Prudential holds hands up over bad service

Prudential holds hands up over bad service

Prudential has admitted it provided poor service on its retirement accounts after receiving multiple complaints from an adviser.

Alan Kendrick, a consultant at Oakwood Financial Services, complained about the provider's failure to pay funds into his clients' accounts on agreed dates.

He said the problems began last year after Prudential had failed to transfer funds into a client's retirement account on time and they were made worse by the provider's failure to communicate properly when attempting to rectify the problem.

He said the issue had cost more than eight hours of his time as he repeatedly compiled and chased complaints, which often went unanswered by the provider.

In an email sent to Mr Kendrick in January, and seen by Financial Adviser, a Prudential spokesperson said he "fully accepts" the level of service on one client's retirement account had been "very poor" and in breach of the provider's own terms and conditions.

The spokesperson also acknowledged Mr Kendrick had been given incorrect information that made meeting the needs of his client "nigh on impossible".

Prudential suggested the adviser partake in a conference call to try and rectify the issue.

In response Mr Kendrick invoiced Prudential for one hour and 45 minutes spent preparing for and partaking in the call, which he said, had been agreed in principle before the call.

But Prudential declined to pay the invoice, branding it "excessive".

A Prudential spokesperson said where the provider has caused an adviser additional work "over and above the level normally expected" it reviews claims where "reasonable", paying £125 an hour. 

Mr Kendrick said: "Prudential’s poor service has made it very difficult to meet the expectations of clients as promised in their own terms and conditions.

"These are not just IT issues but general incompetence allied with arrogance over the way they have treated clients and advisers."

A Prudential spokesperson told Financial Adviser the provider had faced difficulties in the early stages of the launch but has worked hard to fix the problems.

They said: "The Prudential retirement account has been incredibly popular with advisers from launch but we weren't giving advisers and their clients the level of service and speed they should expect.

"It just wasn't good enough, and we are sorry about that. We've invested significant resource into fixing the problems and the past four months have seen meaningful improvements in service levels.

"We are continuing to focus on this and 2019 will see this continue as we seek to transform service through significant investment in automation and an increasingly digital offering." 

The Prudential spokesperson added: "Mr Kendrick raised complaints on behalf of some of his customers and these were successfully resolved.

"We acknowledge there have been two instances where we breached our own complaint handling standards, by not acknowledging complaints in a timely manner and we apologise for this error."