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Networks fail as PO picks Standard Life

IFAs have lost out on gaining access to 28 million potential clients after IFA networks failed to establish a workable partnership with the Post Office over its plans to offer a stakeholder pension.

The PO is teaming up with Standard Life to provide stakeholder from April.

As part of its plans, the PO investigated a default local IFA option for customers needing help beyond decision trees, as no counter staff will be trained to offer advice.

However, discussions with networks stopped, with the Post Office saying relationships proved “organisationally impossible”.

The inability to give customers easy access to independent financial advice means IFA networks lose out on direct access to the PO&#39s estimated customer base of 28 million through its 18,000 nationwide branches.

The PO&#39s stakeholder will be dual-branded with Standard Life and will have Standard&#39s with-profits fund as the default fund.

Misys IFA Services, the biggest network with 4,200 members, said it was not aware of any communication with the PO but said having a local default IFA would have been a good idea and that it could not foresee any serious organisational difficulties.

PO managing director of network banking Basil Larkins says: “One of the options was recommending IFAs but IFA networks could not make it work organisationally.”

A DBS spokeswoman says: “We had spoken to a third party who were acting on behalf of the Post Office but the feedback was that they did not believe the IFA model would work in this situation.”

Wentworth Rose annuities manager Steve Thurgood says: “I would have thought the Post Office would have had a responsibility to try a bit harder to provide customers with access to independent financial advice.”

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