Coronavirus information and support

Your home for guidance and the latest information on how our products and services are negotiating the Coronavirus.

We’re open for business

We know people are relying on us more than ever right now. Our entire team is set up to run business as usual from a home environment, so we can continue to be there for you during these challenging times.

Live product updates

As we continue to monitor the situation, you can find the most recent updates on our investment products by heading to our live product updates page.

Getting a quick response

While we’re experiencing a higher volume of calls, the quickest way to get in touch with us is by using our tool to find your local BDM.

Getting technical support

Need help with our new website or keeping in touch with your clients remotely? Schedule a time with our technical support team by filling out our call-back request form.

Our postal address

Because we’ve had to close the office, we need to update our postal address. If you need to post anything to us, here’s the address you’ll need to use for now:

Octopus Investments
PO Box 10847
Chelmsford
CM99 2BU

Operational updates

To adapt to new ways of working, we’ve made important changes to some of our usual operations. Here’s a list of all our operational updates that might affect you:

Fraud warning during the coronavirus outbreak

You may have seen the reports that fraudsters are using the public’s concerns about the coronavirus pandemic for financial fraud, with an estimated 400% increase in scams related to coronavirus.

The majority of these frauds are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, that never arrive. Other frauds include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud, bank payment and lender loan fraud.

However, there has also been a large increase in coronavirus-themed phishing emails. These emails try to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.

Why are we telling you this?

If fraudsters become aware that you have an existing relationship with Octopus, or another investment provider, they may use information to create phishing emails pretending to be from Octopus which ask you to download a document or to provide personal details.

To our knowledge, no such attempts have taken place but, given the huge increase over the last few weeks, we wanted to make sure our customers were aware of the increased risk.

What should you do if you are unsure whether an Octopus email is genuine or not?

  1. Make absolutely sure that the email is actually from us. Remember, we only ever use our official Octopus email accounts.
  2. If you’re still not sure, get in touch with us and we can help verify whether the email is genuine. You can find our contact details here.

Some of the common tactics being used in these phishing emails include:

  • Pretending to be from a research group that mimics the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They may claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account.
     
  • Providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates.
     
  • Sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn.
     
  • Impersonating HMRC, offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing.
     
  • Purporting to be from senior executives authorising fund transfers or requesting financial information.

The following links provide more information to help you protect yourself from these types of scams:

Our policy for scanned documents during the coronavirus outbreak

As we’re not in the office due to coronavirus, and financial advisers are working remotely too, we’ve made some temporary changes to our policy for scanned applications and supporting documents that we hope will be helpful.

The main point to make is that your first port of call should be online applications. These are available for most Octopus products. Your business development manager can help you with any queries about online applications.

Where online applications aren’t possible, we’re able to accept signed and scanned applications in certain circumstances. 

Where and how to send scanned applications

Scanned and signed applications should be sent to [email protected].

Please make sure applications are in PDF format with the filename format ‘productfirstnamesurname.pdf’ (insert product and client name).

If you need support converting a scanned document into a PDF, your business development manager will be happy to help.

What to expect

We’ll need to call you for every withdrawal and drawdown instruction before we process them. We’ll call your client to confirm an instruction if they’ve sent it to us, or you (the adviser) if you’ve passed on your client’s instruction.

This is because there is heightened risk of email-based impersonation fraud in the current environment, and we’re taking all reasonable precautions.  We appreciate that this may mean withdrawals take a little longer.

For applicants who are individuals, we will attempt to verify identity and address through electronic checks.  If these checks fail, we will ask for supporting documents to complete verification. In the majority of cases, we will accept scanned versions of these supporting documents by email.

For non-individual applicants, such as trusts, we may require additional documents upfront (for example, trust deeds).  We will accept scanned copies of these by email in most cases.

In the small proportion of cases where we require hard-copy documents to complete our checks, we will let you know as soon as possible. We will often be able to identify this need in our discussions with you before an application is submitted.

What we can accept in scanned form

We explain below the situations in which we will accept scanned documents. For more information, your business development manager will be able to help.

