Frequently Asked Questions
We have the answers
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
What are the stages of defined benefit pension transfer advice?
There are three stages to the advice we’ll give you; the first two are completely free, the final Full Advice stage is subject to a fee.
1. Triage – Free
As soon as we receive your completed enquiry form, we’ll send you some generic information about the risks of transferring a defined benefit pension scheme. This service is free and will provide you with some basic information about your pension.
There is a short video you can watch and details that are written in plain, easy to understand English.
This is the first stage of helping you to understand what you’ve got. We have FCA regulated advisers you can speak with if you need to before deciding to proceed to the next stage.
2. Abridged Advice – Free
This stage of our service is also completely free, where we provide more detailed advice specific to you and your pension. We analyse your personal circumstances along with the details of your pension and what you have told us you want to achieve. We’ll send you a detailed report, again written in plain, easy to understand English. Once you’ve received it we will arrange for you to discuss its contents with one of our specialist advisers.
The report will conclude that either transferring your pension is not advisable or, we are unable to ascertain suitability and can only do so by proceeding to Full Advice. You can decide whether you proceed to the next stage or not, if you don’t go any further, then it hasn’t cost you anything for the details you have so far.
3. Full Advice – Paid
For this stage of our advice service there is a charge, whether you decide to go ahead and transfer your pension or not. All the details of our fee will be included in our report, which you will have already had and discussed with the adviser at the previous abridged stage.
Full advice will provide you with a definitive answer as to whether a transfer is suitable for you, and will include, where applicable, detailed additional information and analysis about investment risk and scheme charges.
How long does a defined benefit pension transfer take?
Transferring a defined benefit pension is a very slow process.
Once we have received your enquiry form it can still take your scheme up to three months to provide us with all the information we need. The average time is roughly two months, however, we would need to then establish the data is correct, run it through our compliance department and then talk with you about your options.
If you proceed with a transfer, it usually takes another 2 to 3 months for the money to move across from you old scheme to the new arrangement.
What if i can’t afford to pay for full advice?
There is an option for us to carve-out individuals in serious financial difficulty or serious ill health.
For these individuals, a fee is only paid if a pension transfer goes ahead, in which case our fee can usually be deducted from the pension fund itself.
We will automatically investigate if you are eligible for carve-out at the Abridged Advice stage.
If you receive Full Advice and decide not to proceed with a transfer, assuming you have been eligible for carve-out, you will not have to pay a fee.
If I proceed with full advice, when do I have to pay the fee?
You do not have to pay the fee until the very end of the process has been completed.
In most cases, if a transfer has gone ahead, we would expect to be able to deduct the fee directly from your pension fund, so you won’t have to do anything.
If a transfer hasn’t gone ahead, then at the final stage of closing your file, we will write to you requesting settlement of the fee.
What is the latest I can stop my enquiry without paying a fee?
You can go right the way through, and complete the process right up to us providing you with Abridged Advice. If you decide not to proceed any further, then you will not pay any fee.
This means you will have been able to discuss your case with a fully qualiﬁed and FCA regulated adviser AND received our Abridged Advice report, where the outcome of our recommendation will either be a transfer is not suitable for you or, we are unable to ascertain suitability.
Can I pay the fee out of my pension fund?
If a transfer goes ahead then you can usually pay the fee direct from the pension fund. This has the advantage of it being deducted from a virtually tax-free fund, rather than being paid out of taxed income or savings.
However, If you prefer, you are able to pay us by cheque or via bank transfer, this might be preferable if you are transferring your pension for inheritance tax planning purposes and wish to maximise benefits.
Can I transfer my DB pension without your help?
The short answer is no. If the value of your Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme is £30,000 or above, you have to get advice from a firm who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and that hold special authorisation allowing them to conduct DB pension transfers.
What if your advice is not to transfer but I want to go ahead anyway?
If you decide not to take our advice, in certain circumstances we could still proceed with transferring your pension if you insist. You could always discuss this option with your adviser at the point you are discussing the outcome of the Abridged Advice report.
However, we reserve the right to refuse such a transfer if it is particularly unsuitable.