Scottish Life review after ‘Christmas money’ email backfires
Scottish Life is reviewing its compliance procedures after one of its sales staff suggested financial advisers could make extra Christmas money by transferring pension clients.
A sales consultant for the life office sent the email, headed “Christmas Money Making Opportunity” to more than two dozen financial advisers last week.
The email read: “If you would like to make some extra money for Christmas then read on.
“Do you have any existing clients that need a review of their current pension arrangement? If the answer is yes, then all I ask is that you send me the projections to retirement and the client’s attitude to risk.”
The email added that Scottish Life, part of the Royal London Group, enabled transfers to take place within a fortnight, “which gives you plenty of time to buy those special presents”.
“The tone of this is inappropriate and disappointing,” said Phillip Bray, of Investment Sense, the IFA, when shown a copy of the email by the Financial Times.
“Pension transfers can be complex and clients should only be advised to do this because it is in their best interests, not for any other reason.”
Scottish Life said the email had not gone through a marketing compliance check as it had been sent directly from the consultant to IFAs they dealt with regularly.
“We do not condone that sort of language at all and clearly the tone is wrong,” said Gareth Evans, of Scottish Life.
A disciplinary process has commenced with the individual and we have instigated a review of our compliance rules around these messages to mitigate the risk of this happening again.
“The adviser had meant the email to be light-hearted but it wasn’t appropriate and they have now apologised to the firms. We are treating this very seriously.
“We are treating this very seriously and reviewing our compliance procedures to ensure that this sort of communication does not happen again.”
The Financial Conduct Authority was concerned by the email.
“We take a very dim view of churning and unsuitable switching, be it by an IFA or by a provider encouraging an IFA. Investment transactions should only be recommended when they are in the best interests of the clients, and that means properly assessing their suitability.”