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Pru blunder on releasing data

I am sure that all IFAs reading Dave Harris&#39s letter were as appalled as I was at the shoddy and unprofessional way that Prudential treated him (Money Marketing, September 4).

I have been equally appalled at the attitude and unprofessional conduct of Prudential in that it has totally ignored the Data Protection Act and released comprehensive financial and personal details to us without our having any authority from the plan owner.

The problem started when a mistake, for which we take full responsibility, was made on an open market option annuity application whereby two numbers of the policy number were inadvertently transposed. Similar errors have occurred in the past but the admin teams concerned have always checked against the signature, date of birth, address, postcode, etc, and such errors have been speedily identified and corrected without any release of unauthorised information.

It was very soon apparent that an error had occurred as the fund size quoted differed markedly from expected. On three separate occasions, we contacted Prudential and tried to explain that there was an error. Also, the annuity provider&#39s admin team tried to resolve the problem direct with Prudential on no less than four occasions. At all times, Prudential flatly refused to perform the simple checks to clarify the situation and meanwhile it released substantial and comprehensive confidential client information to us for which we have no authorisation.

The individual concerned has been contacted by us and we have apologised for our initial error. I am pleased to say our apology has been accepted. However, she is registering a complaint against Prudential with the Information Commission over the breach of the Data Protection Act and we ourselves have asked for a compliance review.

This office is holding the client data in a secure file awaiting instructions on what to do with the information we now hold with no authority to do so. Surely Pru must run out of feet to shoot soon?

Clive Hammond Medical & Professional, Fordingbridge, Hampshire


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