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Do you know about Know Your Customer?

Do new Know Your Customer efforts stray into Big Brother territory?

You’ve got to hate the terrorists. They’ve turned air travel into queuing under duress. They’ve given the military-industrial complex a shiny new casus belli in the War on Terror.

And now an attempt to curb the funding of their murderous misdeeds is making investing even more hassle.

It may seem a long way from the intifada to your ISA. But tell that to the SelfTrade customers who’ve been mailed probing interrogation forms by their broker.

What’s the connection between a covert terror cell and a questionnaire, I hear you wearily sigh?

In short, the relentless post-9/11 attempts to close loopholes, curtail the chance of skulduggery, and generally strive to Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again.

Monevator isn’t the place to discuss the plausibility of this mission, and whether it can – or already has – gone too far.

But it is as good a place as any to ask what information we should be required to give to a financial intermediary, and to wonder how such information is being collected and used and by whom.

Sell Lloyds, buy semtex

Let’s talk money laundering.

One consequence of the 9/11 attacks was a clampdown on dirty money using legitimate financial services companies for their own evil ends.

The justification for wanting to get in the way of this is obvious. Terrorist spectaculars are costly to fund and complicated to coordinate. Disrupt the money, and you disrupt their front line activities – perhaps sufficiently to curtail the really big and horrible stuff (dirty bombs, that sort of thing).

So far so sensible, especially when you’re a law enforcement agency fighting parallel developments in Internet banking, cheap online broking, and the myriad digital payment possibilities that today enable us to send money hither and thither across the globe in a somewhat anonymous fashion.

A consequence of this effort has been the elevation of a concept called Know Your Customer.

Know Your Customer – also Know Your Client in the US, or just “KYC” throughout the business – is a term that’s been around for at least a decade.

But a combination of the fight against dirty digital money and the fallout from the financial crisis (which revealed, let’s not forget, that many big banks didn’t even know what was on their own books, let alone their customers’) has pushed KYC up the regulatory agenda.

Another notable outcome in the UK has been the Money Laundering Regulations, which came into force in 2007.

The financial services industry is attempting to comply with these regulations via the auspices of the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group. Essentially it’s a trade body whose main function is to deliberate upon and provide guidance to do with money laundering. (The detection and prevention of it, that is, not top tips on getting it done and the addresses of bent amusement arcades that will wash your coppers for you… Just ask for ‘arry!)

You can read up on the Group’s guidance and its revisions if you’re the sort who finds sleep hard to come by.

KYC on a need-to-know basis

I am obviously not an expert on anti-money laundering legislation, the guidance notes from the steering group, nor on blowing up things for my own political ends for that matter.

My aim with this bit of background is to point out that there’s a backdrop of heightened security, and that this has probably forced SelfTrade’s hand to some extent in the issuing of these forms to its customers.

What’s interesting though – if not somewhat disturbing – about all this guidance is as best I can glean it’s up to individual companies to decide what they need to find out, in order to Know Their Customer.

The thrust is that a company needs to have some idea of the origin of funds put into its systems.

At the very least, that means an identity – a full name and address – linked to a verifiable bank account.

That’s the minimum, really, and having doubts about it is a serious business in the modern financial world – especially if you’re a money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) and you fail to alert the authorities about what you deem to be a suspicious deposit of money. MLROs can and have been sentenced to jail time for their failings.

More details on the rigours of the regime can be gleaned from this fascinating post by a professional MLRO on the Motley Fool discussion boards, who warns:

“Do not consider for one moment that this industry is not used for money laundering, market abuse or any other financial crime. Do not consider that it is only other countries that need to worry about financial crime.

The UK is one of the biggest financial markets in the world and therefore one of the biggest targets for abuse. It happens and firms need to ensure that they know who they are dealing with.

The regulations also state that this information needs to be refreshed periodically – this is typically done when client’s change details – address, back accounts, marriage, etc. This is called a trigger event and firms are obliged to obtain fresh details at this point.”

