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Friday, 17 August 2018 12:35
Pensions administration firm Trafalgar House has been appointment to the ITN Limited Pension Scheme.
Thursday, 16 August 2018 12:52
There was an interesting report from CoreData Research issued recently that showed full self invested pension schemes (SIPPs) have risen to the top of the wish list for advisers on platforms.
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 11:49
Over the last few weeks I’ve had a much higher than usual number of ‘interesting’ transfer out requests land on my desk.
Tuesday, 14 August 2018 16:05
The launch of a new FCA and TPR campaign to boost awareness of pensions scams has been welcomed by the profession.
Friday, 10 August 2018 11:32
SSAS veteran EBS Pensions has reported an 18% increase in client numbers to 16,600 and a significant increase in profitability in 2017 under new owners the Embark Group.
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Pensions administration firm Trafalgar House has been appointment to the ITN Limited Pension Scheme.

There was an interesting report from CoreData Research issued recently that showed full self invested pension schemes (SIPPs) have risen to the top of the wish list for advisers on platforms.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a much higher than usual number of ‘interesting’ transfer out requests land on my desk. Maybe it’s the hot weather getting to people, but it’s curious how these things seem to be like buses – nothing for ages then all at once.

Transfers out to unknown schemes can cause providers a lot of headaches, and we’re largely in a no-win situation. There’s a lot of extra work to be done and at the end of it we either end up losing a customer or having one who’s a bit annoyed at having to stay put.

The recent Ombudsman ruling, Mr N v The Police Pension Scheme, shows the importance of completing appropriate due diligence for the transferring scheme – and the harsh consequences of getting it wrong (the scheme has been ordered to reinstate the member’s accrued benefits).



The most common type of “unknown” scheme we get requests to transfer to, are SSAS. A transfer to a scheme with a known SSAS provider involved can be fairly straightforward, but there are many DIY schemes with no other parties taking responsibilities. In most cases the individual hasn’t just taken it upon themselves to open a SSAS, there’s someone in the back ground recommending the course of action. Now this could be for legitimate planning purposes, or for something less above board.

We also get cases where our gut feel isn’t necessarily that someone is trying to pull a fast one on the client, but rather there’s just a handful of people involved who don’t understand pensions, so there’s a high risk of the scheme inadvertently falling foul of HMRC rules. On one of our recent cases we had two parties both saying the other was the Scheme Administrator, and denying it was them – which begs the question who’s reporting anything to HMRC?

As well as looking at the scheme and any other parties involved in the transfer request, it’s also important to look at the member’s history. Anyone washing funds in and out of a pension in a short space of time can be a red flag unless there is good cause.

The Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) have recently updated their Code of Good Practice, which gives some great pointers as to what providers should be looking for and questions to ask.

If you are advising on a transfer to a less well known scheme then you should be prepared for a few extra questions, and plan time in for the provider to complete their checks. On the plus side, the fact that there’s an FCA regulated adviser advising will add weight to the case for transfer.

Lisa Webster is technical resources consultant at AJ Bell
The launch of a new FCA and TPR campaign to boost awareness of pensions scams has been welcomed by the profession.

SSAS veteran EBS Pensions has reported an 18% increase in client numbers to 16,600 and a significant increase in profitability in 2017 under new owners the Embark Group.

The use of the wrong platform to launch a petition against scrapping the pensions dashboard mean that the issue will not be debated in Parliament, despite surpassing 100,000 signatures.
 
The petition, which has so far reached 130,768 signatures, was set up on the 38 Degrees website, but to qualify for Parliamentary time petitions must be created on the official petition.parliament.uk website.

Aegon has slammed the process as “smacking of Yes, Minister bureaucracy.”
 
The petition calls on Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, to keep to previous Government pronouncements and to follow through with delivery of the pensions dashboard.
 


Normally once a petition reaches 100,000 signatures it is considered for debate in Parliament, but only if petitions filed use the Government’s petition service.
 
Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “It’s ridiculous in this digital age that the Government insists on people using its own petition service to get something debated in Parliament, and smacks of Yes, Minister bureaucracy.

“The pensions dashboard is an important consumer-facing initiative and one that is backed not only by the pension industry but by many others.

“The fact that over 130,000 people have signed the petition in a matter of weeks shows people’s passion for the pensions dashboard and has generated welcome publicity.

“The Government needs to acknowledge this and debate the issue in Parliament.”
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