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Advisers upset to see Aviva axe direct advice arm

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Advisers are disappointed Aviva has become the latest high-profile brand to stop offering face-to-face advice in what is becoming an alarming post-RDR industry trend.

Money Marketing revealed last week Aviva not offer face-to-face investment and protection advice for its customers from 31 May.

The move will affect around 120 advisers as part of the 2,000 job cuts announced by the insurer last month. Around 10 advisers will be retained to look after existing customers.

Coventry Building Society, which has a bancassurance partnership in place with Aviva, has also pulled out of offering investment advice.

Aviva says the move has been prompted by consumer demand for internet and telephone-based services rather than a full face-to-face advice service.

An Aviva spokesman says: “As of 31 May, Aviva will no longer offer fully advised sales to new customers across all life products. We will continue to offer products and services through our non-advised direct team and via our distributors, including our broad network of IFAs.”

Aviva’s decision to scrap its direct advice arm follows the closure of Axa’s bancassurance arm last month. They join Santander, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays which have all exited mass-market advice. Last week, HSBC announced it is cutting 3,166 jobs as part of a restructure of its advice arm.

Investment Quorum chief executive Lee Robertson says: “I was never a big fan of bank advice but it is a shame to see traditional providers like Aviva also pulling out. This is disappointing, especially when the online and phone-based services are not really developed yet.”

Aurora Financial Planning chartered financial planner Aj Somal says: “It seems to be part of a growing industry trend that bancassurance is becoming increasingly unviable post-RDR.”

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