But what does finding out about your customer amount to in practice?

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

I believe I’ve given a fair airing to the pressures put on firms like Selftrade to create robust systems to fight criminal activity.

However at this point I part ways, and have to side with the Selftrade customer who told the FT this week that:

I simply don’t believe any regulation requires them to ask all these questions”.

So what’s being asked?

Three pages long (it was apparently shortened based on earlier customer feedback/fury) the questionnaire starts by asking for your name and address.

Very reasonable…

The first sign that more prying than you might expect from an execution-only broker comes with questions about your profession and your salary.

Then you turn over the sheet to find the statement that:

“Selftrade is obliged to meet regulatory requirements and satisfy itself that customer funds were generated legitimately”.

This it aims to do by asking you things like:

  • What’s your total net worth?
  • Has any of your total wealth been derived from employment?
  • If yes, how much?

As well as this beauty:

  • Provide detailed description of the source (if from previous employment, please name employer)
  • Provide details of amount involved
  • Provide a detailed description of the timescales involved

I’m tempted to quip that as French-owned company, perhaps Selftrade expects lots of jobs-for-life types to find this question a doddle.

But I wouldn’t have a clue how much I saved from my first of several employers – followed by long stints of freelancing, consulting, and entrepreneurship – in a working life that began some 20 years ago.

And I’m relatively young for a private investor!

There’s more. The next page asks:

  • Has any of your total wealth been derived from a different source to those listed previously? (e.g. Investment/trading activity, selling assets or legal entities, inheritance etc).

And then there’s another bunch of boxes asking for the fine detail.

A reminder: This is an execution-only broker effectively asking you to rebuild your entire financial history from the moment you left school.

And it is demanding – under pain of freezing your account – an accurate description of the proportion of wealth you’ve generated via investing returns versus that which you got through just not spending money.

Clearly, pretty much nobody is going to be able to answer that question accurately. Which might not matter, except that this is purporting to be a serious question for a serious purpose.

Why ask people questions they cannot possibly answer? Franz Kafka warned us about the consequences of this sort of bureaucracy.

At the time of writing you can download scans of the form and its FAQ via these uploads here:

  • The form (and an older even more complicated version)

Have a look for yourself. Would you be able to answer those questions, if you were put on the spot?

Computer says “no!”

Selftrade warns in its FAQ to the form that disgruntled customers cannot simply refuse to answer its questions and instead move their money elsewhere.

You have to fill in the form or it may lock your account. Once the form is filled in, then it can release your money.

Now under the spirit of the money laundering regulations as I understand them, this makes sense. If Mr A. Unibomber is worried about being rumbled, he shouldn’t be allowed to hop from financial firm to firm whenever he’s asked something tricky.

However, at least in my experience other brokers don’t seem to be asking these sorts of very detailed, personal, and probably impossible-to-answer questions.

No wonder some who’ve received the forms have been venting their fury at the incredibly personal questions in the online forums.

To be fair, I think I can guess what the form is meant to achieve.

Presumably someone is going to input the numbers supplied by each suspect – sorry, I mean customer – into some sort of spreadsheet, and the computer is going to return Green or Red depending on whether the results seem plausible.

If you’re a 50-year old banker earning £100,000 a year with a £50,000 ISA, no worries. But if you’re a 32-year old milkman with a net worth of £1 million from brilliantly investing your odds and ends in fast-growing shares, you might have some explaining to do.

Still, I can’t help thinking the data is going to be so vague and all over the place as to make any such calculations about as meaningful as the beeps from a Geiger counter strapped to a nuclear warhead.

Moreover, a tip for MLROs everywhere – criminals lie!

Another worry is that readers of Monevator and similar websites might expect to set alarm bells ringing compared to our peers on similar salaries who spend their days reading about supercars.

We save a lot of money, and accumulate wealth early from even fairly modest salaries.

