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Aegon - a company with serious customer service issues

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Aegon - a company with serious customer service issues

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Like many I was an investor in the failed Woodford fund, in early February we received the first payment following its winding up. I received payments through Fidelity and Aegon (cofunds). The story of how each company handled the process could not be more different with Aegon a tale of obstruction, incompetence and distress and shows a company with serious customer service issues.

I’m no expert but I felt stocks were at a high and there’s a lot of uncertainty about so I wished to transfer the, thankfully for me, relatively small amounts to my bank account.

With Fidelity it could not have been easier even though I needed to amend my linked bank account details online, I still received the money straight away.

I have been with cofunds for 20+ years, probably nearer 30, and had the same linked bank account throughout that time, when I log into Aegon online the linked bank account is there clearly on the screen, correct sort code, account name and number and has been for many years. Aegon refused to transfer the money saying they needed a certified bank statement to prove who I am. When I queried this, they acknowledged that the account had been linked to my cofunds account for over 20 years and there had been regular monthly direct debits to them from this account but because I had never made a withdrawal they required a certified bank statement. As I bank online, paperless, I would need to make an appointment at a branch (do they still exist?) before sending it to Aegon and then they might believe who I am.

Given the respective polar opposites in approach to customer service, I decided to transfer all my investments with Aegon to Fidelity, the process seemed straightforward, Fidelity just required the details of my Aegon account to start the process. I duly copied the account details from my Aegon online account but then Fidelity contacted me to say “Cofunds (Aegon) Retail have told us they cannot carry out the transfer because they dont have an account with details matching those on the application.” Aegon customer service have told me that they have such a backlog of complaints they don’t know when they will be able to look into this so both myself and Fidelity can do nothing until Aegon decide to cooperate. 

I have received an attempt at an explanation for the request for a certified bank statement which said it was industry standard where there had not been a withdrawal from a linked bank account (even one linked for 20+ years). They picked the wrong person to use this excuse, this is clearly not true as my experience with Fidelity shows. I have never previously made withdrawals from stocks and shares ISAs but I have a different approach when it comes to cash, I frequently move cash around, usually short term, fixed term fixed rates, you name them I’ve had an account with them. At the end of the fixed term the cash is transferred back into my linked bank account. How many times have I been asked for a certified bank statement: NEVER. When Aegon say it’s industry standard what they actually mean it’s a policy unique to them.

My experience suggests Aegon is a company to avoid but Fidelity is one I would recommend.



Replies

  • SonOfSonOf Forumite
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    Aegon refused to transfer the money saying they needed a certified bank statement to prove who I am.
    That is a very common requirement across platforms.

    When I queried this, they acknowledged that the account had been linked to my cofunds account for over 20 years and there had been regular monthly direct debits to them from this account but because I had never made a withdrawal they required a certified bank statement.
    The direct debit does not prove the account belongs to the investor.   Third party payments could be happening.   No platform accepts a direct debit mandate as proof the account belongs to you.

    As I bank online, paperless, I would need to make an appointment at a branch (do they still exist?) before sending it to Aegon and then they might believe who I am.
    Most banks allow downloads of bank statements if you are paperless.  It is pretty poor form if your bank doesnt do that.

    With Fidelity it could not have been easier even though I needed to amend my linked bank account details online, I still received the money straight away.
    I must admit, I have been concerned at how easy it is to change bank details at Fidelity.  

    I have received an attempt at an explanation for the request for a certified bank statement which said it was industry standard where there had not been a withdrawal from a linked bank account (even one linked for 20+ years). They picked the wrong person to use this excuse, this is clearly not true as my experience with Fidelity shows. 
    Aegon are correct.   Fidelity is one of the exceptions.

    When Aegon say it’s industry standard what they actually mean it’s a policy unique to them.
    No, it is pretty much industry standard to have the bank account validated before making the withdrawals.

    My experience suggests Aegon is a company to avoid but Fidelity is one I would recommend.
    Everyone has their own opinions and a platform is a bit like a supermarket.  Some prefer one and some prefer another but they all largely offer the same.   We have been actively removing clients from both Aegon Cofunds and Fidelity as we find both fail to meet our requirements.    However, all platforms have quirks and differences and it could be that your requirements suit Fidelity.  Time will tell.
  • cloud_dogcloud_dog Forumite
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    Just as a comment... I recently had a need to sell an investment from my ISA with Jarvis X-O, and encountered the same problem when I tried to withdraw the cash.  I have only ever deposited cash in to my GIA and ISA accounts (usually by debit card payment I believe; it has been a while).

    They allowed me to send a 'voided' cheque as proof of ownership of the account.  Which I duly did.  Yes it was a little frustrating (delaying things) but it is the way it is currently.
    Personal Responsibility - Sad but True :D

    Sometimes.... I am like a dog with a bone
  • AlbermarleAlbermarle Forumite
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    On the subject of transferring from Aegon to Fidelity , this does look like poor administration .
    When I transferred from Aviva to Fidelity , it took less than 48 hours 
  • edited 27 February at 11:17PM
    dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    edited 27 February at 11:17PM
    When I transferred from Aviva to Fidelity , it took less than 48 hours 
    Aviva are very quick.     Surprising given their "legacy" history.   Aegon are sluggish compared to some others but are better than they were at the middle of last year.  Fidelity gave us some grief on a recent case saying name didn't match when it did.    It still hasn't left Fidelity (13 days later the re-request) and Fidelity still have not sold the holdings which actually makes them a bit slower than Aegon Cofunds presently.  



    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
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