Aegon has come under fire for another client contact exercise which advisers claim is an “excuse” to turn off trail commission.
Aegon has written to a number of advised clients as part of an exercise to update customer contact details. As well as asking clients to confirm details such as their address and phone number, it also asks whether they still have an adviser.
The provider says where the customer says they no longer have an adviser, it will stop paying trail commission.
Aegon says this is separate to the exercise it carried out in June, where it wrote to 11,000 customers to ask if they were still receiving advice from their adviser.
Where clients did not respond within 28 days, Aegon said it would remove the adviser’s servicing rights.
But in July it changed its stance and said it would only remove servicing rights if it received confirmation from the client that the adviser was no longer servicing them.
One adviser, whose clients have been written to in the latest exercise and who does not want to be named, says: “This is just an excuse to turn off trail for more advisers. Aegon should have learned lessons from the episode last year rather than trying to get at this in different ways.”
Perceptive Planning chartered financial planner Phil Billingham says: “Aegon has written to our clients under the pretext of updating information.
“This continual activity is damaging to their relationship with advisers and is part of a deliberate strategy.”
GSL Financial managing director Gary Lewis says: “Aegon is just looking for reasons to write to clients, and I object to them turning off trail in this way.”
An Aegon spokesman says: “The letter is designed to ensure we hold the correct contact details for our customers. It’s also important that we establish that the adviser details we hold are correct so that the adviser can be kept informed about the customer’s policy.
“Last year customers and advisers voiced concerns about letters which used negative affirmation to update our records. These letters are distinct in that customer records will only be updated when the customer tells us there has been a change.”