Friends Provident is under fire again for trying to poach IFA clients after it had given an adviser written reassurance that it would not cross-sell.
Swansea IFA Keith Lewis of Hartley Great-batch & Co says he had received a letter earlier this year from a Friends head of sales stating that mailing lists were cross-referred to ensure IFA clients are not contacted directly.
But six months later, an established Hartley Great-batch client was contacted by Friends to invite him to a director benefits seminar in September.
Lewis says: “How did they know my client was a director? It is an outrage that companies such as Friends Provident write direct to clients, especially since we had received reassurances from the IFA sales arm that this would not happen. It seems that they do not care an iota for IFAs.”
Friends manager of IFA business support services Mike Lee says: “We bought the list from an external company which specifies director-level contacts within a certain area, which is how we knew the client was a director.
“Because we mail thousands of people with seminar details and get a low response rate, we will only cross-refer when they say they are attending. If delegates then turn out to be an IFA's client we will back off.”