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Aviva may rewrite script after poaching row

Aviva says it is reviewing the script used by call centre staff to determine whether or not a client uses an IFA after an adviser complained it had poached a client.

Adler Insurance Services partner Barrie Viner’s client of two decades was switched to Aviva’s direct sales division despite stating he was introduced by an IFA. The client contacted Aviva to request details of his pension plan and when asked if he used an IFA, he responded, “I have done in the past, yes,” according to a transcript, seen by Money Marketing.

The client agreed to deal directly with Aviva, believing that this was only in relation to his specific query. The firm wrote to the client and Adler to con- firm transfer of client servicing.

The client replied, reversing the transfer and stating: “It was never my intention to remove Adler as the servicing adviser for this policy.”

Viner says: “I am appalled. I dread to think how many customers have been adversely affected. It must be purely rooted in the desire to retain as many client funds as possible for commercial reasons.”

An Aviva spokesman apologised, saying it was a misunderstanding and insisted that the company is not trying to steal advisers’ clients.

He says: “Aviva Direct acted on the client’s instructions, how- ever, we have identified a training and a script issue that we will now address. We will reverse the change of agent back to the IFA.”

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Aviva client stealing
    The moral is, “don’t trust Aviva with your business”.

  2. Aviva Client Stealing?
    Surely the process of Aviva writing to the client and Barrie to confirm the transfer meant that the client was not poached and there was no corporate intention to do so? Product providers know that every tme there is a whiff of this sort of thing going on IFA’s are straight on to the trade press which then whip it up to appeal to the ‘outraged adviser’ audience’ we have seen plenty of this type of conspiracy story in the past, sorry but its a non story and boring.

  3. Client Servicing
    It is refreshing to see an IFA actually developing a realtionship with a client. I believe that Aviva does and always has acted only in the best interests of the IFA and the client. Having experienced the efforts that Aviva makes to address this issue sensitively and appropriately for one to write that one should not trust Aviva is inane at best.

  4. Script?
    It would be interesting to see the original script and the newly amended one.

  5. PETER SERCOMBE 12th June 2009 at 9:24 am

    AVIVA POACHING
    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH CERTAIN LENDERS IN THE MORTGAGE MARKET AND HAS DONE FOR MANY YEARS. THEY CLAIM THAT ONCE INTRODUCED THE CLIENT THEN BECOMES THEIRS, AND WE HAVE NO FURTHER INPUT.

  6. Different strokes
    I agree with Peter Sercombe; it rather throws up the question of agency law, contracts, etc. The other issue is the “Scripting”. As in the mortgage field, there is an element of using a tried and tested script to reach a desired outcome from the provider’s point of view.
    I would echo the comments about Aviva responding sensibly (which would never happen in the mortgage field) but it smells a bit of revving up for post-RDR poaching, particularly with Aviva’s recent announcements about their direct sales force plans.

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