A client of mine wants to invest £35,000 in a low-risk portfolio for income and growth – £7,000 of this will go into a fixed-interest Isa, with the balance into a mix of with-profits and distribution.
Who to use? Best to try to use just one investment bond for the with-profits and distribution to get the best allocation rate. Legal & General's with-profits income fund and their pretty respectable distribution fund should fit the bill nicely.
Not having used L&G for some years, I phoned them to ascertain their current WP bonus rate — 5 per cent, fine. And the yield on their distribution fund? The person at the other end did not know but undertook to find out and call me back. He didn't.
A call to someone else the next day did elicit the required figure, so I faxed through a specification for the quote. Then I realised a change was needed to the specification so I phoned L&G to apologise for the inconvenience and advise them of the revision.
No trace of my fax could be found, apparently because the fax number we had been given many moons ago for quote requests is at an entirely different location from the office which produces illustrations these days. I was duly given another fax number. but this one wouldn't work.
I phoned again (speaking, as always, to someone completely different). Ah, I was told, that fax line has been disconnected, you need this one instead. At last, the new spec went through.
This prompted a return phone call to say that L&G will not combine with-profits and investments into any other fund within one bond. Why not – nearly all the other offices with whom we deal will mix and match without problem?
The person at the other end did not know. The only thing he could offer was two separate illustrations but, of course, that knocks the allocation rate. Just do the with-profits illustration, I said, and we will go elsewhere for the distribution investment.
I then received a bright and hopeful call from someone proclaiming himself to be our new L&G telephone broker consultant. Don't L&G bother calling on their IFAs any more? I asked. Well that could be arranged…if really needed.
Anything he could do? he asked. Well, as it happens, we are just awaiting an illustration for a with-profits bond. Let me see now, ah yes, here it is. The trouble is, though, not only is the commission wrong but the income has been shown as starting immediately whereas we quite specifically stated it was not to start for 12 months. And you wonder why we are not much inclined to use L&G for anything?
WDS Independent Financial Advisers, Kingswood, Bristol