Due to bad advice from a deVere South Africa financial advisor, my husband and I have suffered a loss to-date of almost £38,000. As yet after 9 months, we have still not agreed on a settlement. We were sold a QROPS when neither of us had enough funds to cover all the charges and costs. Having recently spoken to independent financial advisors in the U.K. who do not work on a commission basis, all state that any amount less than 6 figures they would not put into a QROPS. Our funds came to £60,000 and R38,000.
I sold an ISA, to go into a QROPS, which I should never have been advised to do.
deVere changed our advisor, who then advised us to sell the fund we were in and re invest in another fund which was recommended to be the better performer. The funds were sold and we sat in cash for over 16 months before we realised that the money had not been re-invested. We had no quarterly reviews as promised.
We advise anyone wishing to transfer out of a U.K. investment or pension to go with deVere in a QROPS to think very carefully, add up all the charges to see if you think their funds, which are limited, will grow fast enough to cover the costs. Take a second opinion from a independent financial advisor who does not rely on commission.
Copy of letter below for deVere South Africa.
Head of Risk and Compliance, Erica Steeman-Duncan,
Submitting Complaint, to deVere, Financial Advisors.
Mr. M.R.M. Cook and Mrs. S.V.M. Cook,
tel: 044 870 8788.
After seeking independent legal and financial advice I have been informed to submit my complaints to you as detailed below.
Complaint no. 1.
We were advised by deVere South Africa, in late 2010 to convert our U.K. pension and investments of £60,574.97 and £38,126.00, into a QROPS and invest into Camber International Equity Growth Fund, which was one of two funds offered to us, with Close Trustees Guernsey Ltd.
We have since found out from RL360, with whom we are invested as part of the QROPS that there is a wide range of funds to chose from.
After speaking to independent financial advisors in the U.K. they state that anything less than a 6 figure sum, (£100,000) would not be suitable to put into a QROPS due to the costs.
We believe that the advice from deVere was negligent, and that we were mis-sold a QROPS.
The amount of capital we had to invest was too small to cover all the charges and expect our pensions to grow. This was underfunded for the scheme. * (please see quote below from the founder and CEO of deVere Group, Nigel Green) This can be demonstrated by the fact that our initial contribution for investment was £38,126.00, for Mr. Cook, and on 29th November 2010, after charges only £35,934.70 was invested. Latest valuation, see below
The initial contribution for Mrs S. Cook was £60,574.97. Latest Valuation see below,
We believe that this financial performance was deficient and was misrepresented as a growth fund. We were promised growth of 5% per annum plus, after all costs, and that the advice was negligent for both the fund and the amount of money involved, which was underfunded for the QROPS.
I believe that the advice for Mrs. S Cook to transfer out of an ISA in the U.K. with its tax efficient wrapper, into a QROPS was bad advice.
The advice was given to us by Mike Fannin, of deVere.
It has recently come to light that there is an exit penalty for Mrs S. Cook to come out of the QROPS, and that she is tied into RL360 for 10 years. This would never have been agreed upon, as all the paperwork says to consider taking retirement in 5 years. The surrender penalty for this is £3,900.
*deVere Group is one such company working under FCA authorisation in the UK. Speaking to The Telegraph, founder and chief executive officer Nigel Green insists that deVere Group champions "the revised QROPS guidelines that insist that a client's tax position and risk appetite, among other factors, are fully assessed; and that schemes that are substantially underfunded will have the right to refuse transfers." The decision to have only consultants with an FCA license giving advice means that clients not only get "an enhanced layer of protection" but it also drives up "the quality of advice and [pushes] wider industry standards higher."
Complaint no. 2.
On 15th May 2013, we were given advice to dis-invest from the Camber International Equity Growth Fund, due to the poor performance, and were given the option of investing into another better performing fund. On the 4th of June 2013. We received a visit from Andrew Michael of deVere South Africa and were given a financial advice record.
All the paperwork was completed and we understood that our monies were re-invested.
We discovered months later that our pension funds were still held in cash and that no investments had been made. We had not been notified that this is the situation until we enquired, as we had not received any quarterly reviews as promised by deVere.
We had been disinvested since 19th July 2013, and not re invested until January 2015 during which time the stock market has performed well, and we have obviously suffered financial damage, being out of the market, as not only has our investments not grown, but we have incurred charges.
We shall escalate our complaint if it is not dealt with in a satisfactory manner and time scale.
Mr. M.R.M. Cook.
Initial contribution £38,126.00,
Latest Valuation £27,821.81
Deficit of £10,304.19 or 27%.
Mrs. S.V.M. Cook.
Initial Contribution £60,575.00
Latest Valuation £48,180.00.
Deficit of £12,395.00 or 20%.
The present value of my ISA, had I left it where it was is £65,334. this is not taking into account of what the present day value of my pension would be. Had the pension not grown at all the present day value would be approximately £75,500.00.
ISA, 1592 units in Axa Framlington U.K. Select opportunity
10764 units in Axa Framlington Emerging Markets.
Mr. M. Cooks pension would have grown at least 15% in 5 years, or £5,700.00
As you can see from our calculations that your compensation offer of £2,400.00 for Mr Cook and £5,600.00 for Mrs Cook, are totally unacceptable.
Please reply to us at our e mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org
Reason of review: Mis-sold a QROPS and map-administration. Bad financial advice,.
Monetary Loss: $72611.
Preferred solution: compensation to re instate our financial position had we not taken the advice of a deVere financial advisor..
I liked: Quick response of andrew pilkington.
I didn't like: Bad advice, High charges, Harassed to buy a qrops, Poor offer of compensation.