MONEY Q&A: Was I mis-sold a pension? What can I do?

I was interested in your reply to a letter from a teacher who wants to make extra pension provision through additional voluntary contributions.

I am 54 and took out an FSAVC (free standing additional voluntary contribution) scheme 10 years ago.

Was I ill-informed about this policy, since I was assured it was much better than using my money to buy extra years' membership of the main teachers' pension scheme?

Can I have the policy reviewed in the same way as the sale of personal pensions is being reviewed?

The policy has not performed as well as I had hoped. Also, I have a personal pension plan based on separate part-time earnings. Can I transfer my free standing additional voluntary contribution to my personal plan?

BM, Warwickshire

If you think you have been mis-sold a pension or any other investment you do not have to wait for formal action by the regulators. You can initiate your own formal complaint, first to the person or firm that gave you the advice, then, if you fail to get satisfaction, through the regulatory procedures. A good starting point for free advice is OPAS, the occupational pensions advisory service (0171 233 8080).

This independent body deals with complaints about FSAVCs and personal plans as well as employers' pensions.

You say your FSAVC has not performed as well as you had hoped. Unfortunately, investment performance is not usually relevant when considering whether you have a case for complaint and compensation.

What is relevant is whether your adviser took account of all your circumstances and all the options available to you at the time and, 10 years' ago, gave you best advice.

If you had the option to buy additional past years' membership of the main teachers' pension scheme, the chances are this could be considered a better option than an FSAVC plan. Bear in mind that FSAVC plans first went on sale in October 1987. The Financial Services Act, which set up the system of investor protection, did not come into force until 29 April 1988. Investments sold prior to this date are outside this scope.

On your other point, different forms of pension are generally transferable, though com- plications can arise. The big stumbling block is often the transfer value given, and you ought to get advice

Current accounts

I find my current account can have a balance of between pounds 1,500 and pounds 2,000 for a fortnight or so each month because of the dates my salary goes in and the dates large payments, such as the mortgage, go out. I use my credit card for much of my regular expenditure and clear the balance in full each month.

Are there current accounts which will pay interest on credit balances?

NW, London

Hardly any current accounts pay meaningful interest. Some that pay better rates (and better is a strictly relative term) also charge a monthly account fee even when you are in credit.

If you really want your money to work for you, you may have to look for a savings account that will accept your monthly salary and from which you can make a regular transfer to your current account, preferably by standing order or, failing that, by phone. But you would need to be very well-organised and confident that your current account won't go overdrawn during the period your salary is sitting in the savings account.

For some high-earners this sort of arrangement is worthwhile. But do your sums. For example, assume you have an average balance of pounds 2,000 for 26 weeks of the year. Assume you could earn 5 per cent gross (which could be optimistic if interest rates fall further). The net gain to you would be just pounds 40 a year or pounds 30 if you are a higher-rate taxpayer. And even less if you have to take account of phone costs.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS)

£20000 - £30000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition