An adviser has criticised Prudential after the provider told him his clients would all need an email address to access their Isas, despite several of them not owning computers.
Mike Jordan, of Jordan Financial Management, has been battling with Prudential over the digitisation of its Isa service since February.
Earlier this year, Prudential launched an online service for advisers to manage their clients’ Isas, meaning advisers could use a digital portal to place new business, top up existing accounts and handle withdrawals.
But Prudential insisted clients, including existing customers, needed a personal email address to access their Isa.
Mr Jordan said: “We highlighted to Prudential a number of months ago that we have clients who have been Prudential customers for more than 20 years who are elderly and do not own computers, and therefore do not have an email address.
“I have six or so clients with Prudential Isas but no email addresses who want to put money in right now, but they cannot without an email. As the market picks up, that is affecting them financially. It’s unacceptable really.”
In its guidance on vulnerable clients, published late last year, the Financial Conduct Authority warned companies that consumers should not be harmed if they were unable to access digital services.
Mr Jordan claims he has been back and forth with his Prudential representative on this matter for the past three months and it is still not resolved.
He said: "It's been going on for months. We have tried to be helpful and to find workarounds to the problem but we were left with no response for weeks.
"We told Prudential we would use our email address instead of the clients', but it said it would not accept this solution."
Mr Jordan added that service from providers had "really changed" for the worse over the past decade, saying it "used to be as if the adviser was the providers’ client" but now it was hard to talk to them or get straight answers.
Prudential apologised if its service did not meet expectations, but told FTAdviser existing customers could still post or email a signed form via their adviser to top up their Isa and therefore would not need an email address.
However, this differs from information provided on both Prudential’s website and that given to Mr Jordan by the provider.
When asked to address this, Prudential said all new business should use the online service, but existing clients can be supported in other ways.
The provider added it supported requests from vulnerable customers.
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