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Familiarity breeds discontent

To begin with, I must explain that I am an old-fashioned sort of guy, having been in the industry for about twice as long as most of the people I speak to have been alive. Some would say I am a grumpy old man – something I actually take as a compliment.

Last Friday, a client advised me that Standard Life had transposed employee and employer stakeholder contributions when collecting under a monthly direct debit and asked me to sort it out.

Although it was gone 5pm, I noticed from the Standard Life headed paper that it could be contacted up to 5.30pm so I telephoned.

It was my first experience of its voice recognition answering device but after careful diction I did manage to get through to a human being in approximately the right department. I wonder how anyone with a heavy accent could manage this? I have difficulty understanding many of the call-centre staff that I speak to.

When it transpired that I had not got quite the right person to help me, the individual to whom I was speaking addressed me as “you guys”. I remarked that I was not happy to be so addressed. Old-fashioned I may be but I do not expect a degree of familiarity akin to that which may be used when sending text messages to arrange a night out.

Mel Boustead

Barbican Independent Financial Advisors,

Peterborough, Cambs

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Pension Wise — now taking calls…

Those with decent-length memories will recall that in the 2014 Budget statement George Osborne announced the new (and entirely unexpected) pension freedoms. The new rules come fully into force in less than two weeks.

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