The proposals, process and timeline for your clients
Useful information for advisers about planned changes to the business that will help us move to a single brand from October 2017.
At a glance
The proposals in brief
Although Friends Life is already part of Aviva, we’re proposing to transfer the businesses of Friends Life Limited and Friends Life and Pensions Limited to Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited. At the same time, the roles of scheme administrator and scheme operator of the Friends Life Flexible Retirement Account will transfer to Aviva Pension Trustees UK Limited.
We are also proposing to transfer the annuity business of Aviva Investors Pensions Limited to Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited. These business transfers are between companies within Aviva and will follow a specific legal and regulatory process.
If important business transfers take place, Friends Life will move to the Aviva brand in October 2017.
The three business transfers
Why we are doing this
The aim is to:
- create a simpler structure for the Aviva group of companies; and
- to make more efficient use of our capital.
Aviva already has the strength of deep financial reserves combined with size, scale and depth of experience in the markets it chooses to operate in.
What does this mean for you and your clients?
As from October 2017 you and your clients will no longer see or hear the Friends Life brand in any communications as all communications will come from Aviva. There will be no change to the terms and conditions of your clients’ policies and any guaranteed benefits as a result of the business transfers. Also, no changes to the way we service your clients’ policies and you and your clients can still contact us on the same telephone numbers and addresses as before the business transfers.
As part of the integration of the two businesses some of the online services that are currently accessed via the Friends Life adviser extranets will be migrating to Aviva for Advisers, providing you with a single view of all your clients’ policies with Aviva. Further communications will be sent nearer the business transfer date to users of these sites regarding the actions they need to take.
How we will contact your clients
The business transfers process involves mailing information about the changes to millions of customers throughout the UK and in other countries.
Aviva currently has around 8 million life and pension policies and Friends Life has approximately 5.4 million. We cannot say exactly how many total policyholders this represents as some customers have more than one policy with us.
As far as possible we will use digital channels to communicate the changes to advisers, but primarily your clients will receive information in documents sent through the post. Although we will do as much as we can to minimise the length and volume of the information, the content and letter format is governed by legal and regulatory considerations.
For clients who do not understand the complex nature of business transfers and get in touch with you for help, this could be an opportunity to review other financial planning matters.
What we are communicating to your clients
We make it clear that the business transfers will have no effect on:
- the way their policies work, including the way we invest the funds backing the policy;
- any payments they make or receive under the terms of their policies;
- the way they contact us; or
- the terms and conditions of the policy, except for the Friends Life Flexible Retirement Account.
Here's an example letter that will be sent to your clients together with the booklet explaining the Scheme and a Summary of the Independent Expert's report.
In addition, we are making sure that customers understand the type of business transfer that is taking place. For example, we make it clear that this isn't a stock market flotation and that no specific payments or bonuses will be made to customers as a result of the transfers.
As the transfers depend on regulatory and court approval, they are not open to a vote of policyholders or
to anyone else with an interest. However, customers have the right to object to them and can make representations to court if they believe they will be adversely impacted.
Key players in the approval process
There are five key participants in the process, shown below.
In addition, any objections raised and/or representations made by policyholders or other interested parties will be taken into account by the court.
Timeline during 2017
Here's our current timeline. If things change, we will let you know.
What happens if court approval is granted?
In October 2017:
- Approximately 5.4 million Friends Life policies will transfer directly to Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited
- The names of Friends Life products, pension schemes and investment funds will change to Aviva names
- All communications will be come from Aviva rather than Friends Life
- Friends Life customers will start to see references to Aviva on their bank statements for any payments or collections we make from October. There is no need for customers to complete new Direct Debit instructions because we will supply details of the changes to banks.
Communications to your clients
The letter(s) your clients will receive depend on their contractual relationship with us. For your convenience, they are listed here:
Digital information in one place
For your convenience, we have collated all the essential website communications right here, in one place. Some of these sites are currently under review and will be online soon.
We've provided links that should help you find the answer to any questions you might have. If there is something specific you need, please talk to your usual adviser contact.