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Advisers want service pledge in Friends open and shut split

Advisers have called on the FSA to ensure Friends Life maintains equal service standards in its open and closed book arms amid fears that service levels will fall in the closed operation.

Last week, moneymarketing.co.uk revealed Resolution plans to split Friends Life into an open front book and a closed back book.

Friends Life executive director of strategy, capital and risk Evelyn Bourke is set to run the closed life business. Andy Briggs, who was confirmed as chief executive on June 1, will run the open book operation.

The firm is expected to make an official announcement about the split as part of its interim results on August 16.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “The service IFAs get from closed life companies is generally deplorable and there will be a lot of Friends Life customers going into that part of the business.

“I am concerned about the impact that this decision will have on those people. The regulator needs to step in and insist that the service levels are the same in both parts of the business.”

Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “It is inevitable that the open part of the business, which will generate profits, will attract the most resources.

“I would be stunned if the service levels in the closed part of the business do not decline. In an ideal world, the regulator would step in to protect the consumer.”

Resolution chief executive John Tiner first floated the idea of splitting the Friends Life business in February as one of a number of exit strategy options when it comes to concluding its life sector consolidation project.

Friends Life and the FSA declined to comment.

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  1. Just some unilateral service standards would be nice…. Friends, we have had excellent service from their Corporate Pensions section whilst AXA have been an absolute shower…

    Just today the AXA side have written to us as three months ago, owing to a systems problem, they overpaid a client after a drawdown review and guess what…. as they have heard nothing from the client, they have come to us…. didnt copy us in, in the first place oh no….

    Why is it that all big companies have to do is say ‘sorry’, that might actually be acceptable if they meant it… but if I had screwed up in such a fashion I bet I would now be asked to stand that amount..

    Come RDR chaps, that portion of commission that we could offset against shabby administration will not exist.. so I would suggest you all get your houses in order, otherwise all we will be doing in the IFA community is raising invoices.. so no good/bad service please.. just acceptable…

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