Aberdeen says sorry to splits losers as claim forms go missing

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The Independent Online

By David Prosser

Aberdeen Asset Management, the fund manager at the centre of the split-capital investment trust scandal, was this weekend forced to apologise to more than 5,000 investors to whom it failed to send application forms for compensation.

Aberdeen is one of 25 firms participating in an industry compensation fund distributing £144m to investors who lost out when many split-capital investment trusts collapsed in 2001 and 2002.

The investors eligible for compensation mostly held zero-dividend preference shares, which investment advisers had routinely sold as low-risk assets, ideal for saving for needs such as school fees.

Up to 50,000 investors have been given until July 18 to apply for compensation from a central scheme, which is being run by a specially created company, Fund Distribution. It hopes to begin making payments by the end of the year.

However, investors with Aberdeen have so far not been able to make a claim, because the information packs sent to them earlier this month did not include application forms for compensation. One Save & Spend reader said four members of his family had been affected. "The covering letter with the information pack we received from Aberdeen clearly states the pack should contain the Fund Distribution guide and the application form," he said. "A helpful record of the losses suffered at the hands of Aberdeen is included but there's no application form."

Aberdeen blamed the mistake on a mailing firm it had paid to send out the information packs and application forms. It has now written to around 5,500 investors, enclosing the correct forms.

"Aberdeen has written to investors to apologise for the fact that some original correspondence packs did not include the application form," a spokeswoman said. "Investors should by now have received all relevant documents to complete their application."

John Fryer, of Fund Distribution, said the compensation process was complicated because investors were getting information from both advisers and fund managers, as well as the central scheme.

"It's still reasonably early in the process and we can't yet say how well claims are going," he said.

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