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Aviva warns of “hokey cokey” on Standard Life pensions

Aviva is warning IFAs to be careful of playing “hokey cokey” with customers after Standard Life announced plans to re-enter the personal pension market with a bang.

Standard Life effectively pulled out of the personal pension market five years ago when it launched its Sipp amid heavy marketing.

Many Standard Life personal pension clients were switched into the firm’s Sipp. But Standard Life feels the time is ripe to re-enter the market and is keen to steal market share from major players Aviva, Aegon and Scottish Widows.

The move has prompted questions from advisers as well as other providers.

Aviva head of pensions Paul Goodwin (pictured) says: “When Standard Life launched their Sipp they did a big migration of their existing personal pension book into the new proposition and if I were an adviser I would just want to be clear that the correct customers are in the right proposition.

“I would want to make sure I am not playing hokey cokey with my customers, left foot in, left foot out, shake it all about, which route are we taking today?”

Goodwin adds: “Will a customer who invests £50,000 in insured funds in the new personal pension be paying exactly the same charge as a customer they moved across to the Sipp who also has £50,000 in those insured funds? If the answer is no, I would want to know what Standard Life is going to do about it.

“It is interesting the firm has gone the same route as Aviva has been advocating for a long time, which is that personal pension customers should be in a personal pension and a Sipp customer should be in a Sipp.

“Is it a sensible thing? Probably, but I think their messaging has been a little unfortunate over the years. Ultimately advisers are in a difficult place and need to know what is the best thing for their clients.”

Goodwin says he welcomes extra competition in the market. He says: “Game on. At the end of the day they are a good company we are a good company and we all act in a very competitive market place. Let’s see which way advisers decide to go because ultimately they are the ones who make the decision.”

Standard Life head of customer management Mark Polson says: “The whole ethos of the active money lifeplan is to focus on customer needs and to help advisers meet those needs not just at a point in time but for the long term.

“We are very clear who our respective target markets are for the various elements of the lifeplan and I am looking forward to working with advisers over the coming months to share our insight.”

For more see this week’s issue of Money Marketing.


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There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. How can a ‘lifeplan’ be based around a pension product? I wonder what Kinder is thinking. Why not base it around the wrap?

  2. At least with Standard Life you are confident that the IFA’s clients will not be approached by their direct sales team – Unlike Aviva who appear to be making a habit of it just lately.

  3. My concern is that both of these companies are still taking money from basic rate tax payers who have no employer contribution.

    All of this SIPP and re-launch nonsense is irrelevant. The vast majority of the public should not be wasting their money with either company unless and until they have fully utilized their ISA and CGT allowances.

    The basic rate taxpayer with no employer contribution can not live long enough in retirement to justify the decision to invest in either a PP or a SIPP.

  4. Unless employee pension contribitions are matched by employer or unless the contributor is a higher rate tax payer, then a pension contribution is a bad deal. If a non tax payer with small pension income in retirement then it might be worthwhile but the restrictions on taking benefits at retirement, no tax benefit and loss of control and maybe higher charges on a pension plan, make the flexible ISA a far better bet. Loss of control of the money makes pensions a bad deal for most of the population. They are a great tax break for the rich and long lived, who can justify drawdown in retirement and not be forced into an annuity which will almost certainly be devastated by the coming inflation, caused by the Government bailing out the banks by increasing the money supply, eventually raising interest rates. Gordon has done for pensions! remember his first budget of 1997! He clearly never liked pension anyway, far better for his economy if Joe public just spend their money to bring in more VAT. To hell with paying out tax relief on pension contributions!

  5. Whilst your point regarding basic rate taxpayers sving in an ISA is well justified the problem has always been with such products is that they are accessible. Whilst you can try and educate the public that it is for retirement, it is too accessible and often the first thing that goes when bad times arrive.

    This is why the State Pension for many may be the best form of saving for retirement, Keep it where their stickly little hands can’t get at it!

  6. Standard Life are quite aggressive in pushing their ‘advice’ to policyholders even when all the customer wants is product information. They have been blatantly denying the existence of their personal pension (available but not marketed according to Money Marketing) even though it appears to have made up 4% of their new business in the past 5 years. I speak as one who wishes to avoid an annuity at vesting. As of last night Standard Life were still trying to visit me at my house to offer me ‘advice’ on a SIPP!!! Their emplyee had not read Money Marketing. OMO here we come!

  7. Aviva head of pensions Paul Goodwin is wrong, when Standard Life launched their Sipp they did not do a big migration of their existing personal pension book into the new proposition. Sounds like he’s just worried about the competition

  8. @Bob Donaldson. I accept your point that there are some who need protection from themselves.
    A National Pension fund manager manager making the same point. When he moved home he was glad that his money was in a pension fund rather than an ISA so he could not get at it. How did he fund his house move carpets and curtains ? He paid with his credit card !!!!!! Could he not have done the same thing more cheaply with his ISA ?

  9. Whether people need protected from themselves is not the only consideration. If your pension provision is in accessible forms then the government will include this amount when determining whether you are eligible for benefits.

  10. Active Money Lifeplan……???…. – If it is a Personal Pension Plan……. then call it that!!… confusing enough for us IFA’s..

    ……..(moreso for Jo Public who will no doubt feel that they can have their contributions back in full at anytime to fund that house move, carpets and curtains…. 🙁 … perhaps they can… 🙂 …….I really should look at the literature and proposed charges… )

  11. David Trenner - Intelligent Pensions 11th December 2009 at 2:24 pm

    “Aviva head of pensions Paul Goodwin is wrong, when Standard Life launched their Sipp they did not do a big migration of their existing personal pension book into the new proposition. Sounds like he’s just worried about the competition.”

    Well, Paul Jones is less anonymous than many of the blog posters, but unfortunately Paul there are too many Paul Jones to know if you work for Standard, or if this comment is just based on you not liking Aviva.

    I have no love for Aviva, but what Paul Goodwin says about Standard moving people from PP to SIPP is spot on – and they have not in the past disputed it.

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