Platform giants Standard Life and Fidelity have attacked Hargreaves Lansdown over its new pricing structure following its release yesterday.
The country's biggest D2C platform unveiled its long-awaited tiered pricing structure as it takes steps to move away from its current rebate model post-RDR.
However, Standard Life said the platform was relying on existing customer inertia to maximise revenues over the next few years, after allowing clients to remain in bundled funds until the legacy commission ban in 2016.
David Tiller, Standard Life head of adviser platforms, said: "By offering a dual pricing system for existing and new customers some platforms appear to be prioritising commercial interests over client outcomes.
"Rather than asking both new and existing clients to share the load evenly, some platforms appear to be protecting revenues by leaving existing clients in bundled funds.
"Client inertia over the next two years can maximise revenues for as long as possible, leaving clients accessing the same funds at a higher price."
Tiller said such behaviour appeared to be an "inherent conflict of interest for any platform" when a better alternative for clients exists.
"Clients will benefit from converting, but leaving them in bundled share classes protects revenue," he said.
"If, as the FCA have explicitly stated, a conversion should not go ahead if it is detrimental to the client, then surely failing to convert clients that will benefit is just as undesirable? I'm not sure whether this is really treating existing customers fairly. It certainly is not treating them consistently."
Yesterday after revealing its new pricing structure Hargreaves - headed by chief executive Ian Gorham (pictured) - also faced criticism over the amount of new charges it will be imposing, including a new £20 +VAT annual charge for paper statements, and a charge for transferring out in cash to other providers.
Mark Till, head of personal investing at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, said Fidelity would not be introducing such fees when it unveils its own pricing next week.
"We believe that all pricing models should be simple for customers to understand and should not have lots of additional charges
"Therefore we can announce that we will not be charging our customers additional fees, such as fees for paper statements or exit fees, in line with our ‘Magnificent 7' pricing model guide."
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