Legal and General  

L&G ditched by adviser over service issues

L&G ditched by adviser over service issues

An adviser has moved clients away from Legal & General after facing issues connected with the provider's move to offering digital customer services.

Darren Cooke, director of Red Circle Financial Planning, said he moved two clients away from the provider after he felt the service had "deteriorated".

The clients held property in self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) and were switched to a specialist Sipp provider in November 2017.

According to Mr Cooke, it took L&G more than a year to transfer the two clients at a cost of about £5,000 in fees.

Mr Cooke said during that time L&G was "virtually uncontactable" and described the service as "ridiculous".

He said: "The service from L&G deteriorated and it took way too long to get any communication back from them.

"The service was utterly terrible and I transferred the two clients away to another provider who could offer a better rate and, quite frankly, at least some certainty."

Mr Cooke said he will not be bringing any clients to L&G in the future, bar perhaps an "occasional workplace pension" if the fees warrant it.

In response to Mr Cooke, a spokesman for L&G said: "We are very sorry to receive Mr Cooke’s feedback regarding service prior to and during the transfer. 

"Whilst the contract with Legal & General was a Sipp, the transfer was made to a Ssas and we assume that this was due to a product related requirement linked to the transfer.

"Our records show that from April 2017 to completion in October 2017 our solicitors were chasing Andre Perkins, the Ssas providers' solicitors, to complete the transfer as quickly as possible."

The spokesman for L&G added the final fee from solicitors Trethowans was £2,046, plus its own administration fee of £564. "Both are in line with our published fee schedule.

If the costs from Andre Perkins and the Ssas provider are similar this would equate to the £5,000 quoted, the spokesman said.

Other financial advisers also told FTAdviser Legal and General's (L&G) shift towards offering mainly digital services, which entailed stopping taking phone calls and corresponding through online platforms instead, had created more work for them, leading some to pass on the cost to their clients.

But L&G is not alone. Other providers have put in place similar strategies and advisers have previously said they are losing money as a result of worsening customer service standards at providers across the board.

In particular, not being able to have direct access to providers is leaving advisers unable to get hold of the client information they need, meaning managing their clients' finances is taking longer and costing more, they say.

Ivor Harper, director at Park Financial, said he is considering increasing his advice fees due to the time it takes him to deal with client finances.