Suspicious! Does not compute!

Who watches the watchmen?

Selftrade has been voluntarily closed to new customers since early 2013, after discussions with the then-regulator, the FSA.

A spokesperson at the time cited:

“A review to enhance some of the firm’s processes”.

These new questionnaires seem to be part of the enhancement (which brings to mind the old adage about friends like these…) with a spokesperson saying:

“As an execution-only broker, Selftrade, like other financial services businesses, is required by its regulators to comply with a wide range of anti-money laundering laws, regulations, best practice guidelines and policies.  All the information and documentation collected will be used solely for the purpose of meeting those regulatory requirements and will not be used for any other purpose.”

The company reportedly has 200,000 customers and £4 billion of assets under administration, so there are a lot of people who could find themselves scratching their heads at these forms in the weeks ahead.

The bigger question is whether one firm should be able to send out a questionnaire like this – under pain of freezing a customer’s account – when another broker does not.

I don’t mean whether it legally should be able to. I’m sure Selftrade hasn’t broken any laws, or even any guidelines.

Rather, I mean whether it’s a sensible way to build a robust and acceptable industry-wide system of checks and balances that doesn’t put more people off investing in yet another new way.

It seems to me that it shouldn’t come down to a few staff in one particular firm to decide they need to know how much I – a private, law-abiding citizen – earned in 2003 and how much of that I saved, a decade or more later, when another firm seems to be satisfied with far less information.

Nor does it seem prudent for that firm to ask me to put all this incredibly personal information into an envelope and brazenly mail it, unregistered, through the post. That could turn a potential money laundering issue into an identity theft disaster.

I don’t think the law or the processes should be flexible.

The regulations should state that an execution-only broker explicitly needs to know this, that, and the other, unless they have genuine reason to be suspicious – in which case perhaps the client should be being referred to anti-money laundering specialists, anyway.

Otherwise it’s a prying bureaucrat’s charter. (Some Selftrade customers have wondered aloud if a few of the questions are simply it trying to gather data for its own commercial purposes).

Of course there would need to be a transition period while long-time customers are checked out, but I don’t see why there needs to be ambiguity under the future regime. Flexibility might seem a more softly-softly approach, but a lack of boundaries can mean a lack of restraint.

It might even be better for third-party service companies to emerge to keep this information for us, and to verify us with the different financial firms as and when required. Perhaps the credit check agencies could take on this role, or maybe some new outfits.

Another other option would be for the State to keep the data and tell companies we’re legitimate. Perhaps that’s where the mooted sharing of tax information between HMRC and private companies will ultimately take us, although at the moment only anonymous data sharing seems to be on the slate.

Obviously State-held data of that granularity comes with its own wheelbarrow load of canned worms.

Keep calm and carry on

Encouraging people to invest under their own steam – as opposed to leaving it to the hard-charging professionals, or even simply tossing their money away buying stuff they don’t need – often feels like a two steps forward, one step back sort of endeavour.

Occasionally the powers-that-be will throw us a bone to keep us keen, like the new ISA contribution limit that’s been raised to £15,000.

When that happens, it seems like they actually want people to save and invest.

But then we get a curve ball like the ridiculously obscure “reportable income” tax issues we’ve discussed previously, or this 20 questions interrogation from what you thought was just a convenient platform for owning shares.

And then you wonder if really the powers-that-be would actually rather everyone just bought investment properties in Mayfair with suitcases of cash and a barely raised eyebrow and be done with it.

Of course we should cut off funding wherever possible to cash-strapped terrorists. Yes we should stop criminals stashing their ill-gotten gains in AIM shares.

But if that entails an ever-greater requirement for the disclosure of personal information, then it should come with tighter rules about what’s being asked for and done with that data, too, and by whom.

And if people are to be encouraged to invest – which they absolutely need to be – then it’d be helpful to devise joined-up systems that reduce the burden of proving you’re not an underworld banker, when all you want to do is buy a few shares.

