There are certainly problems with the current system, I have recently had the misfortune to deal with three or four clients holding Friends Life pension plans, not exactly known for their annuity rates.
In every case when requesting a retirement pack they have telephoned my clients direct without telling me they were going to do so.
On making an official complaint I was told in writing that Friends Life has now set up a dedicated team to do this, its excuse being that it has recently entered the enhanced annuity market and needed to ask the client medical questions to see if they would qualify for enhancement. It then said if it got a positive result, it would tell the IFA.
Friends does not seem to get the fact that any IFA would always consider enhanced annuities.
This is from a company that has no facility for adviser charging from the annuity fund, so even assuming it does have the best rate, it has no facility to pay the IFA if that has been the agreed route with the client.
For the future, we now always tell clients with any Friends Life policy, “this despicable company will ring you and will want to ask the same medical questions as we have done, you should tell them to go away or just hang up”.
We are probably a bit more polite to the client but the sheer arrogance of this outfit is beyond belief.