Adviser tells of ‘uncomfortable’ Standard Life phone calls
An advisory firm has complained to Standard Life after the insurer made telephone contact with two clients who had chosen to have their servicing rights moved from the provider to the IFA.
Geoff Brown, partner for North London-based GWB Financial Services, claimed two separate clients, who had previously been direct customers of Standard Life but moved to his firm in May, had received “uncomfortable” phone calls from the insurer.
He claimed that in calls from Alan Barker, senior manager in Standard Life’s Private Client Management service, the clients were asked how satisfied they were with GWB and how they came across the advisers. Mr Brown said his clients told him these calls made them feel uncomfortable.
Mr Brown said the calls had prompted the clients to ask to have their money moved from Standard Life, but he insisted it was best that they keep their money invested.
Mr Brown said in an email to UK chief executive Paul Matthews and Mr Barker: “While I do not dispute your right to ask clients’ satisfaction levels where you have authority to contact, I do question the legality of your ability to ask clients about the service they are receiving from a third party and, as with these two clients, when they have not given you authority to contact them.”
A spokesman for Standard Life said: “We did contact the clients by phone as they had been Standard Life advised customers who decided to move to GWB Financial. We are always disappointed when we lose customers and in cases like this it is normal for us to contact them to find out why they decided to leave. We want all our customers to have a positive experience when they deal with Standard Life and to let us know if they feel we can do better.”
Since September 2011, Financial Adviser has received more than 16 individual complaints from IFAs complaining about unsolicited contact with clients.
In May, Standard Life launched a customer communications council to create more involvement from the financial adviser community.
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