views

Adviser: What do I tell mum on Aviva?

A DISGRUNTLED financial adviser has issued an open letter to Claire Spottiswoode, who represents the interests of policyholders at insurer Norwich Union, damning the group&rsquo;s treatment of with-profits fund clients.<br /><br />Adviser David Trenner, of &nbsp;Glasgow advisory Intelligent Pensions, suggests his 82-year old mother is suffering as a policyholder at Norwich Union, which will be formally rebranded as Aviva on Monday. In the letter, reproduced below, he says that given his role as a financial adviser, he would like to know what to tell his mother when investor information arrives at her house under the new Aviva brand. In the letter, he asks: &ldquo;What would you do in my position?&rdquo;<br /><br />Aviva last night declined to comment on the letter to Spottiswoode, who runs the Office of the Policyholder Advocate, but said it will be contacting Trenner to discuss his grievances.<br /><br />Criticism has been mounting of Aviva&rsquo;s high-profile rebrand, which has used pricey actors like Bruce Willis in adverts, at the same time as slashing policyholder payouts.<br /><br />It emerged earlier this month that many Aviva with-profits policyholders will get a minimum of &pound;200 each after the group bartered a slimmed-down package with Spottiswoode. This compares to &pound;400 originally proposed.<br /><br />The group has long faced criticism over its use of Market Value Reductions (MVR), which force losses on investors who want to withdraw their funds early.<br /><br />Spottiswoode was not immediately available for comment.<br /><br />Dear Ms Spottiswoode<br /><br />I am an IFA who joined the pensions profession in 1977. &nbsp;My mother who is 82 is a Norwich Union with profits policyholder.<br /><br />When the pile of bumph from Aviva/yourself comes through my mother's door she will no doubt pass it to me to tell her what to do. &nbsp;What can I tell her?<br /><br />&9679; I can tell her that Aviva has spent millions changing its name from the one she has a policy with.<br />&9679; I can tell her that Aviva has spent more millions going through a three year consultation process on reattribution.<br />&9679; I can tell her that your office has spent millions on salaries and expenses on your side of the process.<br />&9679; I can tell her that you have expressed disappointment in the FSA for allowing Aviva to spend her money on various things which you feel they should not be allowed to spend it on.<br />&9679; I can tell her that whatever she gets shareholders will get more of her money.<br />&9679; Or I could just tell her that &pound;500 (or whatever it is) is cash which she could spend on her grandchildren &ndash; and that it will not be subject to an MVR unlike the rest of her policy.<br /><br />What would you do in my position?<br /><br />Yours sincerely<br /><br />David Trenner<br />Technical Director