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SPECIALIST WARNS ON PENSION TRANSFER ADVICE GAP

  • Pension Advice Specialists focuses on fixed fees and robust independent service
  • Defined benefit transfer service launches for UK and international advisers

 London, 5th June 2018 – New defined benefit pension transfer advice firm Pension Advice Specialists (PAS) is warning that the continuing demand for independent specialist advice in this area is creating an advice gap for clients considering the viability of transferring their scheme benefits.

Estimates* from The Pensions Regulator shows around 100,000 defined benefit (DB) transfers were completed in the year to March 31st compared with around 80,000** in the year to March 31st, 2017 highlighting the growing demand and the need for new transfer specialists, PAS believes.

The new firm www.pensionspecialists.co.uk is aiming to provide a suitability report within 10 working days through its standard service and within 5 working days through its premium service.

It is focusing on growing its business with UK and international advisers looking for robust and independent expert advice on DB transfers following the recent closure or suspension of several transfer firms after heightened regulatory focus on the market and problems securing PI cover. Its expertise includes overseas transfers and advice on QROPs.

All fees are fixed and non-contingent on the advice provided which may be to retain benefits within the scheme. The cost of the full advice service starts from £2,000 and PAS also offers additional services including a TVAS only option. Full details of the services and fees can be found on the website.

PAS Head of Pension Transfer Advice Craig Stokes, who has previously worked at Prudential and LV= as a pension transfer specialist during an 18-year career in financial planning, has developed a detailed process aimed at ensuring advisers and their clients receive the best possible advice.

In addition to considering the viability of a transfer, PAS work closely with the adviser to assess the suitability of the recommended product and funds to ensure they are in line with the client’s attitude to risk.

Craig Stokes said: “We will not recommend a transfer unless it is clear it is in the client’s best interest and it is imperative that clients understand the risks of a transfer.

“In order to advise on the suitability of a personal recommendation we need to work closely with the adviser and have as much information as possible about the client’s circumstances, needs and objectives.

“There is far more demand for DB transfer advice than supply and independent advice needs to be much more readily available for advisers and their clients. Clearly there are currently not enough people out there offering transfer advice in the right way.”

Advisers with clients looking to transfer can request a DB advice pack from PAS including the fact-find, risk questionnaire, scheme information form and adviser recommendation form. Once these have been submitted along with cash equivalent transfer values and terms of business PAS conducts its analysis.

Analysis includes running cashflow modelling, obtaining a transfer value analysis, completing Lifetime Allowance calculations and preparing a suitability report. Only once a client signs a suitability report to confirm their understanding of the risks, will PAS release an FCA compliant certificate of advice.

Advisers need to complete an on-boarding process with PAS before submitting their first case ensuring both sides are happy with the terms of their relationship.