Withdrawals

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of a signed instruction or liquidation form completed by the client, sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A request in the body of an email sent from a client’s email address where we have that email address on file (this would include a forwarded email).

Deceased withdrawals

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of a liquidation form signed by all executors of the estate sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • Inheritance tax forms.

Drawdown requests

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of a signed instruction sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A request in the body of an email sent from a client’s email address where we have that email address on file (this would include a forwarded email).

Deceased notifications

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of death certificate (there is no need for this to be certified).

Transfers

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned and signed copy of a client’s instruction to transfer sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A scanned copy of a completed application form, signed by both the client and adviser.

Deceased transfers

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of the transfer form completed by all executors of the estate, sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A scanned copy of the application form, signed by the client and adviser.

Power of attorney

Powers of Attorney (PoAs) have particular legal requirements which must be met in order for instructions made under them to be valid. This applies to copies too. 

When we receive a scanned copy of a PoA (which should have wet-ink certification on every page), we will make additional checks with the Office of the Public Guardian.  You will not need to do anything further to facilitate these checks, but please be aware that this step will add to our processing time, typically by a few working days.

If the application is for a venture capital trust, we require original certified copies of POAs. Clients should send PoA documents direct to Computershare at The Pavilions, Bridgwater Rd, Bristol BS99 6ZZ in the first instance, as this will save us having to send them on.

The best way for financial advisers to get in touch during the outbreak

Find your local business development manager for a quick and easy way to stay connected with us during the outbreak.

Follow the link below to find the phone number for the dedicated team serving your area. Find my local BDM.

Our policy for applications during the coronavirus outbreak

We’re doing everything we can to make you and your clients’ lives a little easier in the current circumstances.

We have online application forms for most of our products that are easy to use. Please give us a call if you need any help with submitting an online application.

For products that do not have an online application form, or if you’re prefer a different solution for any Octopus product, we’ve temporarily relaxed our hard copy application policy.

This means we can accept signed and scanned application forms for any Octopus product. To find out how this works, please speak to your local business development manager or contact us on 0800 316 2067.

Capital at risk in all investment products.

Changes to our postal agreement

At Octopus we’re doing everything we can to support advisers and investors during the ongoing situation regarding coronavirus. We are continuing to work from home following government advice.

New postal address to use when sending in documents

If you’re sending anything to us by post, please now send it to the following address until further notice:

Octopus Investments
PO Box 10847
Chelmsford
CM99 2BU

And remember, if you’re completing an application, you can do it online to speed things up.

Changes to initial adviser charges

At Octopus we’re doing everything we can to support advisers during the ongoing situation.

We know that for some firms, cash will be tight. That’s why we’re switching to paying initial adviser charges on a daily basis, rather than every Friday.

For the Octopus Inheritance Tax Service, the Octopus AIM Inheritance Tax Service and the Octopus AIM Inheritance Tax ISA, you will receive initial adviser charges the next working day after we get cleared funds.

For VCTs, we will pay adviser charging as close to the allotment date as we can. You can find allotment dates on our product pages.

Operational updates

To adapt to new ways of working, we’ve made important changes to some of our usual operations. Here’s a list of all our operational updates that might affect you:

Fraud warning during the coronavirus outbreak

You may have seen the reports that fraudsters are using the public’s concerns about the coronavirus pandemic for financial fraud, with an estimated 400% increase in scams related to coronavirus. 

The majority of these frauds are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, that never arrive. Other frauds include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud, bank payment and lender loan fraud. 

However, there has also been a large increase in coronavirus-themed phishing emails. These emails try to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.

Why are we telling you this? 

If fraudsters become aware that you have an existing relationship with Octopus, or another investment provider, they may use information to create phishing emails pretending to be from Octopus which ask you to download a document or to provide personal details.  

To our knowledge, no such attempts have taken place but, given the huge increase over the last few weeks, we wanted to make sure our customers were aware of the increased risk. 

What should you do if you are unsure whether an Octopus email is genuine or not? 

  1. Make absolutely sure that the email is actually from us. Remember, we only ever use our official Octopus email accounts.  
     2.If you’re still not sure, get in touch with us and we can help verify whether the email is genuine. You can find our contact details here.  

