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What is the Pension Transfer Gold Standard?
The Pension Gold Standard is a voluntary code of good conduct for financial advisors. It was set up by the Pensions Advice Taskforce* to make sure people receive ethical and professional advice for Final Salary Pension Transfers.
Whilst it is a regulatory requirement that all financial advisors pay due regard to the interests of their clients, and treat them fairly, The Gold Standard defines 9 core principles that a financial advisor must stick to.
What this means is that The Gold Standard enables you to find an advisor with your best interests at heart, who operates in an ethical and professional way, above and beyond what is usually expected from them, when assessing your pension transfer options.
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We believe financial advice should be 100% bespoke and centred around your personal wealth goals.
We also believe that you should work with a financial advisor that cares as much about your financial freedom as you do. And that’s our promise; to form a partnership where our ultimate mission is to help you achieve your future aspirations, through simple actions today.
From our base on the beautiful south coast, we are able to support clients from across Hampshire, including Romsey, the New Forest and Winchester. While our clients come from all walks of life, they all share one core goal: to enjoy the freedom and joy of a stress-free retirement.
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The Pension Transfer Gold Standard Consumer Guide
The Pension Transfer Gold Standard Consumer Guide helps you understand what to look for when choosing a financial advisor.
It helps you recognise good practice and ethical and professional standards when choosing a pension transfer specialist.
It outlines 9 core principles that Gold Standard financial advisors adhere to.
Holding ourselves to the highest standards because you deserve better.
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1. Help clients understand when advice is appropriate
Getting you informed. That is the purpose of principle one. It’s an educational process. Giving everyone the opportunity to receive good impartial financial advice.
A Gold Standard Adviser will make available to you, and help you read, generic impartial information on pension transfers ‘in general’. The goal? To protect you. From seeking and paying for financial advice when a pension transfer would never have been in your best interest. It saves you time. And money.
2. Ensure advice given supports the clients overall financial wellbeing in the context of their stated objectives
The adviser’s role is to get you to focus, not just on the large pot of money you could be receiving, but on your life goals:
e.g. What do you want to achieve in retirement? What do you want your life to look like? We’re not just talking about money. We’re talking about lifestyle. Maybe you want to spend more time in the allotment? Go on an annual cruise? Undertake a house build? Travel the world? Everyone is different.
A financial advisor can’t recommend a pension transfer if they don’t understand the person. As soon as you can clearly state your objectives (soft facts), your financial advisor can link those life goals to your pension pot (hard facts), and see if a transfer is the right option for you.
3. Ensure client understanding and acceptance of all charges
Getting you to understand the costs. It is a regulatory requirement that charges should be clear, transparent and unambiguous. Which means they should be a focal point. Page 1. Headline news.
There are many types of charges. It is vitally important you understand them all. There could be charges for advice. There could be ongoing annual charges involved with pension management. You could be paying a one-off upfront fee. You must know what you are paying for. And you must be given true costs. Often charges are written as a % of something. You want to see actual figures.
4. Ensure the most appropriate and updated technical skills are applied
Getting you highly qualified advice. Principle 4 sets out the qualifications and on-going professional development that a Gold Standard advisor must have. Your financial advisor must have appropriate qualifications. They must continue to do ongoing CPD in this area to maintain their standards and their knowledge. In short. They need to keep up-to-date.
5. Transparent management of Conflicts of Interest
Getting it all out in the open. A simplistic example of a conflict of interest would be if a firm had sales targets or bonus structures. The example given on the Pension Transfer Specialist website is – where a contingent charging model is used (where the fee for the advice to transfer is recovered via the fee to facilitate the transfer).
In layman’s terms, you need to be sure that a financial advisor isn’t doing something just for the money when it’s not in the best interests of the client.
A Gold Standard firm will identify any conflicts of interests (including any caused by charging structures), and how these are mitigated and/ or remedied.
6. Help clients understand the cost of transferring benefits
Getting you to be clear. On what you are giving up. Because a pension of £20k per year in retirement (with no risk that goes up with inflation), looks tiny in comparison to a £500k lump sum transfer.
But if you wanted to buy a similar guaranteed annual pension income (annuity) it might cost you about £1million.
Suddenly the pension transfer doesn’t look quite so shiny. These are just examples. The point is, when you read your suitability report, and are asked to sign a one-page statement saying ‘I am giving up £XX in exchange for the perceived benefits of a move to a more flexible pension environment’ – that you truly understand what you are giving up. All that glitters isn’t gold.
7. Avoid unregulated investments and introducers
Getting you safe investments. Most people should be investing in mainstream investments with well known reputable investment companies that offer the full protection of the Financial Services Protection Schemes (unless you are a highly experienced, high net worth investor). A Gold Standard firm will not offer unregulated investments or collaborate with introducers.
8. Transparency in advice processes and outcomes
Getting you robust processes. A Gold Standard firm will have clearly defined step-by-step processes. What that means is that they will know how many clients / prospective clients they have spoken to over the last 12 months. Who went on to receive advice. Who went on to take advice. Who transferred. Who did not.
This means you are working with a truly transparent firm. They offer transparent practices which help achieve best outcomes for their clients. They can easily provide information to regulators and professional indemnity insurers.
9. Promote the Consumer Guide to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard
Frequently Asked Questions
The Pension Gold Standard helps to develop trust and transparency. It offers financial advisors a clear set of nine principles to work to that deliver excellent customer outcomes. It helps consumers make informed decisions. It offers everyone a clear framework to work within. It also allows financial advisors to show that they are working to an incredibly high standard of ethical practices.
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Creating and maintaining the right pension strategy plays a vital role in securing your financial future. Whether you are looking to invest for income or growth, we provide quality advice, comprehensive investment solutions and ongoing service to help you achieve your financial goals.
To discover how we can help you build a long-term strategy for your pension, please contact us – we look forward to hearing from you.