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • 1 Ken Hutchinson April 25, 2014, 11:33 am

    A fine analysis, balanced and informative. One point to note is that one does not have to jump through these hurdles if one wishes to open a Selftrade spreadbetting/CFD account, arguably a much more dangerous instrument.

  • 2 William April 25, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Although companies and their representatives often quote MLR regulations – most are uneducated as to what MLR regulations actually consist of. Its like the other abused area of Data Protection. Most organisations and their staff are blissfully ignorant of the law and requirements.

  • 3 weenie April 25, 2014, 12:50 pm

    Are these sorts of questions just for new investors looking to join a company they’ve not dealt with before?

    If you’ve been with your existing provider for years, would they really start asking these quesions all of a sudden, when your money has been in their coffers all these years?

  • 4 The Investor April 25, 2014, 1:11 pm

    @weenie — No, as detailed in the article this exact form and these *exact* questions are being sent to *existing* customers who have been with the company for years.

  • 5 ivanopinion April 25, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Wow, what a pain! Sounds like the sort of ridiculous excessive interpretation of health and safety rules that you often hear of. Let’s hope its a one-off.

    Incidentally, “money laundering” includes profiting from any crime, so is considered to include holding the proceeds of tax evasion. So, UK intermediaries and advisers are obliged to disclose to SOCA (who are likely to inform HMRC) if they suspect a client (or anyone else) of deliberate failure to pay the correct amount of tax (eg, deliberately not disclosing some of their income or gains).

  • 6 Grand April 25, 2014, 2:27 pm

    That form is pretty scary and well over the top. I perform KYC checks on a regular basis for new investors and the most one needs is a description of the source of funds, certified identification and proof of address. Yes it can get a little more complex depending on where the investor (person/organisation) is resident. The above is more than enough to comply with ML regulations.

  • 7 Xenobyte April 25, 2014, 2:32 pm

    In Nov 2013, I raised with Selftrade the dubious and far reaching clause 5.6 under the changes to T&Cs that customers received. It took until the end of Jan 2014 for them to provide a written response; their preference was to talk over the phone (alarm bell 1). Their written response was a brick-wall refering me to the Privacy Policy on their website (alarm bell 2). I got a smell of something rotten and started to transfer out as soon as I could.

    Selftrade has clearly been preparing for this over the past couple of quarters. I sense there is something more putrid at the bottom of this.

    No doubt there will be a ticking off by the impotent Data Commissioner at some point, but a gross invasion of investors privacy in the meantime. But what a database for Selftrade and its 3rd parties…

    Disgusted customers should hit them in the gut by transferring out as soon as they can.

  • 8 flotron April 25, 2014, 4:07 pm

    It occurs to me that in the FCA handbook under SYSC it says that Systems and Controls (including those for AML) should be comprehensive & proportionate.

    So it looks like Selftrade have covered the comprehensive part, but i’m not so sure about the proportionate element…

  • 9 Ric April 25, 2014, 4:32 pm

    In theory we are fighting the terrorists to maintain our freedom. This does not feel like freedom to me.

    I am buying a house at the moment, and the estate agent selling the house to me also asked for loads of financial info for money laundering regulations, although they will not have sight of my money at any stage. usually I only get this hassle from the solicitors (which I at least understand). It seems to be a worrying trend.

    Maybe the way to fight it would be if everyone turned up at their local MP’s constituency surgery to complain. It is not right and if left unchecked it is not healthy for individual freedom or for the economy.

