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‘Don’t do the hokey cokey with clients’

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.

Standard effectively pulled its personal pension when it launched its Sipp five years ago and many personal pension clients were switched across. But it feels the time is ripe to relaunch and is keen to take market share from major players Aviva, Aegon and Scottish Widows.

But Aviva head of pensions Paul Goodwin says: “If I were an adviser, I would 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 customers, left foot in, left foot out, which route are we taking today?

“Will a customer who invests £50,000 in insured funds in the new personal pension be paying the same charge as a customer who was moved acr- oss to the Sipp but 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 they have gone the same route that Aviva has been advocating for a long time – 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.”

Standard Life head of customer management Mark Polson says: “We are very clear who our respective target-markets are and I am looking forward to working with advisers over the coming months.”

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “It reminds me of a ship that is lifting one way and everyone rushes to the other side and the ship tips completely the other way.

“I am sure there must be a strategy in there somewhere but I am not finding it.”

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