Consumer complains about how independent financial adviser dealt with transferring portfolio

Investments Distress and inconvenience Up to £1,500

After Chris' husband, Doug, passed away, Chris needed to transfer Doug's portfolio into his name. But multiple delays and errors caused a huge amount of distress and upset to Chris. He was offered £1,000 compensation, but came to us to make sure that this was fair considering what had happened. 

What happened

Doug and Chris had portfolios of investments in both joint and individual names. When Doug passed away, Chris contacted his independent financial adviser to deal with the estate and transfer his husband’s portfolio into his name.

There were ongoing administrative errors and delays during this transfer process. Doug’s portfolio was eventually transferred into Chris’s name correctly. However, this took over a year – when it should have only taken a matter of weeks. Chris also had to contact the business many times to chase things along and to clarify incorrect information which it had sent him. On one occasion the adviser addressed a letter to his late husband asking him to call them. Chris found this very upsetting and insensitive.

Chris said he had been devastated when his husband passed away and all the added pressure of having to chase the business had made him feel even worse. It also delayed him getting access to much needed funds, so he struggled more financially than he should have had to.

The business did apologise for the letter it sent and offered Chris £1,000 in compensation. Chris wanted a second opinion on whether the offer was fair, so asked us to look into what had happened.

What he said

We thought Chris had been substantially inconvenienced by the long delays and the ongoing administrative errors caused by the business. These delays meant he wasn’t able to wrap up his husband’s estate in a timely or efficient way – and impacted his ability to properly grieve. It had also led to him struggling financially until the assets were transferred.

We recognised that these delays, and the ongoing chasing, had caused Chris serious distress and inconvenience over many months at a very difficult time for him. And that further distress had been caused by the business providing him with incorrect information in relation to the portfolio and sending a letter addressed to his husband.

Overall, we thought the adviser’s mistakes caused Chris substantial distress. To recognise the impact of the business’s mistakes, we said the offer to pay Chris £1,000 in compensation was fair.