An IFA is planning to raise with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) concerns he has that some closed fund companies are not treating customers fairly.
Neil Liversidge, IFA at West Riding PFS, said he has experienced a raft of bad service at Reassure, Equitable Life and Phoenix to the extent that he has renamed the trio ‘Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman'.
Liversidge, who is a council member of the Association of Professional Financial Advisers and plans to raise the issue with the organisation and from there the FSA, said the companies deliberately waste time and "penny pinch" at his and his clients' expense.
Examples of where he believes the companies are not treating clients fairly is applying far more stringent identity requirements than other companies, regular querying of signatures, wanting additional evidence, and sending important documents by second-class post.
"Meanwhile of course the open market option funds to be transferred sit with them clocking up a bit more in fees for them with every day's delay," Liversidge said.
"The FSA should go to them and say this is unacceptable and fine them if they don't improve - that's what the regulator would do to us."
A spokesperson for Phoenix said: "We ask for industry standards and follow data protection rules. If we were to pay out a claim and it later turned out to be fraudulent the customer would be very upset.
"Just because a client is using an IFA doesn't mean we don't need to make the same checks. They are there to protect the customer."
A spokesperson for Reassure said: "The security of our customers' money is our main priority. We invested heavily in our systems and processes during 2012, including the implementation of electronic checks to verify customer identity.
"It is only where a customer fails to satisfy these checks that we will review a manual signature. "
A spokesperson for Equitable Life said feedback from its latest customer satisfaction survey suggested clients were happy with its service.
"We do use second-class post for most correspondence, on the basis of providing good value for money," he said. "To my knowledge, we have not received any complaints about using second-class post. What I do know is that when we have made use of first class post, policyholders ask why we are wasting money.
"We do allow our staff to make outgoing calls.
"Our target to respond to written enquiries is between 5 and 10 days, depending on the type of enquiry. We have been meeting these targets for a very long time."
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