Life and Pension firms improving says Sesame

Joining the specialist provider at the top of the table are Legal & General, which moved up one place to second position, and Standard Life - up two places to third. Skandia dropped from second to fourth and Norwich Union moved into fifth position from eighth.

There was also movement at the bottom of the table with Scottish Provident dropping two spots to bring up the rear in 21st place, while AXA climbs one place to come in 20th. Canada Life was the main upward mover at the bottom of the table, gaining three places to come 17th.

Taking into account the positive and negative movements in index scores, the encouraging news is that overall there was a net increase, with more companies improving their scores than not.

Meanwhile, when advisers were asked to assess the current level of service offered by the provider sector as a whole, the general consensus was that the improvements reported by Sesame earlier this year have been maintained, with 36 per cent of respondents scoring overall service as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ ,compared to 37 per cent last time.

However, whilst there has been an improving trend in provider service over the last three years, there is still scope for further improvement, with one in five advisers (20 per cent) scoring service as ‘unacceptable’ or ‘totally unacceptable’ and 44 per cent scoring service as ‘neither good nor bad’.

Stephen Young, sales and marketing director at Sesame says of the findings: “Sesame’s Provider Service Index enables us to harness advisers’ views, and delivers the insight we need to work constructively with life and pension providers in order to drive up service standards for our members. Our latest research into product provider service demonstrates progress is being made, but we need to be mindful of changing trends - such as industry consolidation - which could potentially damage service levels for advisers and their clients in the future.

“Product providers have reacted positively to our analysis and we are beginning to see the benefits of this work filter through to the front line. Whilst the results will be disappointing for some providers, we have been pleased to see significant investments being made that we hope will translate into future service improvements. Likewise, new innovations such as dedicated service teams are enhancing the service experience for Sesame members. Provider service remains one of the key challenges for advisers on a day-to-day basis, which is why it is in our profession’s interests to ensure it remains high on the industry’s agenda.”