Pension sold to man in sixties

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The Independent Online
ELDERLY couple are battling for full compensation from Barclays, after the husband was sold a personal pension very close to retirement.

The short time he had for paying into his policy meant that a large slice of his contributions were swallowed up in commission and expenses.

Alec Pearson, now 67, was persuaded by a Barclays Life salesman to start a personal pension in March 1989, when he was 62. He paid a pounds 1,000 initial lump sum into his scheme, plus a further pounds 2,500 in contributions over 25 months.

His pension also gained from the Inland Revenue's 25 per cent tax relief, which increased the the value of his contributions to pounds 4,375.

Mr Pearson, a former inspector of works of Egham, Surrey, was forced to retire at 64 in March 1991 after he lost his job. When he asked Barclays Life in April that year how much his funds were worth, he was told the amount was pounds 3,472.65.

Mr Pearson said: 'After I had handed over my cheque for pounds 1,000 and he handed me a receipt, he jumped up saying, 'You have made my day.' We were shocked and confused. We had never before heard a bank teller say such a thing when we paid money at a bank.'

In a letter to Mr Pearson last week, a bank representative admitted: 'I feel that the level of service you have received falls short of the standard Barclays Life seeks to achieve.'

Barclays Life is offering Mr Pearson a pounds 1,000 ex-gratia payment, pounds 500 of which would be added to his pension fund. The remainder would be in cash. He also accepted a deal in 1992, whereby he would be excused pounds 469 in charges on the scheme.

However, Mr Pearson believes he is entitled to the value of his contributions in 1991 - pounds 4,375 - plus annual interest of 13 per cent on that amount, a total of pounds 6,650.

A Barclays Life spokeswoman said: 'The representative concerned no longer works for us, and we have been unable to interview him to find out what happened.

'We have been prepared to make a proper offer of compensation, and we are prepared to look at this case again.'