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FCA urged to act over Aviva platform chaos

FCA urged to act over Aviva platform chaos

Some advisers are calling on the regulator to intervene after months of disruptions on the Aviva platform which show no signs of abating.

Aviva for Advisers has been haunted by glitches since its replatforming to FNZ technology in January.

The platform was unavailable for six days beginning on the evening of 17 January and just one day after it came back online advisers and their clients found themselves locked out.

Since then there have been problems with processing adviser charges, switching funds, processing income drawdown, facilitating Isa contributions and erroneous alerts sent out indicating huge value drops in client portfolios.

Aviva said it was working to fix the issues and has already re-allocated resources to speed up the process but so far there has been little to suggest an end is nigh.

An adviser, who does not want to be named for fear of prejudicing his ongoing dealings with the insurer, said: "They are failing is so many places, it seems whenever they are putting out fires they are just igniting fires elsewhere.

"At some point the regulator should come out and say this is enough, we are [stepping in]."

The adviser said he would vote with his feet were it not for a fear Aviva would struggle to cope with the transfer out.

He said: "I would leave Aviva in a heartbeat but I don't feel it would be a safe measure to undertake right now.

"Because if they can't handle the type of transactions that are taking place how can I be sure every penny is properly coming [with us]?"

Another adviser said he is reviewing his options after his clients suffered severe disruption with their investments on the platform.

He believes Aviva switched his clients into a newer version of their respective portfolios, which could be breaching suitability rules.

He said: "They don't have discretionary permissions. You are not supposed to sell and buy a fund without client consent."

In particular, he referred to Cobs 9.4.1, which states a firm must provide a suitability report to a retail client if it makes a personal recommendation and the client acquires a holding in, or sells all or part of a holding in a regulated collective investment scheme.

But the FCA could not confirm whether Cobs rules would be breached in a similar hypothetical scenario.

Despite this, the adviser said: "I would be surprised if certain elements of the problems are not already part of a conversation between Aviva and the FCA and action will be taken if it is required."

Scott Gallacher, Chartered financial planner at Rowley Turton Private Wealth Management, questioned whether Aviva had an obligation to refer itself to the FCA given the continued issues.

He said: "The FCA's role includes protecting consumers, keeping the industry stable, and promoting healthy competition between financial services providers.

"Arguably both the first role (protecting consumers) and definitely the second role (keeping the industry stable) mean that they should probably already be looking at this."