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    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 14th May 17, 12:46 AM
    • 1,282Posts
    • 536Thanks
    More (draft or has it been submitted?) crookedness from Aviva and pals at Linklaters?
    • #1
    • 14th May 17, 12:46 AM
    More (draft or has it been submitted?) crookedness from Aviva and pals at Linklaters? 14th May 17 at 12:46 AM
    WTF is this?

    Over 200 pages of complete gobbledegook published under the adviser section of Aviva's website - as if an average IFA would understand any of it ...

    It came up as a Google hit whilst I was looking for clues about whether Hamilton Life business was effected by that FCA 2015 prosecuted scandal discussed in my other thread.

    So just when were they planning to explain it to the customers in plain English??

    Is there no end to this sort of stuff?

    Typical sold policies affected by these involuntary changes were but a few tens of short pages of open-spaced relatively straightforward English - still a struggle for laypersons - but hey, maybe laypersons could trust professionals once upon a time, and sleep easy with those thirty pages from time to time. The insurance policies typically came with a couple of pages of open spaced easy read definitions.

    Yet these people now think they can use our judiciary to nod through changes that apparently require over 200 pages of legalese. That includes over 30 pages of definitions useless to anyone but insiders in possession of knowledge of Aviva's full intent. Have Aviva no shame?

    This smacks of when they (as AXA) got the High Court to nod through "reattribution " in 2001, and a 109 page "Policyholder Newsletter" dropped through my letterbox to bamboozle me with the jargon of that particular wheeze also ... and again as Aviva, when they did their reattribution despite being quizzed by the Treasury Select Committee in 2007/2008 and criticised. Also threatening me with risk of a hernia when I was expected to pick up the formal prospectus detailing that one from the floor after it almost dropped through it from the letterbox.

    Clearly Aviva have no shame, and big law firms get richer by hanging on coat tails and drafting this stuff and spinning the law as a tool to redistribute risk and wealth just as they like.
Page 3
    • taktikback
    • By taktikback 17th May 17, 11:39 PM
    • 275 Posts
    • 198 Thanks
    sure thing offence's taktikback by the way..but you made a reasonable fist of it...

    good speech by the way - your flying and skiing references reminded me of Roy in Blade Runner

    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain...
    • fairleads
    • By fairleads 18th May 17, 12:43 PM
    • 586 Posts
    • 155 Thanks
    Indeed. There is no problem. The job of the auditors is to audit a company's financial statements. Financial audit is not the job of an independent expert appointed to advise the court on the implementation of a transfer scheme.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    I have long since given up relying on company financial statements hence the exclamation mark
    • bowlhead99
    • By bowlhead99 18th May 17, 2:24 PM
    • 7,695 Posts
    • 14,073 Thanks
    And hey presto ... Aviva finally gets around to putting a relevant document library on the website ... not finished yet - there's a few example letters missing, but the poor darlings were in a rush ...
    Originally posted by agarnett
    Not sure what you mean "hey presto" and that they 'finally get around to putting it on the website' as if it had suddenly magically appeared overnight.

    When you mentioned that it was terrible that you had learned about it by accident when looking through the intermediaries site for something else off a Google search, and, "just when were they planning on explaining it to the customers!", I pointed out that it was on the customer website with a whole library of other documents, a dedicated FAQ etc.

    I said back in post #10 a few days ago:

    You can see what they are saying to their customers about the changes which are proposed to go through in October, by visiting the consumer site (which is also linked from the friends life landing page if the reason that the document is relevant to you is that you are an FL customer being brought under the Aviva umbrella:

    There are detailed FAQs for customers at

    The document library at provides the Scheme Document you linked, example letters being sent to customers, policyholder booklets, the various Actuaries reports, expert's reports, summary of changes to the various sub-funds with draft PPFMs, how to find out what sub-fund you are in and so on.
    Originally posted by bowlhead99
    It seems perhaps you were so busy seething with rage about how you were maybe being screwed over that you didn't actually read the post where I gave you the direct links to the areas containing the information they were supplying to customers. Instead you just carried on with your ad hominem attacks, lashing out of people you characterise as "lead apologists" or whatever and saying, "well well ladies, who rattled your cages" or some such when someone tries to respond.

    When I suggested that some people were only trying to help, you laughed that off and said "Er -pardon? Who came here to help? You possibly may have thought I was unaware of some of the other material...", implying you had been aware of the material even though you had launched your diatribe from the standpoint of "just when were they planning on informing their customers".

