Financial Adviser Accuses Friends Life of ‘Bullying’

A financial adviser who worked with Friends Life has accused the company of "bullying" him after the provider threatened to bankrupt him over a £140 clawback commission. Donald MacKay, who is the director of Mortgage Information Centre, has questioned the company's approach to the whole issue, claiming it to be heavy handed after they sent him a formal notification of intent letter in which they threatened him with winding up or bankruptcy over an Axa life policy. He claimed that he had been forced to wait up to 11 months for commission pay outs from Axa in relation to the policy and thus had used the same approach in repaying clawback fees on the policy, which was created before the company was merged with Friends Provident to create Friends Life. On 22 July he received a letter demanding payment, based on the debt being three months old, threatening legal proceedings if the debt was not settled immediately. He commented "I thought it was overkill for a modest amount of money, particularly when I explained the reason. "I am willing to pay. Our firm is being bullied when we are supposed to be giving Friends Life business. I am being treated with undisguised contempt by a company that is supposed to be soliciting my business. "I do not believe the Friends Life salespeople would use such a heavy-handed approach with us as they know it would damage the relationship. It is not like I could threaten Friends Life with bankruptcy for waiting until my commission reached £300 to pay out. Actually, using the expression winding up and bankruptcy is nothing more than bullying." A spokesman for Friends Life commented "We are aware of Mr MacKay’s complaint and are keen to resolve the issue. We had previously written to Mr MacKay twice before this letter was sent in an attempt to settle the matter amicably. We always seek to resolve issues of outstanding payment amicably, however if an outstanding payment remains we have to take appropriate action to ensure that any money owed to us is paid. "We are more than happy to discuss this with Mr MacKay and are always willing to discuss outstanding payments with advisers. We only look to take legal action as an absolute last resort."
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