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Standard Life under fire for ‘poaching’ letters to advised clients


Advisers have slammed Standard Life for sending “poaching” letters to advised clients.

The provider has written to thousands of customers urging them to review whether its Annuity Purchase fund is still suitable for them.

The letter says the fund is designed for customers who are planning to buy an annuity.

It says for those who are yet to decide how to take their pension, Standard Life’s Active Plus II pension fund “is considered appropriate”.

The letter explains this fund costs 0.11 per cent more than the Annuity Purchase Fund.

A Standard Life spokeswoman originally claimed the letter had only been sent to non-advised clients.

However, the spokeswoman later admitted it had been sent to a “small number” of advised customers in error. She said fewer than 100 advised customers were written to.

HCF Partnership financial adviser Ian Bennett, whose client received a letter, says: “Standard Life appears to be trying to get advisers’ clients to contact them on flimsy grounds.

“Other advisers need to be aware that Standard Life is trying to poach clients.

“This fund has performed well so it is very worrying that customers may be tempted to move into another fund without any fact finding taking place.”

Thameside Financial Planning director Tom Kean adds: “Life offices trying to flirt with clients directly has been going on for years, but this is nonetheless worrying. One has to question how Standard Life’s systems allowed this mistake to happen.”

A Standard Life spokeswoman says: “This should not have happened as the letter was intended for non-advised customers only.

“We will be contacting Mr Bennett to apologise for this error.”



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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. They tend to make a habit of this. They must be really desperate for business.

  2. Already happened pinched one of our clients and refused to get back to us about the reasons why?

  3. My suggestion is that those affected firms/advisers ought to invoice Standard Life for their inconvenience & any loss of fee income. That should send the appropriate message to life offices & other such organisations.

  4. I have had clients who have had “sales” letters from life offices even when the “I do NOT wish,box has been ticked.

    That aside, you have to wonder if a client is actually a client if they decide that advice from a life office is more appropriate, ipso facto also if you want them as a client ?

    I don’t believe any one has exclusive rights over any-one, or their business, retention is a measure of how good…… or bad, you are as an adviser or person.

  5. In my opinion Aegon are just as bad, if not worse, than Standard Life when it comes to this type of practice, which is a shame as my contact, with them, does a good job and they have some good products. Hard for me to use them now though.

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