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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine