Pensions  

L&G under fire for poor adviser communications

L&G under fire for poor adviser communications

Legal & General has come under fire from advisers for poor service after the provider launched its online contact system.

Robert Jackson, personal financial planner for Jackson Financial Planning, and Steve Osbiston, adviser at Michael Robinson Associates, cited examples of poor telephone and online service for advisers from the provider.

They claimed that, despite L&G's online contact system launch, which aims to discuss pension or investment cases and reply in 48 hours, in instances where their clients need a more immediate answer or interaction, the advisers had been left to "circumvent" what they have called a "problematic" phone service.

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Mr Jackson said: "L&G's online contact system for adviser firms to discuss pension or investment case issues aims to reply in 48 hours.

"Quite often though an immediate answer is required, so this simply doesn’t work all the time.  A recent requirement for such an answer caused us to have to circumvent this system and ring the Protection Team in order to make initial contact with a human being, and then go through numerous transfers between various departments.

"After 40 minutes and 5 different individuals we were finally asked what we wanted, which was simply to determine whether they had received some ID and transferred our clients pension fund to their new and more communicative provider."

However, he said despite finally getting through, he was not able to get an "immediate reply". Instead, he claims he was told "the client could call them and they would speak to him.

"Nobody at Legal and General could understand that the client has appointed us to sort this out for him, his IFA.

"When a response came, it was by telephone and the operator's opening words were 'I thought I would ring and talk to you as it is more convenient'."

According to Mr Osbiston, L&G have moved from a phone based support service for IFAs and customers to one that has to be initiated by email with a 48-hour response time for all pension administration matters.

However, according to Mr Osbiston: "It is no longer possible to have a five-minute conversation with an administrator, even about the most simplest of matters. 

"L&G also moved its complaints service, so it has to commence in writing, which might actually breach FCA rules about making complaints, which should offer policyholders and IFA’s the opportunity to make a verbal complaint as well as a written one."

Mr Osbiston explained: "We had an instance recently when a client had been given the wrong values on their policy after making a fund switch.

"It wasn’t until we registered a complaint by email L&G started to investigate the matter properly. Having issued a second set of incorrect values, which we had to request by email, they checked the figures they had issued to the client.