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‘Providers need to boost service’

Product providers need to improve their service standards and pay more attention to IFAs.

Speaking at a panel session on developing IFA relations, Syndaxi Financial Planning director Robert Reid said his biggest disappointment is the lack of understanding that product providers have about what IFAs – particularly fee-based advisers – do for a living.

He believes that moving the remuneration of life company representatives on to the same basis as IFAs would help to improve service standards as, at present, life company representatives’ remuneration stops when the product has been sold.

He was backed up by Carole Nicholls from Bristol-based Nicholls Stevens, who called for cross-market service standards for insurers, giving as an example the number of days that an insurance claim will take to process and providing remuneration if standards are not met.

Aegon UK head of industry development Peter Williams said: “It is a key thing for providers to recognise different types of IFAs. We cannot club fee and commission IFAs together but we have changed and relationships with IFAs are starting to float to the top of the pile. We already have standards laid down through the Raising Standards’ initiative.”

Reid said: “Raising Standards was a good idea but flawed in delivery. If you are going to raise standards you have got to allow someone else to set them – either those you are dealing with or an independent board.”

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