Very recently an elderly client appointed his son & daughter as Power of Attorney. We submitted the certified copy of the Power of Attorney Form to all of the companies with whom he held investments. Of the 6 companies, not one of them followed the same procedure.
One company demanded to see the original EPA, without requesting Money Laundering information on the EPA holders. Another accepted the copy as it was, without Money Laundering. One company accepted the copy, but asked for Money Laundering information, whilst another firm asked for the original passports of the EPA holders. Finally, one company even asked for retrospective Money Laundering on the client as he had held his investment since 1989, at which point Money Laundering information wasnʼt required.
The fact is that a very simple procedure of lodging an EPA is exceptionally complicated because no two companies follow the same procedures. This causes a huge amount of wasted time in an IFA office, and leads to inefficiency.
This is just one particular issue, the fact is that there are lots of instances where company practices differ enormously, for example withdrawals/encashments of investments. From a business point of view, communication and standardised procedures are vitally important from an efficiency perspective. Poor communication equals lost time & money. I never cease to be amazed at how different the working practices of investment providers can be.
I canʼt help thinking that it would be helpful if there was an attempt to standardise procedures in the industry generally, that way we would all be so happy because we would have so much more time to deal with FSA compliance!!
Adrian Shandley is managing director at Premier Wealth Management
The views expressed in this blog are those of the individual and not necessarily the company he represents.
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