Cofunds to review 'provider speak' letter after criticism

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Cofunds is planning to review the language of a client letter after an adviser slammed its 'provider speak'.

The platform confirmed it is looking into the concerns of Financial Management financial planner Amyr Rocha-Lima (pictured), who was approached by a client who had discovered their contributions into their account had stopped.

When he investigated, he traced the decision back to a Cofunds letter telling the client it was no longer supporting a number of Aberdeen funds.

The letter clearly stated the funds were closed to new investment. However, Rocha-Lima has argued the obscure reference to mandates being reduced did not adequately inform the client their contribution would be stopped altogether.

He said: “This letter is written in ‘provider speak’ – communicating in such a way that the general public has no idea what you are talking about.

“I say this because this letter resulted in Cofunds stopping the client’s direct debit contributions into the ISA wrapper. This could have easily been allocated into the cash reserve until such time as a decision was made about the investment. This would avoid the client missing out on using their ISA allowance.”

Cofunds marketing head Stephen Wynne-Jones said the firm has a policy of never second-guessing what an adviser and his or her client wants, and for this reason it would not have been possible to continue contributions without express permission. 

But he added: "I have looked at the letter and I would agree it is not particularly well-written."

He said Cofunds spends "a lot of time" ensuring letters are simple to understand: "We are going to review it. This letter could be better, and we will be looking at ways to improve it."

Complex regulation makes it more of a challenge to explain changes in simple terms, he said. 

The Cofunds letter outlines changes to the Aberdeen funds and continues: “You currently have a regular investment into one or more of these funds within an ISA, Junior ISA or Investment Funds product. The last time that these funds will be included in your regular investment is 25 July 2013. Any mandates containing these funds on 2 August 2013 will be reduced by the amount investing into these funds.”

It suggests the client may wish to update their investment, and if unsure, to contact their financial adviser.

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