  • 10 Neverland April 25, 2014, 4:51 pm

    When I read about stuff like this I’m also inclined to think about how much gets lost to tax evasion every year and think about how much lower my tax bill would be if everyone else played by the rules

    I think if we were all American and dealing with the IRS we wouldn’t find this sort of thing necessarily so surprising

    Really if we were serious about tax evasion in this country there would be a lot more of this sort of thing going on (probably on a smarter basis though)

    @Ric

    Moneylaundering and tax evasion through property is a big issue in the UK and it would be a better place to start than share trading accounts. Its not as if the records and tools through the Land Registry don’t exist

  • 11 HalfFull April 25, 2014, 4:58 pm

    As one of those Selftrade customers who asked for the second shorter form I have been giving serious thought on how to give succinct (since they don’t give much space), truthful, non-specific, non-informative, obfuscated answers. Using words like N/A, most of my life, various, approximately, in the range of. If anyone else has some additional useful phrases do tell.
    The catch all question for additional sources of wealth seems to imply ‘liquid’ wealth as it talks about investments and selling but not property. I am undecided. Any one else have an opinion?
    I also plan to send it by recorded signed delivery.

  • 12 Ric April 25, 2014, 5:15 pm

    @ Neverland
    I don’t disagree! In my case the selling agent thinks it is their job, rather than the job of the solicitors (which is the usual process and as I said I understand). The sensible tools & records you mentioned are not being used.

    For both property and brokers, it needs to be about sensible and well structured information collection, by the correct party, for clearly defined reasons and within clearly defined boundaries. This random, inconsistent and excessive collection of sensitive data does not feel so reasonable.

    I’d not feel happy living with all aspects of the American model in this country, but this conversation would be straying off-topic!

  • 13 dearieme April 25, 2014, 6:35 pm

    I find the following answers useful – and also true!

    Q: Source of funds? A. Savings and income.

    Q: Purpose? A. Investing for old age.

  • 14 Andy April 25, 2014, 7:12 pm

    Thanks for highlighting this issue.

    As a Selftrade customer, I’m extremely unhappy about this. I’ve been asked for this information for both my company and personal accounts, and supplied it reluctantly.

    Selftrade have now written to me giving me 3 weeks notice of account restrictions saying that they haven’t received the information for my personal account. This means that someone may now have my account number, name, address, phone number, date of birth, net worth, national insurance number, occupation, income and a copy of my signature. Obviously that is very worrying.

    @HalfFull, sending your information signed for / recorded delivery does not provide any guarantee of post being delivered, only proof that it was delivered in the event that it was delivered. It can still go missing and isn’t any more secure than regular mail.

    They also have now changed their documentation requirements and will not accept printed copies of bank statements, which means I am currently unable to comply with their request as I always receive statements online. This is part of another annoying inconsistency with financial companies as to what documents / combination of documents they will accept. I’ve found it impossible to open a savings account with one institution in the last year, but easy to open a new current account elsewhere.

  • 15 Andy April 25, 2014, 8:39 pm

    @HalfFull

    Re the succinct, truthful, non-specific etc answers.

    For how much of my total wealth was derived from employment I’ve guesstimated a percentage and stated that I do not have records to do this. Because obviously I don’t have records covering my entire life as I didn’t foresee the need to account for every penny that I have earned.

    For the “Details of amount involved” in the Employment and “different source to those listed previously” I’ve stated that I’m unable to give figures for this as I do not have records. I’ve gone for “Savings and Investments” as a description of the source.

  • 16 Jumper April 25, 2014, 9:09 pm

    @Neverland

    The IRS is already here. In 2012 the UK govt relinquished a chunk of British sovereignty by signing an ‘intergovernmental agreement’ with the US that places US tax laws ahead of UK tax laws within the UK, and HMRC under the partial jurisdiction of the American IRS. As of July 1 2014, UK banks, building societies, brokers, and other UK financial institutions become unpaid enforcers for the IRS. Details here:

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/drafts/uk-us-fatca-guidance-notes.pdf

    Of particular note is the requirement that UK banks and financial institutions must search their customer records for ‘US indicia’ such as an ‘unambiguous indication of a US place of birth’. This is the language of a witch hunt.

  • 17 living cheap in London April 25, 2014, 9:13 pm

    Must be said that like Andy I kept my reply short & limited in detail. I don’t have that much invested in the platform.

