10:00am Wednesday 7th March 2012
By Rene Gerryts
A 96-YEAR-OLD RAF veteran from Lyme Regis says he has been made to feel like a criminal after trying to access his shares held by a company.
War veteran Bill Simpson says Alliance Savings, the firm holding his shares, refused to pay his dividends or let him sell his shares because he couldn’t show them the right documents to prove who he is – despite having his birth certificate.
He has written to enlist the help of West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin.
Mr Simpson, who is also a non-executive president of Lym Valley Croquet Club, said: “Current legislation requires companies to verify the bona fides of those who hold their shares and usually provides a list of documents which they wish to inspect to ensure shareholders are not guilty of money laundering.
“The company of which I speak is not apparently satisfied that I am the WL Simpson that I claim to be, according to my birth certificate, and have decided to block my shares and refuse to pay me the income.
“Blocking my income means I may not be able to pay the ever increasing fees and furthermore it is most unpleasant at my age to be accused of criminal activities without any justification.”
Mr Simpson had to sell his home to pay for his care and part of the money was invested in shares ten years ago.
His shares were held in a savings scheme but the Paribas Securities Services who ran it has passed it on to Alliance Savings in Dundee.
Mr Simpson said: “During the time I held these shares through Paribas I was required to submit to the usual money laundering questionnaire and since at that time I was still a householder and possessed a current driving licence – it was not too difficult to establish my identity.
“When Alliance took over I was required to again establish my identity despite the previous information.”
By then he no longer owned his own home, so had no utility bills and had no passport.
“So the type of identity documents which they are insisting upon is just not possessed by old people in my circumstances.
“Alliance are insisting on sticking to the letter of the law despite the fact they must know it is impossible for me to comply.”
Even with a solicitor’s letter and his RAF service number he could not persuade them to release his shares.
As a former manger of Midland Bank he says it was insulting to imply he’s not trustworthy.
He added even if he wanted to engage in criminal activities it would be a challenge.
He said: “In addition to my age, I am fairly deaf, cannot use a telephone and have no connection to the internet.”
A spokesman for Alliance said the issue had now been resolved with Mr Simpson’s solicitor: “Alliance Trust Savings operates in a strict regulatory environment.
“We undertake anti-money laundering checks on all new clients to help prevent financial crime. The client in question had recently transferred from another financial services provider to Alliance Trust Savings, and was run through a standard anti-money laundering check.”
Mr Simpson said he was unhappy the situation took so long to resolve.
WEST Dorset MP Oliver Letwin said: “There is no doubt that we need to do more to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy in the money laundering regulations.
“I am glad to say that the government is making some progress on this but we need to do more.
“I have written to Lord Sassoon, the commercial secretary to the Treasury, about bringing Mr Simpson’s story to his attention so that we can work out how to avoid this sort of thing happening.
“Mr Simpson is clearly not a money launderer.”
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