FundsNetwork has dramatic-ally ditched Norwich Union as its investment bond partner in favour of rival Standard Life amid concerns over NU’s admin.The fund supermarket says Standard will now provide both the platform’s investment bond and Sipp wrappers, taking it some way to offering a full wrap service. FundsNetwork, which was denying the move as late as last week, says concerns over NU’s multiple legacy systems and the difficulties in linking with them were a key factor in the decision to dump them, along with the two firms’ “different operational priorities”. In contrast, all of Stand- ard’s products are run off a single platform. In April, NU UK chief executive Gary Withers admitted improving the firm’s admin was his top priority. NU head of wrap Paul Stoakes says he is surprised that admin was a factor and he feels the main reason was because the investment bond was lower on its priorities than FundsNetwork’s because of its commitments to its own Lifetime wrap. FundsNetwork executive director David Dalton-Brown says: “The wrap is service-led and the first name that comes to mind on service is Standard. The second big advantage of working with Standard is that it has got one single comp- uter system for the whole company. Most others, like Norwich Union, have legacy systems. “This was a learning experience for both Fidelity and Norwich Union and has reinforced our relationship.” Stoakes says: “That surp- rises me because I believe that the main reason for the separation is our relationship with Lifetime and our diff- erent priorities.”
Putting customers’ interests at the heart of their business structures should be a basic requirement for all firms, said the FSA in a press release earlier this month. A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.
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Just a quick post to alert our followers to the fact that the new Fit for Work service is – according to the rollout map – now available in all geographical areas of England and Wales.
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