In light of the increasing demand and proposed changes to rules that will make pension transfer advice more rigorous, Old Mutual Wealth is partnering with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to launch a new defined benefit to defined contribution transfer training programme.
The demand for pension transfer valuations continues to grow and transfer evaluation queries to Old Mutual Wealth have doubled since last August. Advising on transfers is challenging and advisers need to keep their training up to date to be well-equipped to deal with this increasing demand.
In its recent consultation, the FCA proposed a range of new measures to ensure regulation around the pension transfer market is modernised so that consumers make better informed decisions. These measures include a change to the starting assumption when advising on a transfer and an obligation to provide pension transfer customers with a personal recommendation. In its response to the FCA consultation, which closes on September 21, Old Mutual Wealth has agreed to both proposals.
The regulator has suggested a slight amendment to the starting assumption for a pension transfer. At the moment the starting assumption is a transfer is unsuitable and the FCA is considering changing this to state that for most people retaining safeguarded benefits will likely be in the customer’s best interests. Old Mutual Wealth agrees with this proposal and thinks the modification will bring the assumption more in line with the current market.
The FCA has also proposed a new requirement that all transfer customers must receive a personal recommendation. In its response Old Mutual Wealth agreed and noted there is significant risk to consumers if advice does not take into account the individual’s personal circumstances.
To help pension transfer authorised advisers cope with the increasing demand in the face of these requirements, Old Mutual Wealth and the CII are providing training aimed at pension transfer specialists that will help them manage the risks within their DB transfer advice processes.
The CII training covers best practice steps for a robust DB to DC transfer process. The programme is a series of training events which starts on 2 October 2017.
Scott Goodsir, managing director of UK distribution at Old Mutual Wealth, comments:
“Pension transfers have fast become a mainstream topic for consumers and current market practices are under review by the regulator. This is an area where the help of a financial adviser is absolutely invaluable, as people need high quality and suitable advice, not just for today, but for their long-term future.
“We are launching the new training programme with the CII to ensure specialist advisers have the best possible knowledge and experience to feel confident and secure in the advice they are giving.”
Keith Richards, CEO of the Personal Finance Society and Managing Director of Engagement, CII, says:
“Proposed clearer rules on advice requirements from the FCA are a welcome step in the right direction in addressing the increasingly complex issue of pension transfers, as well as ensuring firms can clearly demonstrate they have acted on the specific needs and overall circumstances of each client.
‘With this in mind, we are delighted to be working with Old Mutual Wealth in the delivery of this new good practice programme, one that we are sure advisers will welcome as they strive to meet the growing demand for advice in this area and the consistent delivery of good client outcomes in line with regulatory and consumer expectations.”