Retired IT employee Roy Strawbridge: & # 39; If I had developed a system that was as poor as that, I would be fired on the spot & # 39;
A saver has accused Phoenix Wealth of incompetence and claimed a refund of his fee plus compensation after he had been outside his pension account for seven months.
Roy Strawbridge, a retired IT professional from Northumberland, is faced with a lock screen when he tries to log in to view his portfolio.
He claims that Phoenix caused him enormous inconvenience and possible financial loss due to the difficulty of guarding his investments.
Strawbridge, 59, said the problem was caused by the introduction of a new platform in March, which also prevented his financial adviser from assessing his pension performance and led to the postponement of an annual assessment.
He says: & # 39; I think it's incredible that they expect me to manage the risk of my portfolio in one way or another, without access to my data.
& # 39; I worked in IT before I retired early. If I had developed a system that was as poor as that, I would have been fired on the spot. They do not seem to take responsibility. & # 39;
Mr. Strawbridge said he was struggling to contact Phoenix by phone and e-mail, but his complaints eventually resulted in a £ 350 compensation payment in June.
But months later he still has no idea when he regains access to his account.
Meanwhile, he says that the Birmingham-based Phoenix has also tampered with a recent tax code change that left him out of pocket, and spent a monthly annuity of £ 825 10 days ago at the end of the month.
Phoenix Wealth was born when AXA Wealth was taken over by the Phoenix Group in 2016. It is closed to new customers and simply supports its existing customers.
Phoenix says that it has offered sincere apologies to Mr. Strawbridge regarding the suspension of his online services while the system is being upgraded to provide an improved service to customers and advisers.
We recognize that he has experienced anxiety and frustration, for which we have offered a problem and upset, and we are happy to confirm that no financial damage has been caused. & # 39;
Phoenix added that it was customers who called with ratings. It is not clear how many of the accounts are blocked.
The company made a separate apology and promised further compensation for the late payment plus a discount on the tax code issue. Read the full answer below.
What action can investors take over technical problems?
This is money that was recently reported on the anger of investors against Aegon pension fund because of poor customer service and the & # 39; devilish & # 39; handling of the transfer of their accounts from the investment platform of Cofunds.
They experienced problems logging in and buying and selling money through their accounts. Aegon apologized and sent in answer £ 25 M & S vouchers.
But one financial advisor whose clients were affected wondered whether Aegon would also have to pay back platform fees in such cases.
Aegon said that those involved could seek compensation by filing a formal complaint. Information on how to do this can be found on the insurer's website.
In the case of Mr. Strawbridge, he has both a personal personal pension and a 10-year-old lifelong annuity policy with Phoenix, and he is actively considering taking them away from the company.
He asked his financial adviser to look at the possible costs of doing this and which other providers might be suitable.
Mr Strawbridge also filed a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman about the difficulties he had experienced with Phoenix in the past six months.
& # 39; I have lost faith in the company because they have not committed to a date when my portfolio data will be available to view and manage online, "he says.
From a financial adviser's point of view, Gary Smith, financial planner at Tilney, said: & # 39; If a customer has encountered this problem, it is something that we would investigate. One thing to look out for in relation to pensions is the exit fee. & # 39;
He would see if there are penalties for moving the pension, if any guarantee or benefits would be lost or transferred, and what the initial set-up costs for a new pension would be.
Smith then said that he would present these potential costs to a customer, to see if they thought it would be worthwhile to change provider.
Another option is to change financial advisor and ask the new to look at all of the above with fresh eyes, Smith said.
What does Phoenix Wealth say?
Site delivery: Mr. Strawbridge filed a complaint with Phoenix in June 2018 regarding the suspension of our online services and the other issues that you have highlighted.
We have offered our sincere apologies; we have acknowledged that he has had no access to his online policy services for some time, while our system has been upgraded so that we can provide better service to our customers and consultants.
Phoenix response: Firm says it has suspended online services while the system is being upgraded to provide improved service to customers and consultants
The issue related to PAYE codes was also addressed in our complaint and Mr Strawbridge has given us the assurance that we will continue to use the tax code issued at the beginning of the year, which would result in it being properly taxed.
This attitude has been agreed with HMRC. In recognition of this, we have offered £ 350 problems and upset.
In terms of the other frustrations we did not encounter any problems with the e-mail address on our website and no other users reported problems.
Despite the suspension of online services, we have been able to provide customers who contact us by telephone with their policy values.
Mr. Strawbridge was informed of the policy values by e-mail and in writing on 23 June 2018.
We recognize that he has experienced anxiety and frustration, for which we have offered a problem and an upset, and we are happy to confirm that no financial damage has been caused.
Late payment: We are sincerely sorry that Mr. Strawbridge contacted us again about his regular payment.
The payment has now been made and should already be in his account.
Our complaints team will investigate and will ensure that it is adequately compensated for the problems and upset that caused the delay.
Tax code: Mr. Strawbridge has previously filed a complaint regarding PAYE codes. In our response to that complaint, we advised that we continue to use the tax code we received at the beginning of the year, whatever we have continued to do.
We then received a new tax code for Mr Strawbridge, which was not applied in time to influence the most recent payment.
This has now been applied [and] we arrange any discounts. We will continue to monitor monthly payments to ensure that there is no further disruption.
We have spoken with Mr Strawbridge's adviser and will ensure that any open issues are answered in accordance with our complaints process.
TOP SIPPING FOR DIY PENSION INVESTORS