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Is Legal and General a Good Pensions Provider
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# 1
Rich1976
Old 11-10-2007, 2:06 PM
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Default Is Legal and General a Good Pensions Provider

I have a couple of personal pensions already which have been started over the last 10 years, however due to the Northern Rock situation have decided it is not a good idea to have 'all my eggs in one basket' - or two in this case. So I was considering starting a new Stakeholder Pension with Legal and General.

Is this a good provider to go with eg service, funds etc? My monthly contribution would be about 200 per month
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# 2
dunstonh
Old 11-10-2007, 4:46 PM
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L&G are not bad as a stakeholder provider. Your 200pm contribution really deserves a personal pension rather than stakeholder (even more so if you intend to transfer the old schemes over).

L&G service is on the poor side generally. Not the worst but they have been poor on the service side this year.
I am a Financial Adviser. Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
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# 3
Old Slaphead
Old 12-10-2007, 10:46 AM
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dunstonh, could you enlighten me?

I've both PPs and Stakeholders and I'm not sure what's the difference?

Both types of scheme (all plans started 5+ years ago) allow a choice of funds and have charges capped at 1% (though in practice I'm actually paying 0.5%-0.8%)

Thanks
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# 4
dunstonh
Old 12-10-2007, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
I've both PPs and Stakeholders and I'm not sure what's the difference?
Nothing in the way they that have to comply with pension rules (i.e. tax relief, tax free growth, 25% TFC etc). Stakeholders have a defined charging structure and are classed as a budget product. Because of this the charges are low but the fund range and features limited.

Personal pensions have no rules on charging structure. When stakeholders came out, there were not many personal pensions that could beat stakeholder. Over the years, since 2001, modern personal pensions have increased their fund range, introduced different charging structures, some of which lower than stakeholder and features and options which are not present on the stakeholder. They have basically become the middle ground between stakeholder with its limited fund range and a SIPP with the almost unlimited investment options.

Stakeholders are simple because everything is defined. Personal pensions differ with different providers. You can find some really poor quality personal pensions still out there and some really high quality ones. And of course, you have legacy personal pensions which I (and many others) would consider pre 2001 which may share the name "personal pension" but are nothing like as good as modern versions.

A good example of where a personal pension is better than stakeholder is Norwich Union. Their charges are lower on the personal pension than they are on the stakeholder (assuming you use stakeholder funds on the personal pension). Plus you get 100 or so external funds available as well.

Scot Widows, Clerical Medical and Std life are all similar where their contracts can offer stakeholder funds at stakeholder pricing but also external funds. It makes you wonder why they really offer stakeholder pensions when the personal pension can match it on internal funds. You would think they would just offer one product and say these are the stakeholder funds with stakeholder charges and these are external funds which cost more but are available for you to use if you wish.
I am a Financial Adviser. Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
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# 5
wombat42
Old 12-10-2007, 11:20 AM
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I have had quite a few bad experiences with Legal and General customer services staff. They have made blunders you wouldnt have thought it was possible to make. Just about every transaction I have done with them involved an inexcusable blunder. I have quit them now.

They are far from unique in this, but their customer service staff are generally Neanderthal and moronic. I usually know much more about the companies products than the person I speak to. I suspect that pay their staff badly and hire just about any school leaver who can spell their own name.

To be fair, for anyone working in a call centre like theirs it must be a nightmare (bad management and bullying etc) and only people who cant get work anywhere else work there.

I have also had bad experiences with Norwich Union and Friends Provident but that was several years ago. On eoption for you might be to start a SIPP with Hargreaves and Landsdowne - their customer service is way better than other places - they have people with brain cells.

Last edited by wombat42; 12-10-2007 at 12:15 PM.
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# 6
Rich1976
Old 12-10-2007, 12:09 PM
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Thanks, that has made my mind up for me. I have heard one or two bad exmaples about L&G too from colleagues.

