View more on these topics

Scottish Widows under fire over pension transfer ‘backlog’

Scottish Widows has come under fire over an alleged “backlog” causing delays in requests for open market option pension transfers.

Sources have told Money Marketing Widows is taking 23 working days on average to carry out an Omo pension transfer. The provider is also taking 25 minutes on average just to answer telephone enquiries.

An industry source says transfers from the provider previously took between seven and 14 days, while calls were answered within 10 minutes.

The source says: “It is sometimes taking over half an hour to get through to them and they have mentioned about currently being in a backlog.

“This is delaying savers receiving their retirement income and impacts people who have chosen to shop around and move elsewhere for their annuity.”

Another industry source says: “It is is consistently difficult to get hold of Scottish Widows and its attendance at the Origo Operational Group meetings is sporadic.”

The Origo group was set up to improve the efficiency of transfers between pension providers.

A Scottish Widows spokesman says: “Like most of the industry we have seen an increase in demand following the recent Budget changes.

“Our service and support teams are working hard to help our customers and we take any isolated cases where we have not delivered our usual standard of service very seriously.”


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 17 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I signed an application for a pension with Widows in October – I might get the policy document today. If that is how they handle new business then no surprise to read this headline!

  2. We’re are finding that the above reflects the service levels currently bieng delivered (or otherwise!) by Scottish Widows.

  3. Try writing an Enhanced IVPP with Scottish Widows. Their service standards are the worst I’ve ever experienced in all my time as an intermediary (32 years). They make empty promises about the timescale in which they’re going finally to get things moving and don’t even acknowledge formal complaints. On a current case, they claimed not to have received the funds from the ceding insurer yet, when I checked, the ceding insurer told me they’d remitted them 11 days earlier.

    Next thing we know, SW will be announcing redundancies due to a downturn in annuity business. Given the grossly un-TCF nature of this chaotic state of affairs, shouldn’t the FCA be stepping in to give SW a proverbial kick up the backside?

  4. We are in the ‘queue’ too…again. We are paying for this and other firms failures to deliver acceptable service.

    My colleague has tried again on the phone today, she has spent more than 25 minutes on hold, given up the will to live and hung up. She did this yesterday too. Not really sure where this is all heading but I know that we are experiencing similar standards (or the lack of them) from Friends Life (ex-AXA stuff!) who claim to have no IT system at the moment that cannot generate illustrations or figures for anything!

    This is whwere the FCA should be working…weeding out, suspending, fining, demanding more from these cheap-skate firms who want the money under management but simply wont fund the support needed. They shoudol be ashamed and their liceneces revoked.

  5. I have had trouble getting through to Clerical Medical over the last couple of days, who are now Scottish Widows.

  6. We have lost hours on the ‘phone waiting to get through to Scottish Widows call centre.

    The company must have spend £1m+ on its latest advertising campaign. Was this a good use of budget when it cannot handle the current business it manages?

    Perhaps Scottish Widows can use some its disposable income to compensate us for the time we waste trying to get through to its call centre.

  7. I don’t believe, this problem is just limited to S/Widows as others have stated I have tried to speak to the Pru with no success and the web site is next to useless to get info on existing pension plans, Aegon took 4 mths to e-mail a simple pension statement out to me (the web site could not calculate it !!!)

    Like the M25 you can spend hours, days months just going round in circles !!!

    I do think the life companies of old have/are really struggling post RDR and will continue with the on set of the “zombie” fund reviews ? it will happen ? to bloody right it will

    How long will it be before we start to see some big names throw in the towel ?

  8. DH – totally agree that life companies have lost their way and it is difficult to see how most will survive! Interesting that Pru and AEGON both have D2C propositions – they seem to find it hard to deal with advisers.

  9. @ Richard Leeson

    Very good points !! watch this space on their D2C offerings

    With regards to your last point; I think they have always found it hard to deal (or maybe see the value) in advisers, especially now they cant “BUY” in the business ? with unlimited expenses ?

  10. So what’s new? I remember the same problem with this lot more than 10 yeas ago.

    She’s a Widow, because her old man just couldn’t stand it anymore!

  11. And not one of the companies mentioned above can be bothered to post a comment!

  12. Last week, Scottish Widows told us it will take 6 weeks for it to respond to a request for information on a client’s pension plan.

  13. I won’t use them any more. Apalling service, when they do get the money they will not act on instructions in a timely manner, invest in the wrong funds and tell outright lies.

    Still they will offer to send the rep round to take you out for lunch so you can “move on” and “re-establish the relationship” Even when they haven’t sorted the problems out.


  14. Mark Coughlin 1st May 2014 at 11:14 am

    To be fair up until recently we found their service good, but we had a good rep who was able to sort out any problems when the did occur. However since January this year they have really struggled and being on hold for half an hour at a time has become the norm when previously you had hardly any wait time at all.

    We’ve not been able to get an answer as to why there has been a sudden downturn in service levels.

  15. I find the above comments interesting. But what I just cannot understand is how can they boast of their awards and accolades. Taking last year:

    Financial Adviser 5 Stars for Life and Pensions 4 Stars for investments (Top of the Dog League with regularity!!)

    WSB – Pension Provider of the Year
    Moneyfacts Highly Commended Best Personal Pension. Also Moneywise. Professional Adviser – Best Personal Pension.

    Is this bribery or are those who vote nuts? Or perhaps these postings are not typical? To me it seems to confirm the uselessness of these awards ceremonies and why I never bother to vote for anyone.

    In the light of the above perhaps we need to amend some of their copy:
    Working with you. We don’t understand the importance of relationships… Working with Scottish Widows can help you destroy profitable relationships.

  16. Mark Coughlin 1st May 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Harry its the old saying that someone is unhappy will tell 10 times as many people as those that are happy.

    If you are happy with the service you get from Scottish Widows then you’re not going to be that concerned if others aren’t as it doesn’t affect you.

  17. If you think Scottish Widows are bad try Aegon. They take up to 2 weeks just to send out transfer paperwork to start the transfer process and then it is sent second class

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm