Asset protection

Find out how invested assets are protected and the compensation available

What is the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is a fund of last resort available to compensate consumers if an authorised financial services provider can’t meet claims against it. This will generally be because a firm has stopped trading and has insufficient assets to meet claims, or is insolvent.

As a point of note, Willis Owen does not hold customer monies, so in the very unlikely event that the Willis Owen business fails, you as a customer will not suffer. This is because your investments are held through a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised firm such as, Aegon, Embark or any Product Provider that Willis Owen does business with and they are individually covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Your investments through Willis Owen will be held:

  • via the Willis Owen Platform (comprises Embark; powered by FNZ)
  • via the Aegon platform, or
  • directly with the Product Providers themselves (e.g. Henderson or Jupiter).

The Willis Owen Individual Savings Account (ISA), Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and General Investment Account (GIA) are provided by Embark, a regulated entity as described above, and as such are also covered by the FSCS. Embark hold (through a Custodian) the Cash either awaiting investment, or awaiting payment to an investor, they do not hold the funds directly.

FNZ and Aegon hold, for a short period, the money being applied to a Fund, and a Cash account.

To be affected by the collapse of a platform is highly unlikely since a platform simply deals with the administration process; it is the funds themselves held with the Product Providers that are exposed. The underlying funds on a platform are then covered by the FSCS as described below, as ultimately this is where your investments are held.

As a quick overview the Financial Services Compensation Scheme pays out:

  • Investments: up to £85,000
  • Bank deposits: up to £85,000

Protection for Unit Trusts and Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs)

How are your assets protected by Fund Managers?

Fund managers offering Unit Trusts or OEICS operate under well-defined FCA rules that require them to have robust controls in place to ensure the interest of investors are protected. These include:

  • the requirement for a Fund Manager to appoint a trustee (for Unit Trusts) or depository (for OEICs) to oversee their actions and ensure that investors’ Cash is held in a separate ‘ring-fenced’ account that cannot be accessed by the Fund Manager. This account is held under the strict control of the trustee/depositary, the Fund Manager has no authority over it
  • the requirement for the trustee/depository to notify the FCA if it believes that the Fund Manager is not meeting its obligations in terms of its dealing and income distribution
  • the trustee/depository has the power to remove the Fund Manager it if believes that it is in the interest of investors. In the event that a Fund Manager was to become insolvent, the trustee/depository would take over the running of the funds and it’s their duty to find another management company.

Protection for Investments

In the unlikely event you were to suffer financial loss because a Product Provider became insolvent you may be able to claim under the investment section of the FSCS. The maximum you can claim is up to £85,000 per Product Provider regardless of whether your funds are held through the Willis Owen Platform, Aegon or direct with a Product Provider. So, if you have an investment with Henderson and Jupiter and both Henderson and Jupiter were to collapse, you may be able to claim up to £85,000 in consideration of each Fund Manager.

It’s important to note that if a Fund Manager (e.g. Henderson) became insolvent and you hold some investments through a platform (Willis Owen Platform or Aegon) and some directly with Henderson, you can only claim up to £85,000 for all the affected holdings, you cannot claim twice.

Protection for Deposits

Deposits you may hold whether through UK Banks, Building Societies or held in Cash on a platform also fall under the protection of the FSCS. If one of these institutions become insolvent and couldn’t return your money, you would be protected for 100% of the first £85,000 held with each financial institution.

The £85,000 limit applies per person, per institution. If you owe money to the bank (e.g. loans, mortgage) these will be taken into account before any compensation is paid. Large corporates are also covered.

Temporary high balances will be covered up to £1 million for six months from the date that monies are available in your account.

If you require any further information you can visit the FSCS website at Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

You can also contact the FSCS by writing to:

Financial Services Compensation Scheme
10th Floor, Beaufort House
St Botolph Street
London EC3A 7QU

Or by telephone on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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