I think it is a common thing for the life assurance companies to offer bad service. Norwich Union have caused me problems - either they don't respond to letters and more persistently they fail to increase my pension contribution each year, even though it clearly states on their system it is supposed to increase by the RPI.

Clerical Medical my other provider makes one mistake after another and takes 2 months to respond to anything.
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# 7
wombat42
Old 12-10-2007, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich1976 View Post
Thanks, that has made my mind up for me. I have heard one or two bad exmaples about L&G too from colleagues.

I think it is a common thing for the life assurance companies to offer bad service. Norwich Union have caused me problems - either they don't respond to letters and more persistently they fail to increase my pension contribution each year, even though it clearly states on their system it is supposed to increase by the RPI.

Clerical Medical my other provider makes one mistake after another and takes 2 months to respond to anything.
What are you gonna go for then ?
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# 8
Rich1976
Old 12-10-2007, 12:44 PM
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Wombat

I think i'll stick to paying more into my Fidelity Fundsnetwork ISA who I have been with for 6 years and who always provide excellent service. There are too many restrictions with pensions when you come to claim on them, plus the poor service from the insurance companies and the below average performance makes them not worth the hassle.
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# 9
wombat42
Old 12-10-2007, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich1976 View Post
Wombat

I think i'll stick to paying more into my Fidelity Fundsnetwork ISA who I have been with for 6 years and who always provide excellent service. There are too many restrictions with pensions when you come to claim on them, plus the poor service from the insurance companies and the below average performance makes them not worth the hassle.
Yes it can be argued that you can get by with bumping up up your ISA (but obviously there ISA investment limits). But SIPPs are pensions and with Hargreaves and Landsdowne I have combined ISAs annd SIPPs in the same account which makes life easy. Maybe Fidelity offer SIPPs as well.

With SIPPS you have the same investment flexibility as ISAs.

Last edited by wombat42; 12-10-2007 at 12:54 PM.
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# 10
Old Slaphead
Old 12-10-2007, 12:51 PM
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wombat42 I concur with everything you say about L&G CS.

Every online transaction 'locks' my account for weeks. Calls to their tech support takes ages - you're lucky to get a call back in 5 days. Cheques get lost, funds misallocated, transactions always seem to get completed on the most expensive buying day of the week (is this coincidence ????)

Most of my online problems are now sorted by sending them a letter beginning with COMPLAINT in big red letters.

Their fund info is woeful but because of my constant complaining in next couple of weeks they're going to put a link on the Stakeholder Direct webpage to some fund info that's currently only available in their 'adviser' section.

Thanks dunstonh on PPP vs Stakeholder response

Last edited by Old Slaphead; 12-10-2007 at 12:55 PM.
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# 11
wombat42
Old 12-10-2007, 1:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Slaphead View Post
wombat42 I concur with everything you say about L&G CS.

Every online transaction 'locks' my account for weeks. Calls to their tech support takes ages - you're lucky to get a call back in 5 days. Cheques get lost, funds misallocated, transactions always seem to get completed on the most expensive buying day of the week (is this coincidence ????)

Most of my online problems are now sorted by sending them a letter beginning with COMPLAINT in big red letters.

Their fund info is woeful but because of my constant complaining in next couple of weeks they're going to put a link on the Stakeholder Direct webpage to some fund info that's currently only available in their 'adviser' section.

Thanks dunstonh on PPP vs Stakeholder response
I think you need to get the f*ck out of L&G. I had a huge number of dire problems with L&G about 7 years ago and sent in about 5 letters of complaint. Just to give 1 example a cheque transfer to L&G got "lost" as they paid it by mistake into someone else account. But it took them about two weeks to work that out. After god knows how many complaints were sorted out I decided to not dare do any more transaction with them and just leave things as they were. However recently I thought I would do a fund switch and they completely f*cked that up (as well as trashing my account up in a system failure) so I decided enough is enough and quit an switch to H&L who have some brain cells.

There is even an unofficial L&G complaints website somewhere for staff and customers. Apparently they have trashy computers and software.

