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Honister IFA’s praise for Fidelity over client assurance

FundsNetwork responds to criticism of fellow providers with letter assuring it will not seek to prompt adviser change.

By Michael Trudeau | Published Aug 09, 2012 | comments

An IFA that was an appointed representative of failed network Honister has praised platform provider Fidelity FundsNetwork after it sent a letter confirming it will not write to clients of advisers urging them to find another intermediary as some other providers have done.

Concerns were raised last month after James Hay wrote directly to clients and included a form to allow individuals to apply to change their stated adviser. Other providers also wrote to clients, though most said they did not include such a form.

James Hay said that it was obliged to contact Honister clients under its own treating customers fairly obligations and that the form was included as even if the old adviser was re-appointed they would need to be added to the policy afresh.

In its letter Fidelity directly addresses these concerns, saying: “The recent announcement from Honister Capital and associated companies that it has gone into administration has no doubt left you in a difficult and frustrating situation with which we have great sympathy.

“Consequently, we have been looking at how we can provide support at this time to ensure you can resume service to your clients with minimal disruption and in compliance with FSA requirements.”

The letter outlines three main points: that advisers can continue to monitor clients’ holdings via its client management online service; that clients can deal themselves using the online account management service or via telephone; and finally that “at no point will we write to your clients encouraging them to find another adviser”.

Gareth Nelson, IFA at Allen Charlton, who had complained over the treatment he had received at the hands of James Hay, said the consideration shown by Fidelity in sending the letter is “refreshing to see” and “totally different”.

“It is refreshing to see a firm who wants to help advisers through a very sticky time. If Fidelity, which is quite a large firm, can do it, why can’t other providers?”

Fidelity also confirmed that it will accept bulk transfers of clients if necessary. A number of other firms have also said they would accept bulk transfers, including Aegon, Aviva, Skandia and Standard Life.

Mr Nelson said that since the original James Hay letter was sent, he was called by the firm to apologise for the way his initial complaints regarding the letter were handled by the firm.

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