Financial Adviser Service Awards  

Life & Pensions: 5-star providers

 

LV=

Key activities

  1. Revamped products, such as income protection, equity release and flexible guarantee fund.
  2. Made changes to equity release Lump Sum Plus product to make it more flexible and simple for customers.
  3. Refreshed flexible guarantee fund product to reflect the new way in which consumers are approaching their retirement income.
  4. Investment in technology.
  5. Launched Doctor Services app.

Upcoming plans

  1. Continue to invest in digital initiatives.
  2. Continue to invest in people and processes.
  3. Provide real-time information to advisers on the status of their pipeline cases.

John Perks, managing director of LV's retirement solutions business, said: “We will continue to make the most of our realigned life and pensions structure to reflect the increased focus on long-term savings and the overlap between the two areas. We will become more of a life partner to our customers – helping them from their early working years to old age.

“At the same time, we will continue to campaign on consumer issues so that the market works for consumers.”

 

Prudential UK

Key activities

  1. Discounted gift trust enhancements for onshore bonds – enhancing the use of tele-interviewing to reduce the overall end-to-end time for case set up.
  2. Electronic signatures introduced within its new digital proposition of the Retirement Account.
  3. Trust and application generation tool for onshore and offshore bond propositions supporting the clean submission of business and meaning the client’s case is set up quicker.           
  4. All discharge forms sent to ceding companies for pensions proposition by recorded delivery.
  5. Technical helpline – 14,000 calls to the helpline in just eight months on issues such as IHT planning

David Macmillan, managing director of wealth solutions at Prudential UK, said: “From our structured CPD programme on a range of topical regulatory and technical subjects, to hosting two national seminar series, each across 20 locations nationwide, 2017 has seen us grow our support for the intermediary adviser community. These events form an important addition to the ongoing support for advisers.”

 

Old Mutual Wealth

Key activities

  1. Managed separation of Old Mutual businesses.
  2. Training advisers on how to be pension specialists.
  3. Reduced pension transfer turnaround times.
  4. Strengthened wealth management business.
  5. Developed protection business further.

Upcoming plans

  1. Growing customer advice contact centre.
  2. Continuing to train-up pension transfer specialists.
  3. Continuing to train up new advisers at adviser school.
  4. Pushing apprenticeships scheme forward.

Scott Goodsir, managing director of UK distribution at Old Mutual Wealth, said: "One of the pleasing things for me is the service we provide in the overall pensions area. I spend a lot of time on the road to understand what adviser issues are – relating that to why we are here. If you understand what the advisers are having to do on a day-to-day basis, that is how you can improve your service."

 

MetLife Europe

Readers have continued to rate MetLife UK’s life and pension business – this being its eighth consecutive year in the five-star category.

But in July, MetLife UK announced it would close its wealth management business to new business to refocus its strategy on its employee benefits and individual protection businesses.

At the time, bosses said high levels of service would be maintained for existing wealth management customers and their advisers.

As a result of this, the company confirmed it would not be taking part in this year’s Service Awards.

But the company has previously said placing substantial time and resources into understanding advisers’ business challenges have been key drivers behind its past awards.

This includes carrying out internal customer-centric activities, commissioning external research and using the sector knowledge of its consultants across MetLife’s network of offices and operations centres.

The advent of pension freedoms presented advisers with opportunities for business development, but also introduced greater complexity into pension advice.