Help with your pensions – you are in safe hands

You’ve asked to speak with a financial adviser for help with your pensions.

What can you expect when looking for help with your pensions?

When looking for help with your pensions it is important to understand the different types of financial adviser in the UK.  After all, not all financial advisers are the same.  You can learn more about this in our blog ‘Find a pension financial advisor: 6 key questions to ask’ in which we discuss some of the key differences.

Here, at Assured Life Advisers, we are truly independent financial advisers, meaning that we are not restricted with regards to where we can or can’t look when it comes to finding the best pension in the UK for your specific needs.

At Assured Life Advisers, there are no large shareholders behind us, directing us with regards to where we can or can’t place your business, whilst having to bear in mind their pursuit of profit.

Our interests lie with you, our client.

Our clear and transparent charging structure removes our financial interests from your money. Yes, we will charge you a fee for the initial advice when we provide help with your pensions. Once we know what we can do for you, we will explain this in simple terms so that you know with a fair degree of accuracy exactly what the cost of our advice will be.

We will, at the same time, explain what the potential benefits may be to you – both in terms of costs, charges, and potential performance.

Whether we agree to charge you for the initial work in advance, or on the basis that we only charge should you agree to our advice, this will be agreed upfront.

Furthermore, we do not charge for the provision of ongoing advice by default and regardless of whether you need it.  This means that we will strive to deliver the best outcomes for you, irrespective of how much money you may or may not have.

What does this mean?

Let’s say your pension pot is valued at £100,000.  It would not be unusual to find a financial adviser that would help you arrange your plan so that it is the best pension plan in the UK for you.

However, they may also have you agree to them providing you with ongoing financial advice, whilst charging you for the privilege of doing so.

After all, you’ve just paid a four-figure sum to have a highly qualified and professional financial adviser arrange your finances in such a way that they are now tailored to your individual needs.  Why wouldn’t you appoint them to provide ongoing help with your pensions on an ongoing basis if they are only charging you, say 1%.

You could pay £100,000 for a fancy car and wouldn’t flinch at paying £1,000 for its annual service, right?

Well, let’s break this down…

You have just arranged your finances in investments that you have been told are suitable for “…the medium to long term”, else you’d be in Cash.  That could be five, maybe 10 years, if not longer…

Do you really need to review this plan in 6 months’ time? Will your financial circumstances really have changed that much, and on an unforeseen basis, in this time?  What about 12 months’ time?

Adviser: “Let’s have an annual review…pretty please?”

Regardless of whether you have agreed to pay a financial adviser for ongoing financial advice, I would argue that there are many more financial advisers in the UK that would be prepared to speak to you to see whether or not they could help you, should your circumstances have changed or should you just want a second opinion.

By not paying an annual retainer, this could save you £000s over the years.

Should you be paying for ongoing financial advice?

Furthermore, you have recently paid your initial financial adviser for the recent advice. If your circumstances had changed, surely, they would be prepared to speak with you after you have already entrusted them to create your financial plan?

In the UK, the financial services watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), wrote to the CEOs and directors of financial advice firms.

Their ‘Dear CEO’ letter entitled “Portfolio strategy letter for financial advisers” of 21 January 2020, raised their concerns that advice firms may be arranging unnecessarily complicated retirement income solutions for their clients.

In doing so, they could be creating a conflict of interest in which, by doing so, they are able to justify charging clients for the provision of ongoing financial advice.

Paying for ongoing financial advice should not be the default option

Here, at Assured Life Advisers, we do not believe in charging for the provision of ongoing financial advice by default.

Instead, we will continue to monitor your financial plans and we will get in touch with you should we need to do so.

Similarly, if your circumstances do change, for example, you:

  • are made redundant
  • wish to help your children out financially
  • would like to amend your income from your financial plans
  • have seen or heard something on the news that you would like to discuss

we will be happy to help and only charge you when billable work is required.

Of course, we will discuss any potential fees with you in advance so you know exactly what any subsequent advice may cost.

The initial meeting

We will discuss and explain how we charge in the initial meeting, which may well be after you have  spoken to Pension Wise for some free pension advice and help with your pensions.

We will also:

  1. Discuss our Services and Cost Disclosure Document
  2. Conduct a comprehensive fact find
  3. Conduct an Income & Expenditure analysis
  4. Review your attitude to risk
  5. Review existing financial plans

1. Services and Cost Disclosure Document

You will be presented with a copy of our Services and Costs Disclosure Document. This important document sets out your rights as well as our obligations to you. It explains:, amongst other things:

  • the scope of the services we offer
  • how we are regulated
  • what we charge, and how
  • the various protections afforded to you given that we are a regulated firm
  • our complaints process, should anything go wrong.

2. Comprehensive fact find

A comprehensive fact find will be conducted in which we learn more about your personal and financial circumstances.  We will discuss your hopes and aspirations for the future. We will identify any potential issues so that you can start to think about how to address them.

3. Income & Expenditure analysis

We will conduct an Income and Expenditure exercise in which we look at your current finances and any identified changes. And we will consider how your income, expenditure and liabilities may change in the years ahead.

If you could prepare in advance of an initial meeting a breakdown of your main recurring income and expenses then it could help facilitate things.

4. Attitude to Risk

We will discuss your attitude to risk, in the context of savings and investments, as well as your capacity for loss.  That is, how much risk you are willing or able to take with your finances.

5. Existing financial plans

If you have existing financial plans, we will note these down and may agree to write to the providers to request further information. We will want to know:

  • what these plans are
  • for how long you have had them
  • what purpose they serve
  • whether they have any valuable guarantees that could be lost if you were to surrender or transfer them to another provider

It would be useful if you could request a State Pension Forecast, if you haven’t done so already. This will identify what you are due by way of a State Pension and from what age.  See here to learn more about obtaining a state pension forecast by post or online.

How long will all this take?

A financial review with one of our Assured Life Advisers independent financial advisers is a comprehensive process.  One that has been tried and tested over many years.

You can be assured that we are skilled in managing these conversations.  We will ask some great questions.  Some of which may perhaps feel unsettling at times, but ones that are sure to get you thinking.

These are intended to deliver the best financial advice, to protect you, your family, and your future.

We will strive to deliver the most appropriate financial pans for your foreseeable future.

Financial planning isn’t necessarily cheap. Nor is it quick.

You have undoubtedly spent many years contributing towards your financial plans.  It may be worth spending a bit more time and money on reviewing things to ensure your plans remain relevant.

You may be in a default scheme with your current workplace pension, or have several pensions worth reviewing.

With independent financial advice, we can put you in an informed position.  Look forward to your future with confidence.

Assured Life Advisers – you’ve worked hard for your money.

Now make it work hard for you.

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