Aegon has refused to release a client’s pension pot details to an IFA, stating this is due to the client’s pension plan upgrading to its direct to consumer proposition Retiready.
Speaking to FTAdviser, Derek Browne, IFA and partner at Independent Financial and Mortgage Services, said he was told by Aegon’s customer services staff that they can not pass on details of his client’s pension plan even if the client tells them to.
His newly acquired client has two pension plans - one with Prudential and one with Aegon - and wants to know whether she should consolidate the plans.
“I sent off the letter of authorities and Prudential released all the details to me, however Aegon said it cannot [release the details] as the plan has been upgraded to its direct to consumer proposition Retiready.
“As it is a D2C proposition, no financial advisers can be involved and therefore it cannot release any information about the pension plan.”
Retiready is a digital service designed for non-advised savers to help them assess their income needs and choose suitable product solutions. The service launched last year.
The system allows consumers to easily determine how ready they are for retirement by answering questions about their behaviour, awareness and finances. A “unique methodology” is then applied to the answers to create an easy to use readiness score.
Users can access the service online, through a fully mobile responsive site, to reflect on their retirement ambitions, understand if they are on track and see how some simple changes to their expectations and saving habits will improve their readiness score, Aegon said.
Mr Browne said: “I find it absolutely unbelievable that they won’t release information to advisers. I can’t come to any decisions with her pot as they won’t release the details.”
An Aegon spokesperson said: “The Retiready direct service is a non-advised proposition and the customer was upgraded at a time when they did not have an adviser.
“The customer activated their account which enabled them to benefit from a pension they were able to manage online via a smartphone or tablet.
“If the customer now wishes to take advice on this pension, it is a simple process to transfer to Aegon’s adviser platform services Arc or One Retirement.”
There is no charge to transfer, however Mr Browne is arguing that while there is a solution, his client did not opt to go into this proposition.
“This is a very peculiar situation. Aegon wrote to my client in May and then in July, saying that as she did not have an adviser she would be transferred to this Retiready proposition but she did not ‘opt in’ to this contract.”