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Feeling conned

There seem to have become a popular facility provided by some life companies, presumably to give the impression that they have established a dedicated support division for the members of certain networks.

In the case of Legal & General, though, this is not quite the case. We recently discovered that, in fact, L&G has just one team that deals with enquiries from all members of all the networks.

Our phone numbers are programmed into their system so that when we call, the name of our network is displayed on some sort of screen which tells the person taking the call to announce themselves as either the Burns Anderson support team or the Interdependence support team or whatever. But in reality, it is just one department.

Now, if they announced themselves as the network support team (for all networks) or something equally generic, I would not mind. But what they have done is established one thing but dressed it up as another and that, to my mind, is a con.

On a different note, I recently visited a client who is a member of her employer’s final-salary pension scheme which she will soon be leaving when she leaves that particular employer. I advised her that she should be granted a preserved entitlement in the scheme which she will have the option either to leave where it is or transfer to another occupational scheme or transfer to a personal pension or a buyout bond.

I also advised her that transfers out of final-salary pension schemes are a complex area on which all reports have to be referred to a specialist division within our network, which charge a nominal fee for the service.

She was OK with this but had clearly made up her mind about transferring out as she has no faith at all in the security of her employer’s pension scheme, even though this has recently been subsumed into the scheme of a much bigger company.

In fact, even though the scheme is 60ths-based, hardly any of the younger employees are bothering to join as they too have no faith at all in pensions in general and in their employer’s scheme in particular.

Julian Stevens,




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