    But now you are writing, thirty posts later, as if they have only just finally got around to doing a library hey presto just as you have finished three days of shouting that they needed to do that. But it was already there when you first started shouting.
    First there is a press release referring to the 27 April 2017 High Court Initial Hearing as a historical event i.e. an event which has happened, yet the PDF file dates are 2 days before the event. That's preparation for you I guess
    Yes, that is good preparation, preparing a press release before a known event.

    The press release document that went on to the Friends Life and Aviva sites and to the press basically says 'we've now lodged an application with the court, and the application will be heard before the judge in mid September so if you'd like to give reasons why you consider yourself adversely affected or intend to appear, please give those reasons - or notice of appearance if appropriate - five days before the hearing date'.

    It is not a complex document but preparing a release about what you have just done, before you actually do that thing, and then releasing it once you've done the thing, is hardly unusual or bad behaviour.
    Then there's a document about changes to the PPFM in the funds that interest me - it's another PDF which is so fresh off the press it still contains the labels (metadata) left on by the graphic design outfit...

    ...Not sure the WLC name should be visible in the final release pdf documents they design? More shirts hanging out? Bit of a rush job?
    Oh no! The horrors! A customer-facing document made to look clear and legible with branding and logos done up in graphic design by a design agency (to avoid your complaints that the document lodged with the court was not very pretty to read), still contains some document properties that identity the design agency who produced it!

    I think you really need to pick your battles and focus on what is important to you as an investor. That they have an extra review process to eliminate metadata tags to avoid mentioning the name of a vendor? That once a planned event happens, they re-pdf the draft press release they'd done for it, so that it looks like that are just commenting after the fact and did not know all the details in advance?

    Would you prefer they did all that trivial stuff and charged you higher fees or profit-grabs, to be able to afford to divert more "quality control" to the pdf properties of the documents rather than only focusing on what the content actually is?

    Aviva are effectively giving themselves a licence to cook the With-Profits books any way they like as of 1 October 2017 - that is if they manage to bamboozle the High Court and PRA and FCA into approving it. Should existing policyholders just sit back and watch and not worry our pretty little heads?
    With-profits policies have always been opaque. Most people use more transparent options when making investments these days. How did you evaluate your W-P policies in the past? Are you actually losing material protections here?

    If you're adversely affected by the carrying out of the Scheme you can raise an objection which will go to the courts, the IE, FCA and PRA and you have a right to make an objection or representations in court.
    Last edited by bowlhead99; 18-05-2017 at 3:03 PM.
    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 18th May 17, 11:30 PM
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    Hello bowlhead99
    Still somehow attracted to this thread I see. Yes metadata on website publications are an interesting art in either highlighting or obfuscating messages as response to enquiry, aren't they? It is often a question of timing and reverse-engineered chronology. It sometimes employs the same sort of thinking as Cherry-Picking perhaps?

    Fact is the W-P Actuary and the CFA published URL's for the document library which didn't work when I started this thread and have only been redirected retrospectively in both the and case.

    But we are getting away from the real question here.

    What do you know about with-profits insurance company business?
    I'm interested in whether you regurgitate what others have said about it, or whether you have formed opinion from any longer term experience as a seller or as a buyer?
    You seem quite adept at cherry-picking original quotes from posters like me and standing them up and knocking them down. Are you a trained journalist perhaps? Not an ex. sub-editor I think because your posts are sometimes as long as mine, but maybe a kind of spin doctor?

    You reckon you can read this stuff. So what's your take on how many £billions Aviva actually control in total under their management?

    And how many £billions are affected by this latest "change to our business"?

    You say you were trying to help. So how many investment plan/policyholders altogether ? How many of those are pension policyholders? How many of each in W-P funds?

    How much of the W-P Funds is now designated as "Non-Profit" - can you explain that?

    I'd like to get to the bottom of how important these funds are to Aviva's business.

    That's because I believe they are super important - probably core, and that Aviva have systematically been effectively stripping out as much value as they can by redefining it as theirs to control and to own as opposed to policyholders, and dumping risk back on the policyholders, turning an opaque but once trusted cautious and reliable investment into a more opaque more volatile investment, and deliberately.

    I am reading between the lines of all the documentation I have dipped into and taking it as a strong indication they want to give the stripped out capital to shareholders.

