It has been a tough time for the advice market and for pension providers dealing with the wave of customer demand as a result of the pension freedoms.
But according to Royal London intermediary boss Isobel Langton, the company’s response to the challenges has been key to winning the Outstanding Achievement award.
Ms Langton said: “With all the pension freedoms changes and automatic enrolment, it was a tough year for us to maintain the service, and we had to rely on some great people in the organisation who worked really hard.
“The increased volumes in both pensions and protection also meant a need to expand our customer service team.”
At a time when the debate about the impartiality of vertically integrated firms rages on, Ms Langton said Royal London’s “clear stance” on not owning an advice business, had engendered stronger relationships with advisers.
She added: “We want to make advice more affordable for more people. This is one of the reasons that underpins our strategy to try and support the independent and the restricted advice sector on being able to remain so.”
In the past year, Ms Langton said Royal London had carried out a number of actions to help advisers in the pensions market.
These include developing tools for advisers to carry out annual customer reviews and to help employers embed auto-enrolment programmes into their business.
On the protection side of the business, there has been a heavy focus on digital developments, such as improving the company’s straight-through processing functions.
Ms Langton added: “It is a mixture of investing in new technology to support the service team and adviser, and making sure there are really good people backing that up.”
Ways to success:
- Developing adviser tools, such as a governance survey that alerts advisers if any of their customers are taking drawdown.
- Introducing a new interactive adviser review service.
- Beefing up team numbers.
- Ensuring advisers get access to more underwriters.
- Making improvements to straight-through processing in protection business.