L&G seems to gone into overdrive in the spin and bullsh*t department, for example ticking the right boxes by claiming to be campaining against workplace bullying for example and even getting an accolade as the countries best employer or something !!!
http://www.management-issues.com/200...t-employer.asp

Last edited by wombat42; 12-10-2007 at 1:26 PM.
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# 12
Old Slaphead
Old 12-10-2007, 2:14 PM
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Once set up and running (via monthly DD) system seems to work ok - the funds are reasonable performers (in an "average" sort of way) and charges are low. Everything works fine PROVIDED you don't need to make any alterations, single payments or fund switches and you don't have to call customer services for any reason.

Suppose at end of day, a low management charge (currently I'm paying 0.6%) is paid for by dire customer service. You pays your money etc etc.

I'd be extremely hacked of if I were paying 1-1.5% AMC
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# 13
dunstonh
Old 12-10-2007, 2:31 PM
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Quote:
There are too many restrictions with pensions when you come to claim on them, plus the poor service from the insurance companies and the below average performance makes them not worth the hassle.
Only questionning the last point. Performance has nothing to do with the tax wrapper. The same funds on fidelity for your ISA are available on the pensions. So, if you were to use the same funds on both the pension and the ISA, the performance would be the same.
I am a Financial Adviser. Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
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# 14
wombat42
Old 12-10-2007, 2:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Slaphead View Post
Once set up and running (via monthly DD) system seems to work ok - the funds are reasonable performers (in an "average" sort of way) and charges are low. Everything works fine PROVIDED you don't need to make any alterations, single payments or fund switches and you don't have to call customer services for any reason.

Suppose at end of day, a low management charge (currently I'm paying 0.6%) is paid for by dire customer service. You pays your money etc etc.

I'd be extremely hacked of if I were paying 1-1.5% AMC
You could invest in L&G trackers using Hargreaves and Landsdowne (although they dont give any discount for trackers, for example for UK Index tracker they charge the same as L&G):
http://www.h-l.co.uk/fund_research/s...dol/0103653.hl

The advantage of that is that you would have a better CS with H&L instead of L&G and you have a choice of 2000 other funds you could select (including other companies trackers with cheaper charges than L&G).
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Old Slaphead
Old 12-10-2007, 3:54 PM
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Very true....but I don't use a tracker for my pension. I use L & G Managed (+Distribution and Cash). The charge for the L & G Managed via the UT option (and consequently via Vantage) is 1%.

FWIW I also have a Vantage account but not the HL Vantage SIPP.
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# 16
roguebrogue
Old 12-10-2007, 4:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wombat42 View Post
They are far from unique in this, but their customer service staff are generally Neanderthal and moronic. I usually know much more about the companies products than the person I speak to. I suspect that pay their staff badly and hire just about any school leaver who can spell their own name.
To be fair, for anyone working in a call centre like theirs it must be a nightmare (bad management and bullying etc) and only people who cant get work anywhere else work there.
Awful awful things to say. I presonally work for L&G and it is nothing like you say, and I am neither moronic nor a Neanderthal, and nor are my colleagues.

Of course I'm not in the pensions department, so can't speak for them...but I just think what you said was very harsh.
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# 17
wombat42
Old 13-10-2007, 2:37 PM
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Originally Posted by roguebrogue View Post
Awful awful things to say. I presonally work for L&G and it is nothing like you say, and I am neither moronic nor a Neanderthal, and nor are my colleagues.

Of course I'm not in the pensions department, so can't speak for them...but I just think what you said was very harsh.
I can assure you that the number of idiotic problems i have had with L& G have been huge and mind numbing. Most of them were however about 7 years ago and i had hoped that things had improved these days but no they made some stupid errors. It isnt so much that errors are made. What is more irritating is the way that they dont get resolved properly and errors get compounded.

It is true that I have found that I find I kn ow generally more about the products than the L&G staff i am talking to.

Last edited by wombat42; 13-10-2007 at 2:48 PM.
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