    I believe they have no right to do this and that's why they apply to the High Court periodically to give them the right using "rationalisation post takeover" as an over-used excuse. Courts apparently fall for it every time. The court is being told it is something else other than customer asset stripping - simply a logical business rationalisation following a take over, no customer harm intended. And you seem to believe it.

    Why do you think they are in such a rush right now? Is it someyjing I've said, or something their CEO Mark Wilson said a number of weeks ago?

    As both a Friends Life and Aviva policyholder who clearly exhibits an above average interest in what is going on and has the ability to get people like you trying to rubbish my concerns for some reason, why do you think I only knew of the 2001 Scheme and of the 2009 scheme and knew nothing about the other past schemes mentioned?

    I have so far become entitled to approx. ten times the bribes I was offered and refused in both the 2001 and the 2009 schemes. Do you think that is just a lucky twist for the approx 1 in 8 naysaying or stick-in-the-mud customers like me in the funds which are now being completely reorganised again? Can I expect more special distributions on the five year anniversaries of the 2001 and 2009 reattributions? Or less? I am already getting less than I should because in early 2015 Aviva should not have announced that the distribution was effectively postponed and converted into 9% non-guaranteed annually reviewable extra final bonus. Where did their authority to do that come from? They dreamed it up. Who said it is allowed?

    Why are their so many "sub-funds" and funds which are added and taken away? Why is my investment co-mingled with so many others that were sold differently or not sold at all but are some kind of reinsurance spiral no-one but insiders understands?

    I thought co-mingling of insurance intermediary funds was outlawed decades ago? What are Aviva Investors if not glorified in-house intermediaries given an uncompetitive "in" to Aviva customers' Fund Management business. So uncompetitive in fact that in 2015 it was discovered they had got bored with just doing their job and decided to start fraudulently cooking the books, costing them a 17 Lamborghini sized fine, poor darlings, and the inconvenience of having to tap up their mates to reverse engineer the books to make it look like they had also given back £132 million to eight still unnamed funds.

    Now that the scams that were labelled reattribution are known to be exactly that, don't you think the 7 out of 8 customers that were persuaded to take those bribes in 2001 and 2009 should now be given the 900% extra that was denied them when they were missold the 2001 and 2009 schemes of reattribution? It'd only require the reversal of a few reorganisational changes, and maybe a disappointment from Mark Wilson's shareholders because the promised windfall return of capital" might not materialise, but hey, Aviva shareholders are speculators, aren't they? They'll live.

    Policyholders will never receive that missing reattributed money unless an Ombudsman or a court rules it, will they? If Aviva are so intent on changes to their business and fairness to policyholders, why not include an amendment that reattributes the scammed away inherited estate back to policyholders?

    Or do you actually think that this company should be allowed to practice more of the same bamboozlement, this time devoid even of "windfall" type bribes?
    Last edited by agarnett; 19-05-2017 at 12:15 AM.
    • vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
    • By vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv 18th May 17, 11:42 PM
    • 911 Posts
    • 1,396 Thanks

    These bribes you mention in 2001/2009.I have a section 32 transferred wrongly from a DB pension in 1991.I cant remember being offered any bribes.Have i missed out?
    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 19th May 17, 12:34 AM
    • 1,282 Posts
    • 536 Thanks

    These bribes you mention in 2001/2009.I have a section 32 transferred wrongly from a DB pension in 1991.I cant remember being offered any bribes.Have i missed out?
    Originally posted by vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
    Depends which W-P fund you were in originally - if indeed it is a W-P fund, but the older it is and the more cautious an investor you were, and if you haven't changed it yourself, the more likely it is it's W-P I would think.

    Aviva and the companies and brands they have mopped up over the years have changed the names of their companies so many times, and the fund names also.
    If you have been getting letters from Aviva rather than Friends Life in recent years then this sheet may help you decide whether you are involved: ... that's actually one of the documents in the library bowlhead99 linked to again today, so thank you to bowlhead. My guess from what you've said is that it was an NU policy pre-2000 which you'll find in the bottom blue band on the linked library sheet. The bribes for voting 'Yes' were for the ones in the top blue band on the same sheet.

    If you are with Friends Life side of the business then the various W-P funds there can be found listed at:

    The 2001 bribe was an AXA Sun Life Equity & Law bribe I believe, but I am not sure how many other names fell under that umbrella by then. That's the side of the business that loosely forms the Friends Life side of Aviva now. I have policies that fitted that bill. The gains I got in 2006, 2011 and 2016 have already amounted to around 17x the bribe I refused in 2001.

