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Call centres are major problem

Advisers&#39 biggest complaint is over call centres, with the majority saying they believe this is the major problem they have in dealing with product providers, according to Money Marketing&#39s 1,000 broker survey.

Over 80 per cent of the 1,002 advisers surveyed say the time they spend getting through to call centres is the biggest problem they face with product providers.

The next biggest concern is delays in processing applications and providing information. This is compounded by too few experienced staff to answer their questions, lacking knowledge in specific areas.

Only 16 per cent of the advisers questioned believe that delays in paying commission is a big problem.

Offshore outsourcing of call-centre work is expected to grow by 25 per cent over the next five years, according to the Communications Workers Union.

Financial services companies such as Abbey, Barclays and HSBC have led the way in outsourcing.

Aviva is the latest to move its call-centre operations overseas, outsourcing 2,350 jobs to India, where it already employs 1,200 workers.

Sofa chairman and Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “Advisers are constantly being banged over the head with the response that they can go to provider websites for information when this is just a lie, particularly when you need information on legacy products.

“I would like to think that we will see improvements but I am sceptical. This is time-consuming and therefore costly, shift-ing the cost back to the IFA.”

Solicitors for Independent Financial Advisers director Leslie Sharpe says: “The proliferation of call centres and moving them to India is not necessary. It is to cut costs. But if the providers got their service right in the first place then there would be no need to do it.”


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The fifteen-year itch

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