More than 600 firms sign up to PFS’s gold standard for DB transfers

Tom Ellis reports...

The Personal Finance Society (PFS) backed pension transfer gold standard has seen more than 600 advice firms sign up to it since it was unveiled at the beginning of April.

The Pensions Advice Taskforce, which has the backing of the PFS, launched the standard alongside a consumer guide to help people better understand what to expect from regulated defined benefit (DB) transfer advice.

The guide, linked to an adviser code, is based on nine principles underpinning good practice when giving pension transfer advice. Advisers who adopt the code are required to display the Gold Standard badge.

The standard and guide were the result of a cross-sector collaboration between financial advisers, professional indemnity insurers, consumer bodies and scheme trustees.

Paul Freeman, senior underwriter at professional indemnity insurer Liberty Speciality said having the gold standard would make firms more viable to insure.

“We would know exactly how you are acting and what principles you are working to,” he said. “Realistically, everything I’ve seen in the standard you should be doing anyway, so it shouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world to achieve.”

Code’s nine principles

The nine principles incorporated in the code of good practice for those advising on pension transfers are:

  1. Helping clients understand when advice is appropriate
  2. Ensuring advice given supports the client’s overall wellbeing in the context of their stated objectives
  3. Ensuring client understanding and acceptance of all charges
  4. Ensuring the most appropriate and updated technical skills are applied
  5. Transparent management of conflicts of interest
  6. Helping clients understanding the cost of transferring benefits
  7. Avoiding unregulated investments and introducers
  8. Transparency in advice processes and outcomes
  9. Promoting the Consumer Guide to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard

Chair of the Pension Advice Taskforce and PFS chief executive Keith Richards (pictured) said: “The overwhelming response to and support of the Gold Standard represents the professionalism of the majority who are passionate about their profession, but who also recognise we need to be more united behind the best outcomes for the public – not just the clients who already trust us.”