Standard Life has hit out at rival provider Aviva for looking at building a direct-to-consumer proposition targeted at its back book of customers.
Speaking at the Marketforce and Institute of Economic Affairs annual conference in London last week, Aviva UK life chief executive David Barral told delegates the insurer is considering a D2C offering and noted that most of the value of its business is within the back book.
He said by engaging its back book Aviva could improve client retention, but admitted that creating a model akin to Hargreaves Lansdown would be a significant shift for the company.
At a media briefing last week, Standard Life managing director of adviser and investments Richard Charnock sought to differentiate its plans for a D2C offering from the model Aviva is considering.
Charnock said Standard Life’s idea of a transactional system to capture non-advised customers as they go through auto-enrolment would come to be seen as a source of business generation for advisers when customers’ needs change.
He stressed the company has no intention of going down the advice route itself.
Charnock said: “It is interesting to see the Aviva announcement where it wants to sell into its back book. We think that is outrageous, the back book is only with it because it was intermediated and introduced by an IFA. That is certainly not our strategy at all.”
A spokeswoman for Aviva declined to respond to Charnock’s comments directly. She said: “We remain fully committed to supporting all our customers and we will continue to offer products and services through our non-advised direct team and via our distributors, including our broad network of IFAs.”