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Abbey Life clients left in limbo for advice

Up to 1.7 million Abbey Life policyholders have been left in advice limbo after the company&#39s acquisition by Allied Dunbar, accordingto IFAs.

Following the Dunbar takeover in February, policyholders were informed in jointly signed letters from Abbey Life and Allied Dunbar that Abbey was no longer able to give them financial advice on existing policies and investments.

The letter said: “With effect from 1 February 2000, your financial adviser is not allowed to provide you with any advice, including advice on Abbey Life products.

Abbey Life says it is still responsible for the policies and will keep policyholders informed of progress but itcannot give advice.

IFAs say the move has left policyholders with no one to turn to for advice on issues such as maturing policies.

The letter continued: “However, your financial adviser may have been offered a position with Allied Dunbar…..if accepted, he or she will shortly be able to give you general financial advice as well as detailed advice on Allied Dunbar products and services. He or she will not be able to give you specific advice on your existing Abbey Life policies.”

Abbey Life had over 1,400 advisers. Around half of these advisers took up positions with Allied Dunbar and have been retrained.

Troy French & Partners senior partner Peter French says: “It does worry me there are so many companies closed to new business that the policyholders are effectively being denied advice unless it is specifically pointed out to them they will need to see an IFA for advice.”

Abbey Life corporate liaison manager Rob Thomas says: “The letter we sent out was pretty poor really. It was an unfortunate consequence of the transfer that clients were left in this situation. The letter did not explain it very well.”

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