    Wealth was ticked “from previous years earnings”. Reason for investing…. er, “saving for the future” of course. Did the question even need asking…. it’s akin to the US Visa form asking if you were involved in terror activities!

    Maybe I am touch naive but it feels largely like a box-ticking exercise to me. Anyone using a platform to move illicit earnings would hardly be troubled by this as they can just tick whatever wealth number they want to: Selftrade cannot verify what we say very easily.

  • 18 Steve April 25, 2014, 11:03 pm

    Absolutely the worst abuse of power I have seen in ages.
    This stinks of a fact finding form so they can sell off selftrade.
    What is your inside leg measurement?
    When you go the toilet for a p do you stand or sit down?
    If you don’t answer these stupid invasive questions we will freeze your account.
    I invest for me and my father and I know if I had invested his money with a company that asked these kind of questions he would never invest again,not because he has anything to hide,but because he is a very private man.
    And so are lots of other people.
    This is not just a step to far but a hundred steps to far

  • 19 Justin The Nick of Time April 26, 2014, 8:10 am

    As said previously, it would be easy for those with money to launder to lie on the forms. That would be expected, by the regulators, who will use algorithms to spot those with figures which have been ‘guestimated’. Investing will become as painful, laborious and ridiculed as flying on Ryanair. Selftrade is a company I won’t be dealing with, anytime in the future.

  • 20 ermine April 26, 2014, 8:52 am

    The cynic in me wonders, what with Selftrade being closed to new business and the previous Monevator article saying many platforms make a loss in general if this isn’t a complicated way to telling customers to get on their bike 🙂

    Firms need to be upfront about this sort of cobblers too. I bought some Castle Trust a while ago. After they had taken the money they then came up with a bunch of KYC requirements.

    It highlights the need to have diversity in accounts too, apparently if a bank freezes your bank account for KYC requirements they’re legally forbidden to tell you why, there’s no due process, you just don’t have any money for a while. So you need more than one bank account so you can survive that sort of witchhunt as their investigation can take months, and the principles of habeas corpus don’t apply. Their investigation, their terms, your money but you have no right to know, they don’t owe you for incidental costs.

    So although it’s a pain in investing, it’s a whole different world of hurt if it happens to be your only bank account stiffed by these jobsworths. There should at least be some redress via the regulators after the event if you are cleared but apparently no, you get to eat the incidental costs of not having access to your money for months. Punks… I’m happy to say it hasn’t happened to me but I did start to maintain cash in more than one unconnected institution after seeing the hurt this caused on MSE.

  • 21 Greg April 26, 2014, 10:22 am

    The reason why companies can produce forms like this is that computers have made them cheap to gather & analyse and they don’t care about your time.

    There’s a (very small) movement in the academic world to respond to these with your own similarly long questionnaire asking them in excruciating detail why they need all the information. If we can make it more expensive to process, then perhaps the length and number of forms like this will reduce…

  • 22 Andy April 26, 2014, 1:33 pm

    This was discussed on Radio 4’s Moneybox today, at the start of the programme.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b041txvt

    Selftrade declined to appear but provided a statement which said “we are aware that a number of customers have raised questions, we are therefore considering what simplifications we could bring to the process we apologize for any inconvenience caused” (at 4mins 5 seconds into programme).

    I’m currently planning to tell them that I consider the information that they are asking for is excessive and I will not be returning the form, I will be complaining to the FCA. I will then wait and see what happens.

  • 23 tolchok April 26, 2014, 2:06 pm

    @Andy

    I think it is prudent to engage with SelfTrade, if you take at face value they are meeting their regulatory requirements under the law. However, we can do this without being subject to this horrendous intrusion.

    I will just be filling out the first page (name, address etc)… and then i will add “Wealth derived from 30 years of employment and savings”…. Sign it and sent it back.

    This is all the info they need to know.