    The 2009 bribe was offered by Aviva to what were at that point known by insiders as CGNU Life and CULAC customers.

    CGNU was a name Aviva used briefly after merging Commercial Union, General Accident and Norwich Union but before coming up with the strange name Aviva which indicated to me that in the UK at least they were happy for the Commercial Union , General Accident and Norwich Union brands to be forgotten by the public. Why would you ever want your existing customers to wonder why the old big and trusted brandnames were now so worthless?
    CULAC was short for Commercial Union Life Assurance Company.

    I have a policy that was originally written by Norwich Union which by 2009 was part of CGNU Life.

    You might not have qualified for the bribes I mentioned but you can see that they were significant scams by the numbers I mentioned. However, if your Section 32 policy is a 'With-Profits' policy (those words should be clear in the schedule) then you are almost certain to be affected by this latest "Scheme".

    Whatever you do, don't fall for any excitement that Aviva are offering you cash windfalls to agree to the change. That's a spent scam idea now I think. They've long sinced realised they don't even have to grease the wheels and the courts and policy holders will just wave any old smallprint through! This time it looks like they are proceeding with big changes that amount to the same sorts of heist as the ones they bribed previously, but simply without the hassle of organising collection of "votes" and issuance of bribes for "yes" votes.

    So if you never got offered a bribe previously, perhaps you are lucky because 7 out of 8 policyholders grab it without knowing what they are really doing. Above you can read how a refused bribe offer in 2001 has so far resulted in my policy receiving 17 x that amount extra (and still counting)! So unless you would have refused a bribe, but had instead made the mistake of taking it, or if your Section 32 was in fact still controlled by trustees of your pension scheme (I don't know if that is possible) and they made the mistake of accepting the bribe for all the policies, then you've not missed out, just gained a lot more than the poor souls who got scammed, or worse, the poor souls whose trustees got bamboozled into aiding and abetting the scam!

    No, right now, I feel Aviva are being as blatant and arrogant as the Tories with their manifesto - they are banking on insufficient nouse in their public to realise exactly what they are up to, or to complain even if they do have a feeling it ain't right. And the regulators? Don't make us laugh.

    We are such an apathetic lot in the UK. Look at the complete lack of interest in this thread by the so-called regulars in the pensions forum who hate biting the hand that feeds them - with information and co-operation and recognition of their "status". It used to be insurance company commission they got fed, and thousands still do receive annual commission on our policies sold years ago. Every little helps ... them of course, not us! Now they regularly get fed guidance notes for financial advisers i.e. propaganda. Friends Life even owned one of the biggest Financial Adviser networks called Sesame (just Google Sesame Friends Life for a bit of the low down on that ...)

    Oh and surprise surprise, when browsing the Friends Life site just now, I saw reference to the "2013 Scheme" about which I know nothing. So I tried clicking the links. They don't work for me ... anyone? Deliberately crippled perhaps to avoid prying eyes at this sensitive time? Call me an old cynic if you like.

    Yes still readingand Googling to pry open what they've been up to without telling me ... next is this one ... So that special bonus I told you about (the 17x the refused bribe?) I see they changed the way they calculated it in the so called 2013 Scheme which I still haven't seen detail of. But I see there was a 2012 Scheme also. Dontcha just love it ... they just make it up as they go along.

    My Friends Life special "up yours AXA" bonuses which at the 2006 / 2011 / 2016 attachment dates respectively represented added amounts of approx 2x / 11x / 4x the original bribe, clearly were substantial in 2011 despite having gone through the financial crisis of 2008-10. Why did that special bonus go down so much again in 2016? The 2013 Scheme changed the basis for it, so that's something else that we clearly needs the drains up on.
    Last edited by agarnett; 19-05-2017 at 2:04 AM.
    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 19th May 17, 2:21 AM
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    I could Google this stuff all night and all week and still only scratch the surface ... it's the stuff they don't link to themselves which exposes their true motive.

    This is how they really think:

    Note how they know policyholders don't have a clue, and how they covet distributions of "estate" which in my case as someone who said up yours AXA to the 2001 bribe, belongs 90% to me not them.

