Our Process

Pension transfer bureau

THE ADVICE STAGES

The FCA brought in changes in October 2020, to the way in which regulated firms, such as Grove, could charge for our services when providing Defined Benefit (DB) pension transfer advice.

The rules now stipulate that if we are going to provide Full Advice, where we carry out a full and complete analysis of an individual’s pension and personal circumstances, then we must charge them a fee, whether they go ahead with transferring their pension or not.

The good news is, we can still complete the initial part of our advice stages, both Triage and Abridged Advice, for free.

This means we can get an individual to a significant point in knowing if a pension transfer might be suitable for them or not.

As we all know, DB pension transfers are only suitable for a limited number of people and circumstances, given this fact, the even better news is that our Abridged Advice service can tell a client, with absolute certainty, when transferring their pension is definitely not suitable for them; and they can still find this out without it costing them anything.

It is only in those other circumstances when it isn’t clear if transferring their pension would be suitable, that in order to find out for sure, they would need to proceed to Full Advice and therefore a fee would apply.

  1. Triage – This is a free service.
  2. Abridged Advice – This is also a free.
  3. Full Advice – For this final stage of our advice service there will be a charge, whether a pension transfer is completed or not.

THE PROCESS

The main stages of the process are as follows:

1. INFORMATION GATHERING

This is one of the longest stages

WORKPLACE PENSION SCHEME (WPS)

Investigating these is an FCA requirement

Once you have provided us with a completed New Business Pack, including your clients signed Enquiry Form (Letter of Authority), we then contact their pension provider requesting any outstanding information, including confirmation of escalation and revaluation rates etc.

At the same time, we also request information about the clients most recent WPS. This may be required later in the process, because if a transfer is to be investigated, the WPS must be considered as an option and can only be discounted if an alternative destination is better.

2. TRIAGE

This is a free service

The first stage in helping the client to understand about their pension options

At the same time as we are writing to their pension schemes (including WPS), we will send the client generic educational information about the risks of transferring a DB pension scheme and points that need to be taken into consideration.

Our advisers are available if they have any questions.

3. FACT FINDING

An opportunity for the client to discuss what they want, their attitude to risk and other personal information.

Having read through the Triage information, the client will need to confirm their understanding in order to proceed.

Once confirmed, this is when we arrange a telephone call with them to complete the fact-find and establish more details.

4. ABRIDGED ADVICE

This is a free service

We can provide a significant amount of information to help clients make an informed decision before committing to paying our fee.

Unlike Triage advice, at this stage we will have received back most of the information we need from the pension provider so we can give more detailed advice specific to the client and their pension.

The outcome of this advice can either be transferring their pension is not advisable or, we are unable to ascertain suitability and can only do so by proceeding to the next stage of Full Advice.

5. CLIENT APPROVAL IS REQUIRED

Clients are under no obligation to go any further and will not incur any fees if they stop here.

Following receipt of our Abridged Advice report and having discussed this with their adviser, if a client wishes to progress to the next stage of Full Advice, they will need to give us their written consent and confirm again, their understanding so far.

All clients will have as much time as they need to discuss their case with their adviser and make sure they fully understand their options and potential outcome if they proceed to the next stage.

6. FULL ADVICE

This service is subject to a fee

Any analysis carried out must include the option of transferring into the clients WPS.

This can only be discounted if the alternative option is considered better. We have a tried and tested preferred provider list to help with this process.

Once we have received the clients written consent, we will proceed to carrying out a full analysis of their case, including the potential option of transferring into their most recent WPS.

Their adviser will analyse all this information and settle upon a final and definitive recommendation, at which point they will arrange a telephone call with the client to discuss their recommendation and answer any questions they have.

7. FINAL RECOMMENDATION

Helping the client to make an informed decision and being in possession of all the facts.

If the client does not proceed with a transfer, we still must charge for our service

We send you a full report, written in plain, easy to understand English, which will set out our final recommendation, including all relevant paperwork needed if a transfer is to proceed.

If the client does not proceed with a transfer, we then write to them requesting settlement of our fee.

8. PROCEEDING WITH A PENSION TRANSFER

Transfers take, on average, 8 to 12 weeks to complete.

Having sent back the completed application forms, we then request the transfer of the ceding pension scheme into the new arrangement.

This is a very slow part of the process; however, we will keep you and the client regularly updated with our progress; just bear in mind this is largely out of our control and dependent on the efficiency of the administrators of the old scheme.

9. AGENCY TRANSFERRED BACK TO YOU

The client fee can usually be settled directly from their pension fund once the transfer has been completed.

Upon completion of the transfer and once our fee has been settled, if you are providing on-going advice the agency will automatically be switched back to you.