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Claims about Ongoing Advice Services

More and more people are making complaints about ongoing advice services

Especially people who have paid for services, such as annual reviews, but didn’t receive them.

There are also cases where people are paying for services that they simply don’t need or aren’t even aware of.

It was reported that more than £5bn of Adviser payments were made for ongoing services in 2022 alone.

There are also concerns that customers are automatically being placed into ongoing advice arrangements – regardless of their personal circumstances or requirements.

If you’ve been paying for a service you didn’t need, or haven’t received the service which you have paid for, you may be able to complain and get back the money you have paid.

Have you been unfairly charged for financial advice?

If you are paying an Ongoing Advice Fee (OAF) or annual fees to a financial adviser or firm, and you answer NO to any of the following questions, you may have grounds to make a complaint.

  1. Have you been invited to have annual review meetings, conducted by your financial adviser?
  2. Have you and your Adviser reviewed your pension/investments on a yearly basis to discuss if they were/are still suitable to your personal circumstances? Has it been discussed if the service they provide is still suitable for you?
  3. Did your Adviser confirm in writing the details of the ongoing service, how much it costs and how you can cancel?
  4. Did your Adviser tell you in writing about any fees and charges, how they will be paid by you and how much they will be?
  5. Did your Adviser tell you about their charges before you agreed to them providing services?

The BAD news:

The FCA carried out a recent review which found 231 firms charged for ongoing advice but did not deliver

The GOOD news:

If you've paid for a service you didn't receive you may be able to complain and could be compensated

What are Ongoing Advice fees and should you be complaining?

An initial meeting with a Financial Adviser is usually free of charge.

Following the initial meeting if you’ve received advice about making investments, planning for your retirement or transferring your pension, for example, you will probably have paid a fee.

In 2013 regulations were changed which meant Financial Advisers could no longer receive commissions for recommending investments. Or for giving advice on pensions or retirement products such as annuities.

Instead, they have to charge a fee for the advice and services they provide.

The amount an Adviser charges you can vary depending on what service they provide.

For example, they may charge you an hourly rate, a one-off fee for certain services.

Or you may be paying a fee every year, known as Ongoing Advice Fees (OAF).

These are for services that your Adviser should perform on a yearly basis. Such as reviewing that the recommendations made are still suitable for you and your circumstances.

This is usually calculated as a percentage of the overall assets held and should have been explained to you using cash examples.

If you’ve been paying for a service that you haven’t received or you have been unfairly charged for a service you may have grounds to complain and could be compensated.

SJP and Quilter reviewing their historic ongoing advice services

Two major players in financial advice and wealth management recently revealed ‘skilled person’ reviews into their ongoing advice services.

St James’s Place (SJP)

St James’s Place (SJP) announced in February that it had set aside £426m to address potential refunds.

This was following an increase in customer complaints.

The £426m provision was set aside to refund clients who paid an ongoing service fee, but there’s no evidence that they received an annual review or service.

A back-book review of SJP clients from 2018 was led by an appointed skilled person.

It revealed some of the extent of the problem as well as the potential cost to refund affected clients.

Quilter

In April 2024 Quilter confirmed a “skilled person” review of its ongoing advice service, following discussions with the FCA.

It said it had committed to undertake a review of historical data and practises across the Quilter Financial Planning Limited network of Appointed Representative firms (AR’s).

The purpose of this review, it said, is to determine if the AR firms have met their ongoing servicing obligations and, if not, remediate customers “to the extent appropriate’.

FCA Concerns about ongoing advice services

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ‘flagged’ concerns about ongoing advice services last year.

And in February 2024 it wrote to 20 of the biggest advice firms requesting information about their ongoing advice services.

In March 2024 the FCA published results of a thematic review it had carried out on retirement income advice. The results revealed that of the 977 firms it surveyed, 231 had charged for ongoing advice but did not deliver.

It said around 2.9% of clients in this survey had paid for an annual review in 2022 but didn’t receive it.

And in a 2020 report the FCA said it was concerned that:  “so many new customers are placed in ongoing advice arrangements, suggesting that this may be a default option rather than always justified by the consumer’s circumstances.”

Adding that it was concerned some customers might be paying for a service they do not need.

Needs some help? We offer a free initial assessment

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We'll assess if you may have a case to make a complaint about Ongoing Service Fees

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We can give you initial advice and answer any questions you may have about making a complaint

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Our assessment is totally confidential and there's absolutely no obligation to use our service to pursue a claim.

Simply fill in the form to arrange an initial consultation




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    Important Information!

    You are not required to use our services to pursue your claim. You can also seek further advice or shop around subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made.

    It is possible for you to present the claim for free, either to the firm or person against whom you wish to complain or to the statutory ombudsman (Financial Ombudsman Service or Pension Ombudsman Service) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, whichever is applicable to your claim.