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Concern over move to outsource service

Advisers have expressed concern about the level of service they will receive following Friends Life’s decision to outsource the remaining half of its heritage business.

Last week, Friends announced it will outsource its IT and customer service functions to Tata subsidiary Diligenta as part of a 15-year contract which will see 1,900 roles transfer across.

Diligenta will take responsibility for most of the provider’s protection and individual pensions business and the corporate benefits business that is not already outsourced.

Brunning Newman Houghton director David Brunning says: “I am already discussing with clients the best way forward and, in many cases, it is to try to transfer to another scheme that is still open to new business and is still cared about by the company that provides it.”

Wingate Financial Planning director Alistair Cunningham says: “The problem is there is no incentive to give good service for the firm taking over the business. My experience with Friends Life in terms of service was already poor and I do not see anything changing because of this move.”

There has also been questions raised over the security of the roles that have been transferred to Diligenta after Friends chief operating officer David Hynam stopped short of guaranteeing they will all remain.

Hynam says: “It is too early to talk about Diligenta’s plans, Diligenta will now start to come up with a strategy setting out how the migration will work.”

Brunning says: “This is a very worrying time for those who have been told that their jobs will lie outside of Friends Life. I doubt all of them will stay with to Diligenta.”

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