Abbey Life admits letter error delayed pension transfer

Abbey Life has admitted to sending a letter to an adviser’s client in error, leading to “unnecessary delays” in the transfer of an old policy.

FPS London adviser Robert Taylor said he had attempted to transfer an existing client’s policy out of a legacy Abbey Life plan into their main pension pot with Standard Life.

Taylor says a three-week delay was caused to the transfer after Abbey Life sent his client a letter asking them to confirm that they had not “been promised returns that seem too good to be true” and had discussed their capacity for loss with the adviser.

Abbey Life – which was acquired by Phoenix last year – confirmed that the letter was not part of its regular communications.

A Phoenix Group spokeswoman says: “It appears the letter was issued in error – hence not recognising it and this not being part of our standard procedures. We appreciate this has caused unnecessary delays and would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused the IFA and his customer.”

Taylor says: “This is not about protecting the client; this is just gobbledygook. I have given advice. Why do they need to know what advice I have given?”

“If it was issued in error why when I contacted their chief executive did no one pick up on this and instead followed it up with a phone call to me asking for my clients contact number so they could speak to him and get answers to all these questions?”

Abbey Life provided Money Marketing with the standard letter they issue to protect clients in transfers where safeguarded benefits are over £30,000.

It asks the adviser to confirm they have given specific advice on the transaction with appropriate risk warnings, have the required permissions, and note the client’s reasons for the decision.

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