‘£30,000 went missing during my pension switch and no one noticed’

Savers have long been advised to shop around when it comes to investment shops but those who do can occasionally be stung if their money is lost in the process. 

One pension saver, Michael Milne from Edinburgh, said almost £30,000 worth of shares were “lost” when he transferred his self-invested personal pension from one stockbroker to another. Far from the usual few weeks, the transfer of £130,000 from Hargreaves Lansdown to Saxo Markets took 11 months to complete. 

Mr Milne said he was caught in the middle of a “blame game” as both providers shirked responsibility to find the missing money. Nearly £30,000 worth of investments were not listed on his new Saxo account, he said.

“The ‘missing’ amount would change from week to week as some shares were accepted and some rejected. When shares were rejected Saxo appeared not to have alerted Hargreaves to this fact,” he said.

Both providers have continued to blame the other. After identifying the problem, Hargreaves Lansdown staff apologised for the mistake in correspondence with Mr Milne but warned of Saxo’s failings. An employee wrote: “I appreciate this has been a very disappointing experience for you and it’s a shame that Saxo have not been more helpful when we have contacted them recently.”

Mr Milne requested an “in specie” transfer, where shares are transferred without the need to sell and switch into cash. However, a number of shares were “lost in the ether” in the process, he said. 

A spokesman for Hargreaves Lansdown said an administrative error meant that it had incorrectly recorded 11 holdings as having been transferred successfully and it had informed Mr Milne and Saxo that there was no problem at its end. 

He said: “We have apologised and taken responsibility for this. This error falls far short of our normal levels of service, caused a considerable delay and resulted in Mr Milne having to call HL and Saxo on a number of occasions in an attempt to resolve it.”

Saxo Markets said: “Four lines of stock were delayed [during the transfer], falling below the high standards which we have set ourselves.”

However, a spokesman continued to blame Hargreaves. “Some of the delays involved other parties in the transaction, especially the investment platform he transferred from, and as such were outside our control,” the spokesman said.

Mr Milne said he was shocked at how long it took to resolve the matter. “It was a real mess of terrible service and incredibly frustrating. My money was sat in no man’s land for weeks and no one would listen. I had to chase both companies again and again. If I hadn’t pushed them multiple times I’m not sure I would have seen my money again,” he said. 

The money was “out of the market” for several weeks, causing Mr Milne to lose investment returns. Hargreaves Lansdown has offered £300 in compensation and £1,608 to make up for the lost returns. 

Mr Milne said he was unhappy with the compensation. “The payback for stress was minimal despite me having to go to the doctor about the whole saga,” he said. 

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.