Advisers have attacked Standard Life and Friends Life over claims they are attempting to tempt clients into ditching their IFA and dealing with them directly.
Last week, moneymarketing. co.uk revealed Standard Life had contacted customers saying they could win an iPad 2 by filling out two pages of personal details.
On the final page, underneath the IFA’s name and address, Standard gives clients the option to tick a box if they no longer want to deal with an adviser.
A Standard Life spokesman says the letter was sent to customers to comply with data protection guidelines and fulfil TCF obligations.
Bateman Jarvis managing director Ian Jarvis says: “It would appear that Standard Life is seeking, at the lure of the chance to win an iPad2, to transfer clients to its direct service operations and cut out the IFAs who originally placed the business with it.”
In September, Money Marketing revealed Friends Life had rolled out a direct-to-consumer financial planning service called PlanWise, offering advice to existing customers.
The provider has also been criticised for allowing existing clients to remove their adviser by ticking a box on an online application form on its website.
A spokesman says customers are sent information encouraging them to speak to their current IFA or to consult the Unbiased.co.uk website.
IFG financial services senior consultant Alex Gordon says: “This demeans the role of the clients’ current adviser. To simply tick a box to effectively sack your IFA should never be allowed, particularly when you consider what we have to go through when we want to change a clients’ current adviser to ourselves.”
Aifa director general Stephen Gay says: ” If providers are approaching clients and asking about their relationship with their IFA, this should be conducted with the IFA’s knowledge and permission.”