UK pension transfer confusion  

In March 2021, Jasmine transferred her UK pension to a fund manager in New Zealand.

Jasmine was advised separately by a UK adviser and a New Zealand adviser that worked for the fund manager. Jasmine’s external financial adviser (who was independent of the fund manager) was then responsible for giving Jasmine ongoing advice about her investment.

Jasmine’s investment, after the UK adviser had been paid, was around $154,000.

In late November 2021, Jasmine contacted the fund manager because she was concerned about her investment. It had fallen in value by around $20,000. The fund manager told Jasmine she could withdraw but doing so would crystallise the loss.

Jasmine decided to withdraw her investment. She received around $135,000 in total from the withdrawal and a subsequent tax rebate.

Jasmine complained to the fund manager about her investment loss. She was not satisfied with the fund manager’s response and complained to FSCL.

Dispute

Jasmine wanted the fund manager to compensate her for the investment loss. Jasmine had many concerns, but her main concern was that the fund manager had told her she was only entitled to withdraw 25% of her investment when she turned 55 years of age under UK pension rules. If she had known she could withdraw the full amount, she would have done this in October 2021 when she turned 55. In turn, she would have avoided some of the investment losses.

The fund manager was not prepared to compensate Jasmine for her investment loss. The fund manager believed they had informed Jasmine about her withdrawal rights under UK pension rules. The fund manager also believed the risks of investing and the importance of maintaining a long-term investment approach were explained to Jasmine.

In the interests of resolving the complaint, the fund manager offered $2,250 on a goodwill basis. This was an estimate of fees Jasmine had paid related to her investment (excluding the UK adviser fee).

Review

We accepted that Jasmine did not understand she could withdraw her investment in full when she turned 55 years of age. However, there was no evidence the fund manager had told Jasmine she was only entitled to withdraw 25% of her investment.

It appeared Jasmine was confused between withdrawal rights and taxation. The investment plan said Jasmine could withdraw her investment when she turned 55, but she may have to pay UK tax if she withdrew more than 25% of her investment.

Resolution

We thought that the fund manager’s goodwill offer was fair in all the circumstances and Jasmine accepted our recommendation that she should accept the offer in final settlement of her complaint.

Insights for consumers and participants         

We cannot consider complaints about the management of an investment fund as a whole, or about how an investment has performed unless the complaint is about nondisclosure, misrepresentation, or misleading conduct.

While Jasmine complained to us following an investment loss, we were able to investigate her complaint because it was about information the fund manager had given her.

However, we were not able to investigate one of Jasmine’s concerns: that her investment had fallen by over $3,000 in one day. We were not able to investigate this because it was about investment performance. It appeared the fall in value was due to market movements.