You may remember that in years gone by, our politicians did actually talk about matters other than Brexit!
For example, in 2015, the coalition government as it was back then, introduced legislation referred to as ‘pension freedoms’.
A reminder about pension freedoms
Two key elements to this legislation were flexible access to pensions from age 55 (prompting lots of concerned headlines that people would use the money to buy Lamborghinis) and the need for clients to take regulated financial advice when transferring what are called ‘safeguarded pension benefits’ with values in excess of £30,000.
Safeguarded pension benefits include final salary and defined benefit pensions, as well pensions with what are called Guaranteed Annuity Rates (ask your adviser next time you meet, if you are unsure).
These freedoms have undoubtedly made pensions more relevant in terms of financial planning, but with this rediscovered relevance has come greater complexity.
This complexity, combined with some alarming headlines around pensions mis-selling scandals such as the British Steel scheme members in 2018 (the IFAs involved being described by a national newspaper at the time as ‘vultures’), has helped to make the process of seeking professional pension transfer advice all the more challenging for some clients.
This is where Sutherland Independent come into it, and in particular The Pension Transfer Gold Standard which sits proudly beside our company name.
Not so much vultures – perhaps thinks of us more as wise owls?!
What is The Pension Transfer Gold Standard?
The Pension Transfer Gold Standard is a voluntary code of good conduct as part of an industry-backed initiative from the Personal Finance Society (PFS).
It is earned by those IFA firms that demonstrate how they go above and beyond the current legal and regulatory requirements when giving clients financial advice on pension transfers.
According to the PFS, those firms with the Gold Standard will:
- Help clients understand the wider impact of transferring their pensions before they decide whether or not to take advice. (Look before you leap we say!)
- Provide advice that supports the clients’ financial wellbeing – achieved by meeting their agreed objectives, needs and wants. (It’s all about you!)
- Use appropriately qualified skills when advising clients. (We are brighter than we look!)
- Only recommended mainstream investments from regulated companies. (Nothing weird and wonderful from us).
- Explain clearly what costs the client would incur for such advice and at what point in the process. (Worth every penny – we are sure you’ll agree).
- Highlight any conflict of interest when giving advice. (We’ve got your back!)
- Give examples of previous client pension transfer experiences. (We can talk for as long as you want on our client success stories!)
We are all really proud to have earned The Pension Transfer Gold Standard, because it is recognition of our continued hard work, quality of advice and company culture – which is so important to us.
We hope this enables you to better understand what good advice on what to do with your pension looks like, and gives you confidence in us as pension transfer providers.
Hopefully it also helps you to understand what to look out for when seeking trusted, impartial advice around pension transfers.