Some of the common tactics being used in these phishing emails include: 

  • Pretending to be from a research group that mimics the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They may claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area but to access this information the victim needs to either: click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page; or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account. 
  • Providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates. 
  • Sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn. 
  • Impersonating HMRC, offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing. 
  • Purporting to be from senior executives authorising fund transfers or requesting financial information.  

The following links provide more information to help you protect yourself from these types of scams: 

Our policy for scanned documents during the coronavirus outbreak

As we’re not in the office due to coronavirus, and financial advisers are working remotely too, we’ve made some temporary changes to our policy for scanned applications and supporting documents that we hope will be helpful.

The main point to make is that your first port of call should be online applications. These are available for most Octopus products. Your business development manager can help you with any queries about online applications.

Where online applications aren’t possible, we’re able to accept signed and scanned applications in certain circumstances. 

Where and how to send scanned applications

Scanned and signed applications should be sent to [email protected].

Please make sure applications are in PDF format with the filename format ‘productfirstnamesurname.pdf’ (insert product and client name).

If you need support converting a scanned document into a PDF, your business development manager will be happy to help.

What to expect

We’ll need to call you for every withdrawal and drawdown instruction before we process them. We’ll call your client to confirm an instruction if they’ve sent it to us, or you (the adviser) if you’ve passed on your client’s instruction.

This is because there is heightened risk of email-based impersonation fraud in the current environment, and we’re taking all reasonable precautions.  We appreciate that this may mean withdrawals take a little longer.

For applicants who are individuals, we will attempt to verify identity and address through electronic checks.  If these checks fail, we will ask for supporting documents to complete verification. In the majority of cases, we will accept scanned versions of these supporting documents by email.

For non-individual applicants, such as trusts, we may require additional documents upfront (for example, trust deeds).  We will accept scanned copies of these by email in most cases.

In the small proportion of cases where we require hard-copy documents to complete our checks, we will let you know as soon as possible. We will often be able to identify this need in our discussions with you before an application is submitted.

What we can accept in scanned form

We explain below the situations in which we will accept scanned documents. For more information, your business development manager will be able to help.

Withdrawals

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of a signed instruction or liquidation form completed by the client, sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A request in the body of an email sent from a client’s email address where we have that email address on file (this would include a forwarded email).

Deceased withdrawals

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of a liquidation form signed by all executors of the estate sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • Inheritance tax forms.

Drawdown requests

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of a signed instruction sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A request in the body of an email sent from a client’s email address where we have that email address on file (this would include a forwarded email).

Deceased notifications

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of death certificate (there is no need for this to be certified).

Transfers

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned and signed copy of a client’s instruction to transfer sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A scanned copy of a completed application form, signed by both the client and adviser.

Deceased transfers

We can accept the following:

  • A scanned copy of the transfer form completed by all executors of the estate, sent to Octopus by email as an attachment.
  • A scanned copy of the application form, signed by the client and adviser.

Power of attorney

Powers of Attorney (PoAs) have particular legal requirements which must be met in order for instructions made under them to be valid. This applies to copies too. 

When we receive a scanned copy of a PoA (which should have wet-ink certification on every page), we will make additional checks with the Office of the Public Guardian.  You will not need to do anything further to facilitate these checks, but please be aware that this step will add to our processing time, typically by a few working days.

If the application is for a venture capital trust, we require original certified copies of POAs. Clients should send PoA documents direct to Computershare at The Pavilions, Bridgwater Rd, Bristol BS99 6ZZ in the first instance, as this will save us having to send them on.

Changes to our postal arrangements

At Octopus we’re doing everything we can to support advisers and investors during the ongoing situation regarding coronavirus. We are continuing to work from home following government advice.

New postal address to use when sending in documents

If you’re sending anything to us by post, please now send it to the following address until further notice:

Octopus Investments
PO Box 10847
Chelmsford
CM99 2BU

And remember, if you’re completing an application, you can do it online to speed things up.

We’ll always look for a brighter way

We know that this is a challenging time. We’re confident that we can be flexible where you need us to be, and make changes when it’s right to. We will continue taking the simple but important steps to support you and your financial planning.