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Open battle with Woolwich over mailings to IFA clients

The Woolwich has been criticised for trying to poach Open Plan mortgage clients for its own IFA who were introduced to it by IFAs.

Advisers claim that the bank&#39s IFA arm Woolwich Independent Financial Advisory Service has been mailing their clients within months of them completing their loans, with a flyer saying: “Independent Finance Advice you&#39ll feel really comfortable with.”

Dorset IFA Insurance & Investment Service principal Christopher Sheldrake says he has been contacted by clients who received the leaflet. Sheldrake has an Open Plan mortgage and was also targeted. He complained to Woolwich this month but received a response saying it is important for customers to receive details of appropriate financial offerings that could benefit them, especially as some IFAs “do not actively manage their client banks”.

Sheldrake says: “This is the last straw, on top of Woolwich&#39s poor service levels. Every IFA should know that if they do not tick the &#39do not mail&#39 boxes on Open Plan application forms, Woolwich will try to poach their clients – they should come with a Government health warning.”

A Woolwich spokeswoman says: “It is not the intention of the Woolwich to sell our services to a customer who has just been introduced by an IFA and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“This was a generic leaflet sent with monthly statements to all one million Open Plan customers. If customers do not wish to receive leaflets they can tick a box on the form.”

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