As part of an update to its adviser website over the weekend, Aviva removed online functionality for off platform policies such as personal pension and bond switching, with a spokesperson telling FTAdviser the provider "typically received relatively low volumes of activity through the online routes".
But the move has been met with concern advisers will face an increased workload, with the process of attempting to contact Aviva on the phone typically taking a lot longer than switching online.
One adviser affected by the changes, who did not want to be named, told FTAdviser yesterday (September 21) that he had spent so long on hold to Aviva attempting to make a switch that he eventually had to hang up.
He said: "This puts advisers and clients in a worse position as we must now spend much more time phoning through fund switches, when it used to be a five minute online journey at best.
"Or we have to delay passing over instructions if we can’t sit on hold for too long, thus market movements come into play.
"I am baffled that at a time of huge business disruptions and market volatility Aviva would effectively downgrade their online proposition and force advisers to have to call them."
Aviva said advisers should be able to make bond switches via the website again early next year, but it has no plans to reintroduce the online functionality for personal pension switching.
A spokesperson said advisers could instead contact its operations team who were "trained and ready to deal with these requests" and told FTAdviser it was "continuously reviewing its services in line with feedback".
In an email to advisers prior to the upgrade, Aviva had said all key services would still be available on the website and there would be no changes to the way business was placed.
It said: "From Monday 21 September, the Aviva for Adviser site will be replaced with a new adviser site. Our next generation website was inspired by your feedback, featuring a streamlined design and navigation to make it easier for you to find what you need.
"Meanwhile, we’ve improved the optimisation so you can use it across any device, whether it’s your desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone.
"You’ll be pleased to know, all key services are still there and how you go about placing business hasn’t changed."
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