    And look whose name is in the middle of the presentation list and who has now written a report on the "2017 Scheme" that a court is supposed to accept as impartial ... Grrrr
    • ex-pat scot
    • By ex-pat scot 19th May 17, 10:21 AM
    • 237 Posts
    • 271 Thanks
    ex-pat scot
    In simple terms:

    The "inherited estate" is the surplus assets built up over hundreds of years from the many legacy life companies that have consolidated into the giants Pru and Aviva today.
    Legally, 90% of the surplus belongs to poliyholders, and 10% to the shareholder.
    There are two separate incentives (and processes) on what is going on with the WP funds at present:
    1. consolidating the many legacy separate WP subfunds in to a small number of larger funds.
    2. crystallising the surplus for both policyholder and shareholder, where the policyholder agrees.

    The driver behind no 1 is primarily efficiency. It is much simpler to deal with one large WP fund than many smaller ones.
    The driver behind no 2 is Solvency II regulation. This requires insurers to hold an amount of capital buffer for each type of business it holds, and is particularly onerous for life companies.
    In order to be able to demonstrate sufficient capital on the balance sheet, it is therefore desirable to be able to look at all areas of the business and identify possible sources that can be classified as capital.
    The surplus in the WP funds cannot be classified as capital, even though 10% of it can be attributed to the company. Therefore it is desirable to the company to crystallise the surplus, distribute the 90% to policyholders, and then identify the 10% as capital allowable for the Solvency II calculations.

    The timing of the crystallisation exercises coincided with turbulent stockmarket events: unfortunate but hard to control, given the process takes several years. The AXA distribution was 2001 I think, and the Aviva one 2009. Both marked difficult stock market times, from which the markets have rebounded and hence the uplift in value of what you were offered then, versus value now.

    I make no comment on conspiracy, cockups, arrogance and anything else above.
    • vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
    • By vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv 19th May 17, 10:29 AM
    • 911 Posts
    • 1,396 Thanks

    The policy says "PS Section 32 With Profits Conventional"

    P.S. what do these mean?

    SCON-Aviva SCON-S2720007F Ex-Scheme-S4005670K

    Last edited by vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv; 19-05-2017 at 10:56 AM.
    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 19th May 17, 11:08 AM
    • 1,282 Posts
    • 536 Thanks

    The policy says "PS Section 32 With Profits Conventional"
    Originally posted by vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
    Looks like ex-pat scot is no longer pleasuring himself over this thread - instead he's actually explaining a bit of stuff although with spin.

    He can probably quickly tell you straight off the top of his head what the PS means and which fund your 1991 policy is mostly likely to be in. Over to you ex-pat scot on that one.

    2. crystallising the surplus for both policyholder and shareholder, where the policyholder agrees.
    by ex-pat scot
    That's very very spun and mealy-mouthed, ex-pat scot. The two highlighted bits are not what Aviva is trying to achieve at all. They are trying to release inherited estate without having to share it out 90% to policyholders. They are continually manoeuvring to extract estate 100% for themselves and none to policyholders, much of it by co-mingling of interests and then de-co-mingling and redefining in the next scheme and the next and the next. In out in out shake it all about. In that link I gave you, and maybe you were even one of the authors of the presentation since it seems to have sparked your interest(?), one of the two main actuarial observations was that policyholders do not understand with-profits. There was nothing in the presentation about putting that right. There wouldn't be - it is all part of a W-P actuarial destroyer's tactics and they don't just lay down the smoke individually do they? How many actuaries does it take to push through a Part VII Transfer scheme offensive past PRA?:

    Last edited by agarnett; 19-05-2017 at 11:21 AM.
    • greenglide
    • By greenglide 19th May 17, 1:56 PM
    • 3,068 Posts
    • 1,992 Thanks
    SCON-Aviva SCON-S2720007F Ex-Scheme-S4005670K

    These are the reference numbers that HMRC know the contracted out scheme by. SCON is "Scheme Contracted Out Number" and ECON is "Employer Contracting Out Number".

    These are only relevant to Contracted Out schemes. See or
    Last edited by greenglide; 19-05-2017 at 1:58 PM. Reason: typo
    • agarnett
    • By agarnett 20th May 17, 9:31 AM
    • 1,282 Posts
    • 536 Thanks
    Let's face it, if Aviva themselves can't immediately tell you what W-P Sub-fund you are in on their customer service line 0800 953 1777, then something is wrong.
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