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Standard penalty charges unclear, says IFA

A Leicester adviser is complaining to Standard Life that its with-profits communications to customers are confusing and put crucial information on severe penalties in cryptic language.

Standard cut the annual growth rate on its with-profits life fund from 2.5 to 2 per cent in February and has written to clients to tell them that any income taken above the 2 per cent level will incur penalties of up to 25 per cent.

Brett & Randall Insurance Brokers adviser Ian Dunk is concerned that the crucial information about penalties is buried in technical language towards the end of the Standard Life letter.

He says he has had to bear the cost of writing to clients to clarify the situation.

He says Standard has received the crystal mark for clarity from the Plain English Campaign so it is particularly galling for this important information to be opaque.

Dunk says: “Most of my clients could not understand the letter and the way such a significant penalty is not made clear and hidden low down in the latter is a disgrace.”

Standard Life says it is reviewing the letters it sends out to clients on with-profits in a bid to ensure that they are understandable.

A Standard spokesman says: “With-profits is a complicated area, but we are looking at the wording of the letters.”

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