AJ Bell - FOS complaint

simoan
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AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » November 29th, 2016, 2:38 pm

Back in September I made a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) about the imposition of charges to AJ Bell ISA and Dealing accounts, and in particular their insistence that full exit charges should apply in the case where I would like to transfer holdings to another broker. I will be honest, I did not hold out much hope given that this is permitted in their terms and conditions, however IMHO just because you can do something does not make it right and I didn't feel their approach was consistent with treating customers fairly.

Anyway, I had a very interesting conversation with a FOS adjudicator this morning. It would appear this is not so cut-and-dried in AJ Bell's favour as I had thought and the fact that so many people have filed complaints means the decision has made it's way to the very top of the FOS. There would appear to be legal precedence both for and against AJ Bell - a UK case that found similar exit charge terms and conditions to be fair, and two European Court cases where they were found to be unfair.

I'm not sure what other AJ Bell customers who have complained have heard, so I welcome any comments.

All the best
Si

paulnumbers
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby paulnumbers » November 29th, 2016, 3:56 pm

I lost my appeal at the first hurdle.

Having already paid AJ Bell more in exit fee's than I ever paid them in commisions, I'd be interested if you get a different response.

Regards,
Paul

TedSwippet
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby TedSwippet » November 29th, 2016, 4:22 pm

I took my appeal to the very end, and lost nevertheless.

This was back two or three years, when AJ Bell first stiffed its customer base in this fashion, so I don't know if anything has changed since then. I too paid a large exit fee to escape an unpalatable AJ Bell fee increase, something that left an extremely nasty taste. The mention of EU legislation is new to me, and could be an interesting twist.

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » November 29th, 2016, 4:28 pm

paulnumbers wrote:I lost my appeal at the first hurdle.

Having already paid AJ Bell more in exit fee's than I ever paid them in commisions, I'd be interested if you get a different response.

Regards,
Paul

Paul,

What was the basis of your complaint? I made my complaint over two months ago and a decision is still pending, so I don't understand why your complaint was overturned so quickly? It seems there are many others in the same situation awaiting a verdict.

All the best, Si

paulnumbers
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby paulnumbers » November 30th, 2016, 8:35 am

Hi Si,

Here is the letter I got back.

http://boards.fool.co.uk/dear-paulnumbe ... t=postdate

Regards,
Paul

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » December 1st, 2016, 10:55 am

Hi Paul,

Given the response from AJ Bell it seems your complaint was along the same lines as mine, although my exit fees would be higher at £300. As such I don't understand why it was rejected so quickly by the FOS Adjudicator. Perhaps you were too early with your complaint and subsequent weight of numbers has changed the stance of the FOS!? FWIW I still believe AJ Bell will win out but the fact it is being taken so seriously by the FOS and serious questions are being asked of them feels like a moral victory at least.

All the best, Si

paulnumbers
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby paulnumbers » December 2nd, 2016, 3:45 pm

Hi Si,

My complaint was just that I should be allowed to leave for free as I felt it was unfair to either charge me to stay or charge me to leave.

Please do drop me a message when you get a final result, if it differs from mine I'll see if I can re-open the complaint.

ta,
Paul

paulnumbers
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby paulnumbers » December 2nd, 2016, 3:47 pm

ps - my complaint was put in very quickly as you suggested. I doubt anyone was quicker. With hindsight, maybe its best not to be first.

TedSwippet
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby TedSwippet » December 2nd, 2016, 4:19 pm

paulnumbers wrote:ps - my complaint was put in very quickly as you suggested. I doubt anyone was quicker. With hindsight, maybe its best not to be first.

First of this latest tranche, perhaps. But don't forget that there were several complaints made to the FOS in late 2013, when AJ Bell pulled the same stunt. I don't know how many overall, but definitely more than one! As far as I am aware, all were rejected then also.

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » December 2nd, 2016, 4:55 pm

paulnumbers wrote:Hi Si,

My complaint was just that I should be allowed to leave for free as I felt it was unfair to either charge me to stay or charge me to leave.

Please do drop me a message when you get a final result, if it differs from mine I'll see if I can re-open the complaint.

ta,
Paul

Yes, I'll post back on this thread to let you know the outcome, so keep it bookmarked. I added a bit more fuel to the fire today by letting the FOS adjudicator know Barclay's have just announced changes to their charges which disadvantage at least some customers, and by the sounds of it waived exit charges for anyone that wants to transfer out. Every little helps...

All the best, Si

bulltraderpt
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby bulltraderpt » December 3rd, 2016, 10:07 am

I day trade shares and used their 'services' for about an hour, they were awful. I had another brokerage account open at the same time as my AJ Bell brokerage account, a price couldn't be got from the market via AJ Bell but it could via my other account.

It appeared to me as though the Market Markers were only services brokerages with big order flow and leaving those i.e. AJ Bell out of the loop. This wasn't some penny lowly capitalised stock either. I telephoned the guy up at AJ Bell to enquire as to why they couldn't obtain a quote but he never got back to me. AJ Bell account closed.

paulnumbers
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby paulnumbers » December 5th, 2016, 10:07 am

simoan wrote:
paulnumbers wrote:Hi Si,

My complaint was just that I should be allowed to leave for free as I felt it was unfair to either charge me to stay or charge me to leave.

