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Couple’s Claim Success Against
Quilter Financial Services

Defined Benefit Pension News

Mr & Mrs C initially took a joint complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in 2019, before making separate claims in 2023.

Quilter Financial Services Ltd (Quilter) is a wealth management company registered in London and listed on the Financial Conduct Authority’s register as firm number 440703. It now trades under the name Quilter.

The Quilter website outlines the long history of the company, including many mergers, takeovers, formations and sales of different entities, including those listed below since 2006:

  • Quilter Cheviot Financial Planning
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers
  • Quilter International
  • Quilter Investment Platform
  • Old Mutual Wealth UK
  • Quilter Financial Advisers
  • Charles Derby Financial Services
  • Quilter Life Assurance
  • Quilter Financial Planning
  • Lighthouse Group Ltd
  • Charles Derby Group
  • Intrinsic
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Investment Management
  • Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers
  • Old Mutual Global Investors
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Financial Adviser School (Sesame/Intrinsic)
  • Old Mutual Wealth
  • Quilter Cheviot Investment Management
  • Skandia
  • Cheviot Asset Management
  • Old Mutual Global Investors
  • Skandia Investment Group
  • Old Mutual Asset Managers
  • Old Mutual

Now, there are two advice businesses (Quilter Financial Advisers and Quilter Cheviot Financial Planning), an advice network of over 1,300 appointed firms in the UK (known as Quilter Financial Planning), and bespoke portfolio management (Quilter Cheviot). Quilter also offers its own investment platform and portfolios.

Mr and Mrs C are among many people to have brought complaints against Quilter Financial Services Ltd. The couple had been advised by TAG Wealth Management, an appointed representative. As the principal firm, Quilter is deemed responsible for the financial advice given.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) website details 160 upheld pension and investment decisions against the company since April 2013. FOS is an independent body, backed by the government, whose role is to settle disputes between financial companies and their customers.

In 2019, Mr and Mrs C were advised to move their Defined Benefit occupational pensions (DB) into Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs). They brought a complaint to Quilter, saying the financial advice they received was unsuitable, not in their best interests, and caused financial loss.

The couple’s initial complaint to Quilter was made jointly; however, they made separate complaints to the company in February 2023. Each claim covered much common ground, including:

  • They could have met their investment objectives by remaining in their Defined Benefit (DB) schemes.
  • They were too young to be considered for a pension transfer (still in their 40s), citing age 55 as a minimum suitable age.
  • There was no reason to go ahead with the transfer, as a Transfer Value Comparator (TVC) showed a large shortfall.

Quilter disagreed, saying that Mr and Mrs C’s objectives included the purchase of a commercial property and having more flexible death benefits, both of which couldn’t be met by remaining in their defined benefit schemes.

Mr C and Mrs C escalated their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), who considered and decided on their cases separately.

The FOS investigator agreed with both Mr and Mrs C, concluding that the pension transfers weren’t in their favour. They went on to say that Mr and Mrs C could have achieved their investment objectives AND kept valuable DB benefits in place. Other options regarding the commercial property purchase could have been discussed but weren’t.

Mr and Mrs C were deemed inexperienced investors, relying on Quilter’s advice. Quilter’s role should have been to provide advice on what was best for the couple, not simply to transact what the couple thought they wanted. This included what would be the best outcome for their individual retirement incomes, tax planning, and death benefits.

Quilter was asked to pay compensation but disagreed with the FOS investigator’s decision and asked for a final decision by an Ombudsman. Taking into consideration the evidence, relevant laws, guidance and what was considered good industry practice at the time, the Ombudsman concluded that Quilter did not treat Mr and Mrs C fairly and their Defined Benefit pensions should not have been transferred.

The Ombudsman outlined how Quilter could put things right; Quilter would have to put the couple back into the position they would have been in had they not received unsuitable financial advice, including:

  • Carrying out a redress calculation.
  • Offering Mr and Mrs C cash lump sum payments to be invested for their retirement.

The Ombudsman can award fair compensation of up to £415,000, plus any interest or other appropriate costs, payable by the company at fault. The Ombudsman can further recommend that any compensation exceeding £415,000 should also be paid by the company.

Mr and Mrs C were separately awarded compensation up to the maximum limit, with the recommendation that Quilter should also pay any additional shortfall.

Sarah Spruce, Legal Director at TLW Solicitors, heads up our experienced Pensions Claims team, and says:

“Mr and Mrs C received poor financial advice which put their retirement plans in jeopardy. Taking separate claims to FOS meant they could each be awarded the maximum level of compensation. Getting help to navigate the complex rules and procedures can definitely pay off. You can speak to us on a confidential, no-obligation basis, to see how best to proceed.”

The default position from industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is that transfer from a DB scheme is generally, in most circumstances, unsuitable. In other words, there must be a very good reason why anyone would transfer out of a solid, dependable, DB scheme and lose valuable final salary or death benefits.

Over the years, many people who worked in public sector roles, such as in local authority, teaching, the NHS or the civil service, have been persuaded to move their retirement savings into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). These are sold as flexible retirement plans, giving the investor much more choice in the types of funds they can invest in.

The new SIPP has to perform exceptionally well to outweigh the loss of a guaranteed pension income based on final salary, and the valuable death benefits that are a feature of DB pensions. Unfortunately, unsuitable financial advice has resulted people being sold SIPP products with:

  • High management fees
  • Lower than promised returns
  • High-risk, unstable investments which can become insolvent

If you were given poor financial advice and have been left with less than you were expecting in your retirement, TLW Solicitors can help you make a claim.

Our specialist team of financial mis-selling lawyers can get an up-to-date valuation of the pension that you would have had, which often shows just how much money has been lost. Speak to us today to find out if you have a claim.

If you, a friend, colleague or loved one received poor pension transfer advice from Quilter or one of its appointed representatives, please get in touch. You can call us on 0800 169 5925 or use the online forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible, as strict time limits can apply.

Meet Our Team

Meet Sarah, who heads up our experienced Pension Claims team.

Sarah and her colleagues are on hand to help with your claim.

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