Shares/Equities Investment Decision Reference 2022-0017

Case OutcomeUpheld
Subject MatterShares/Equities Investment
Date10 January 2022
Conducts Complained OfFees & charges applied ,Mis-selling (investment)
Finantial SectorInvestment
Decision Ref:
Product / Service:
Shares/Equities Investment
Conduct(s) complained of:
Fees & charges applied
Mis-selling (investment)
The Complainant incepted an Investment Policy (‘the Policy’) with the Provider on 30
January 1989, by way of a single premium of IR £6,270.49 (€7,961.88). The Complainant
made a €30,000.00 top-up to the Policy on 17 January 2018 and a further €50,000.00 top-
up on 31 January 2018. This complaint concerns the suggested failure of the Provider to
advise the Complainant at that time that a 5% bid/spread applied to those top-ups.
The Complainant’s Case
The Complainant met with a Provider Financial Adviser, Ms J., on 6 December 2017, 13
December 2017 and again on 15 January 2018, when she then made a €30,000.00 (thirty
thousand Euro) top-up into the Policy, effective from 17 January 2018.
Later again on 29 January 2018, she made a further €50,000.00 (fifty thousand Euro) top-
up into the Policy, effective from 31 January 2018.
The Complainant says she was aware at that time that the net allocation on the top-up funds
was 101.58%, the annual management charge was 0.75% and the exit tax on growth of funds
was 20%.
The Complaint says her Policy Annual Statement as at 17 January 2019, dated 22 January
2019, showed policy charges of €2,514.90 (two thousand five hundred and fourteen Euro
and ninety Cent).
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The Complainant’s Broker emailed the Provider on 4 February 2019 to query these charges,
as follows:
[Annual Management Charge] is stated as 0.75% of €114,977 yet the charges
debited are €2,514.90. Can you please provide a full breakdown of the €2,514.90 as
[the Complainant] has queried it”.
The Broker sent follow-up emails to the Provider on 20 February and 22 February 2019.
The Provider replied by email to the Broker on 6 March 2019, as follows:
“This [Policy] was original sold by our Financial Advisor channel who in turn have a
different charging to brokers.
We received a top SP on 31/1/2018 of €50,000
The gross allocation to the client was 101.58%.
There is also a bid/offer charge of 5%
So the charges referred to were calculated as follows:
€50,000 less 1% Gov levy = €49,500 x 1.0158 x 0.05 = 2,514.10”.
The following month, the Complainant’s Broker emailed the Provider on 2 April 2019, as
“Two top ups were applied to the Policy of €30,000 and €50,000 in 2018 (one before
the annual statement in question). There was a charges query in relation to the 2018
Annual statement (period 27/1/2018 to 17/01/2019) …
… the documentation that was supplied to [the Complainant] at the time of
investments by the [Provider] Advisor…clearly states that the charging structure of
the top ups are as follows:
101.58% Net Allocation Rate
0.75% Annual Management Charge
20% Exit Tax
1% Government Levy
It doesn’t state anywhere that there is a 5% bid/offer spread and this was not
communicated to [the Complainant] at all (verbally or in a written capacity). [The
Complainant] is very aware of charges and charging structures so they are extremely
frustrated that the policy has incurred an additional charge without it being
We are assuming that the €30,000 also incurred the same 5% bid/offer spread in the
[previous] Annual Statement …
[The Complainant] feels that they have been completely misinformed and mis-sold
an investment without full disclosure of charges …

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