An adviser has criticised Standard Life for its due diligence process on a “straightforward" and "unsuspicious” pension switch, saying it was an attempt for the provider to try and retain funds.
Gianpaolo Mantini, a chartered financial planner at Higgins Fairbairn Advisory, complained after his client was sent an email by Standard Life looking to carry out some due diligence checks on a pension switch request.
In the email, seen by FTAdviser, Standard Life told the client they would have to have a call to discuss their pension switch which would take place from October 12, causing a further four week delay.
It also asked for the client to share recommendation letters and key documents, such as any proposed investment details or fee structures, sent by Mr Mantini.
Mr Mantini said this was “unnecessary” and originally thought the email could be a scam due to it requesting a multitude of personal information.
He told FTAdviser: “I understand where Standard Life is coming from and I get the need for adequate due diligence but this is a step too far.
“The threat of fraudulent activity is not high enough to warrant this intrusion, especially as there is not reasonable suspicion.”
Mr Mantini explained that he had been the adviser on the client’s pension for five years, and so was known to Standard Life.
And although the pension was being switched to Fundment Pension, a relatively new entrant to the market, Standard Life has done previous transfer to this provider, so it knew there were no issues, Mr Mantini explained.
He said: “Through this it almost appears as though Standard Life is trying to delay the pension switch process.”
A spokesperson for Standard Life said: “We are required by our regulators to have a robust due diligence process in place for all pension transfers and we follow the industry’s code of conduct ‘Combating Pension Scams – A Code of Good Practice’.
“All our customers are subject to an initial due diligence check and then depending upon the information provided, additional enhanced due diligence may be required. We do not aim to cause unnecessary delay to pension transfers.
“We have contacted the IFA to discuss the case.”
FTAdviser understands that since the due diligence process, as set out in the email, has not been completed the pension switch request cannot proceed at this time.
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