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Friends Life unable to offer pension freedoms

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Friends Life is unable to offer its customers access to pension freedoms, either through drawdown or partial withdrawals, after failing to adapt its antiquated systems.

The provider has written to 1,300 customers who have requested partial withdrawals apologising for the failure. Savers with the provider who want to take advantage of the freedoms can either transfer to another provider or take their entire pot in one go.

A Friends Life spokeswoman says the insurer has received a large volume of calls from customers wanting to access their pension, the majority of which are people with small pots requesting full encashment.

However, it is unable to offer a full suite of flexibilities – including drawdown and uncrystallised funds pension lump sums (UFPLS) – as some of its older products have “complex features” which require manual work.

Friends Life says it will offer the full flexibilities “in due course” but was unable to provide a specific timeframe.

Aviva, which recently acquired Friends Life, confirms its customers are not affected by the problem.

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Comments

There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Having refused to place business with FP for many years, for various reasons, this does not surprise me.

  2. Mark Coughlin 4th June 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Nor me Marty, they are one of the worst life companies to have to deal with.

  3. Richard Behan 4th June 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Isn’t that just a laugh not surprised

  4. If a Friends Life client wants Flexi access drawdown they can transfer to another provider who does offer the service. If that transfer results in some form of exit penalty I imagine FP would have charged the same to do an “internal transfer” so I don’t see how the client is any worse off. As most providers require Flexi access drawdown clients to take advice I guess in some respects this means FL clients at least get some advice

  5. I fail to see why in an era when people want costs to be driven down life offices should spend millions of pounds updating their systems for a few clients.

  6. It is unfortunate that many life companies have continued to use antiquated software or are running multiple systems. This causes difficulties in that each system provides different information in different formats. The few that have changed are now seeing the benefit. If you are not changing and evolving you are dying!

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