  • 24 Andy April 26, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Selftrade have already replied to my message. The response is very similar to the statement on Moneybox.

    “We are aware that a number of customers have raised questions around some of the information requested. Whilst ensuring we meet, and continue to meet, our regulatory requirements, we take our customer feedback seriously. We are therefore considering what simplifications we could bring to the process for our customers and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

  • 25 frank April 26, 2014, 3:26 pm

    @Andy

    Well done for your contribution.

    I haven’t returned my form either and I phoned the FCA about the problem. The FCA knowing what is happening encouraged me to send in what I wanted to send in rather than what Selftrade wanted sending in We don’t actually have to send in weath information as this is supposed to be for “Politically Exposed Persons”. It’s all described under due diligence on the hmrc money laundering website.

    Apparently this is supposed to be a two way process to fight money laundering – but Selftrade has made it into a one way process without any regard for their customers.

  • 26 Andy April 28, 2014, 8:24 pm

    Selftrade told me today that they had in fact received the first copy of the form that I sent in. Which is good since at least the information hasn’t gone missing, but now I’m not entirely happy that they have it.

    I’m considering making a complaint to the FCA / and or the Information Commissioner, depending on what response if any I get to the messages that I’ve sent them.

  • 27 HalfFull April 28, 2014, 9:30 pm

    @Andy Glad your document arrived. Maybe I will hand deliver the form instead.

    If anyone is thinking of leaving Selftrade beware of the time you could be out out of the market and the costs of transfer. At the beginning of 2014 I migrated some ISA shares between brokers – that was a complete disaster. It took months.

    So my current method is put some cash from a cash ISA into Broker A that I like, buy some of the shares I want to ‘transfer’. Sell them in the old Broker B at sufficient profit to cover the costs of both selling & buying then transfer the cash to the Broker A. Repeat. I know it’s slow but this way I am not out of the market for months and I don’t have to pay per stock to transfer.

  • 28 Tyro April 30, 2014, 9:09 am

    From Citywire this morning. Apparently Selftrade is now allowing transfers without completion of the OTT questionnaire –

    http://www.citywire.co.uk/money/selftrade-is-permitting-transfers-says-rival/a748547?ref=citywire-money-latest-news-list

  • 29 The Investor May 2, 2014, 2:06 pm

    The following message has appeared on the Selftrade website:

    Announcement

    Selftrade wishes to announce that, following a strategic review, we have entered into exclusive discussions with the aim of transferring our customers and the Selftrade brand to Equiniti. This process is expected to conclude in Q4 2014, subject to regulatory approval.

    We reviewed several offers from interested parties, having uppermost in our mind the need to closely match Selftrade’s values, customer pricing and service proposition and allow for a seamless transition. We already work closely with Equiniti in a number of areas, including their ongoing provision of custody services to Selftrade and are confident this will be achieved.

    We are committed to making any transition as smooth as possible and, in the meantime, it is business as usual with no impact on how you access or use our services.

    We appreciate that you may have questions, and we will be adding some initial FAQs to our website in the near future. As arrangements become clearer, we will, of course, update you and explain any impact on your accounts.

  • 30 The Investor May 3, 2014, 1:03 pm

    Another update on this saga — This Is Money has a statement from Selftrade saying it no longer needs the wealth questions to be answered:

    It said in a statement: ‘Following customer feedback, we announced last week that we are reviewing our procedures, and we have now decided to simplify the process, whilst still meeting our regulatory requirements. As a result we will no longer require details of customers’ source of wealth.

    ‘This means that customers, who have received our questionnaire will only have to provide details relating to their address and proof of identification and we do not require answers to any questions relating to their source of wealth. We are in the process of informing our customers of these changes and will be outlining what they need to do in due course.’

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/diyinvesting/article-2618759/Selftrade-gives-investors-ponder-platform-enters-sale-talks.html

    Bit tough if you’ve already supplied the data. 🙁

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