Please do drop me a message when you get a final result, if it differs from mine I'll see if I can re-open the complaint.

ta,
Paul

Yes, I'll post back on this thread to let you know the outcome, so keep it bookmarked. I added a bit more fuel to the fire today by letting the FOS adjudicator know Barclay's have just announced changes to their charges which disadvantage at least some customers, and by the sounds of it waived exit charges for anyone that wants to transfer out. Every little helps...

All the best, Si



Hi Si,

I contacted the adjudicator in my case over the weekend, and he has confirmed they are currently considering their opinion on AJ Bell, and all cases are on hold. My case will be re-opened should there be a general change of policy.

Perhaps all is not lost.

On other news, my transfer to IG Index went ahead as planned, with no real hitches.

Regards,
Paul

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » December 5th, 2016, 11:09 am

paulnumbers wrote:Hi Si,

I contacted the adjudicator in my case over the weekend, and he has confirmed they are currently considering their opinion on AJ Bell, and all cases are on hold. My case will be re-opened should there be a general change of policy.

Perhaps all is not lost.

On other news, my transfer to IG Index went ahead as planned, with no real hitches.

Regards,
Paul

I assumed they would be able to re-open your case, so that's good to hear. Still not sure the chances of success are that high but whilst we're still in the EU and their is legal precedent in the European Courts there seems to be an outside chance.

Funnily enough, I also opened a sharedealing account with IG Index to transfer my AJ Bell ISA! Although, for obvious reasons, I've not got round to it yet it's very reassuring to hear yours went smoothly.

All the best, Si

paulnumbers
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby paulnumbers » December 5th, 2016, 11:34 am

Is there any advantage of delaying the move to IG Si? Or is your plan to stay with Youinvest if you cannot have a free transfer out?

I assume you're aware of the transfer reward from IG?


Transfer to IG and receive a reward

You could receive up to £250 when you transfer your existing shareholdings, ISA or SIPP to IG. It’s another great reason to consolidate your investments with us, in one easy-to-access place.


https://www.ig.com/uk/investments/share ... nvestments


14:59 5/12/16. Edited to add link to page showing incentive. Moderator

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » December 5th, 2016, 12:22 pm

paulnumbers wrote:Is there any advantage of delaying the move to IG Si? Or is your plan to stay with Youinvest if you cannot have a free transfer out?

I assume you're aware of the transfer reward from IG?

Hi Paul,

It cost nothing to open an IG account and to be honest I'd been thinking of opening a spread bet account with them for CGT reasons to open some long positions outside of tax free wrappers. I am leaving the option open with AJ Bell for the time being but not investing any new funds into this years ISA. My exit fees for transfer would be £300 and despite my anger with their stupid reasoning for the introduction of fees ("revenue neutral" indeed, do they take us for complete idiots?) and the way the fees are levied from within the ISA wrapper itself, I refuse to "cut off my nose to spite my face". In fact I can currently deal with AJ Bell for £4.95 and so I am considering the downside of selling all the holdings in the ISA for £60 and transferring out the cash only.

Yes, I was aware of the reward for transferring accounts to IG, thanks.

All the best, Si

Holts
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby Holts » December 5th, 2016, 3:07 pm

[quote="bulltraderpt"]I day trade shares and used their 'services' for about an hour, they were awful. I had another brokerage account open at the same time as my AJ Bell brokerage account, a price couldn't be got from the market via AJ Bell but it could via my other account.

I have had very similar experience with them , their quote size was awful as was the range of bonds and other fixed interest, it seemed to me they were a simple go-between and whomever they were using were not supplying them with an adequate service .

TedSwippet
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby TedSwippet » December 5th, 2016, 3:08 pm

simoan wrote:..."revenue neutral" indeed, do they take us for complete idiots?

Yes.

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » December 5th, 2016, 3:44 pm

TedSwippet wrote:
simoan wrote:..."revenue neutral" indeed, do they take us for complete idiots?

Yes.

For the avoidance of doubt, that was a rhetorical question :-)

FWIW I agree with others that trade execution is not one of AJ Bell's strong points, to put it mildly, which tbh makes the introduction of fees all the more galling.

All the best, Si

SMarkus
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby SMarkus » December 6th, 2016, 8:49 am

Paul/Si. I see you're moving, or thinking of moving to IG - I haven't yet been able to find out whether IG ISAs support preference shares, corporate bonds and/or gilts. I suspect not. Do either of you happen to know the answer? Not a worry if not, I'll continue to pester IG.

If they did, then that would be another possible destination for my Barclays accounts.

Cheers,
Steve.

simoan
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Re: AJ Bell - FOS complaint

Postby simoan » December 6th, 2016, 9:24 am

SMarkus wrote:Paul/Si. I see you're moving, or thinking of moving to IG - I haven't yet been able to find out whether IG ISAs support preference shares, corporate bonds and/or gilts. I suspect not. Do either of you happen to know the answer? Not a worry if not, I'll continue to pester IG.

If they did, then that would be another possible destination for my Barclays accounts.

Cheers,
Steve.

Hi Steve,
It's a definite no for Prefs. I didn't check any other fixed income investments. There is a full list of supported equities and investments on their website. I didn't really want to hold Prefs in my ISA but can see it may be a problem for others.

All the best, Si


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