News: Weekly Provider Update
September 15, 2020
With the freshness that a new week brings, it also brings with it a sense of optimism, and hope that this will finally be the week that all providers return to their ‘Pre-Lockdown’ timescales.
What have we learnt from the week gone by?
We should start with the developments surrounding Reassure and L&G. For those of you that aren’t aware, Reassure have recently acquired approximately 1 million of the older style L&G pensions. It is a mixture of Stakeholder plans (ending 01) and also Personal Pensions (beginning UP).
For the time-being, I would strongly advise calling L&G if you are unsure whether a clients plan has transferred to Reassure or not, as it is difficult to tell simply by looking at the plan number.
To help ease the transfer, Reassure have advised us that they will accept LOAs addressed to L&G, and L&G forms – for the next 3 months. It is also worth noting that the plan numbers will remain the same, as will the structure of the plans.
Now, to the updates with regards to the other providers….
Well… Hargreaves Lansdown are currently struggling, with extended timescales of up to 20 working days (their standard is usually 10), and even then, a response isn’t guaranteed at the end of it. Another provider that has struggled since Lockdown began, is Utmost, and it feels like the battle with them is showing no signs of easing!
Zurich have been another provider that have struggled lately, with timescales currently at 25 working days for their Personal Pension team. Timescales were as far out as 40 working days, but they have been reigned back in, slightly. Aviva (TK and TL policies) went through a period of being reluctant to quote timescales, but are now advising a 7 calendar day turnaround for requests. They will sometimes respond on the back of the chaser call, so it is always worth getting in touch with them.
Providers are still adapting to working remotely, and although the timescales have improved since March, some are still a fair way off of their usual targets. Within the last week or so, we have even seen an increase in call waiting times.
My attitude during this time has been that we need to work with the providers, and not against them. I find that approaching the providers this way makes them more likely to work to help us.
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