermediary. The
Complainants explain that in 2006, they purchased a similar type financial service product
from another life assurance Provider (the 2006 bond”), again with the Provider, against
which this complaint is made, as intermediary. The Complainant states that both of these
investments were either encashed or matured in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
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Notwithstanding that any complaint concerning the advice given by the Provider to the
Complainant at the time of the sale of the financial product in 2005 and 2006 may fall
outside the jurisdiction of this office, the Complainant asserts that the Provider mismanaged
the proceeds of the 2006 bond after it matured in 2011.
In its final response letter dated 4 April 2017, the Provider accepts that certain errors arose
in relation to how it dealt with the maturity of that financial services product.
The Complainants argue that they invested €53,000 in June 2006 in a bond which matured
in 2011 and despite numerous enquiries since that date, the Provider has been unable to
categorically state the value of the investment or where the funds were. The Complainants
argue that when an explanation was demanded in December 2016, the Provider informed
them that the bond was encashed in 2014 and was worth approximately €11,000. The
Complainants argue that they have not received any further communication on the
whereabouts or the value of the investment.
The second element of the Complainants’ complaint relates to the winding up of pension
schemes associated with the company of which the Complainants were directors. The
Complainants contend that at the time this took place, between November 2015 and March
2016, they were misled by the Provider regarding the transfer of the funds derived from
their occupational pension schemes to retirement bonds. They say that they proceeded with
the transfer of the funds to retirement bonds on the basis that there would be a 100%
allocation of funds. They argue that the Provider did not make them aware of the costs and
charges associated with the transfer. The Complainants argue that the advice they received
was misleading and not in their best interests.
The Complainants argue that in November 2015, the Provider suggested that the pension
funds associated with the company be wound up and transferred into retirement bonds.
The Complainants argue that the Provider indicated that the advantages of this would be
100% allocation, lower management charges, and savings between 0.25% and 0.5% per
annum. The Complainants argue that at the same presentation, the Provider informed them
that the value of the policies was €353,128.37. Based on the information, the Complainants
argue that they instructed the Provider to proceed with the transfer to retirement bonds in
anticipation that the sum of money would be 100% allocated to the retirement bonds. The
Complainants argue that at no stage did the Provider mention or discuss early encashment
charges related to these policies. The Complainants argue that at the next review of the
policy in October 2016, it came as quite a shock to discover that the amount of money
transferred to the retirement bonds was €272,389.29. This represented a difference of
€80,739.08. The Complainants accept that the original policies dipped in value between
November 2015 and March 2016, but the Complainants state that they felt misled by the
financial advice they received and feel that the recommendations were not in their best

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