There is no reason why the FCA would not back ‘one click’, self-directed pension transfers, the Australian chief of a platform engine has said.
Robert De Dominicis, chief executive of platform engine GBST Wealth Management, said advisers wanting to know what the future holds for pension freedoms should look to his birthplace of Australia.
Speaking at the James Hay autumn conference on 17 September, Mr De Dominicis said the Australian government realised it had “to get ready for this online thing” and initiated the SuperStream reforms in the past 12 months that allowed pension transfers at the click of a button.
When asked would the FCA, which requires those wishing to undertake DB transfers with a ‘pot’ of more than £30,000 to receive advice, would ever back a similar system in the UK, Mr De Dominicis said: “It is a self-directed mechanism. I cannot see why not.”
Under Australia’s SuperStream reforms, employers must make super contributions on behalf of their employees by submitting data and payments electronically in a consistent and simplified manner.
According to Mr De Dominicis, SuperStream has taken pension transfers from 30 days to five – and enabled one-click consolidation of pension accounts.
Mr De Dominicis said: “All the main high street banks have customers from cradle to the grave. Their customers can look at credit cards, investments and pensions, all in one place.
“It is interesting to see how engagement has changed from 10 years ago. You can now round up your pension pots with three simple clicks.
“No more paper forms. You do it all online in just a few quick clicks.”
Chris Budd, director of Bristol-based Ovation Finance, said: “I do not completely agree with the idea of having full online access in the way that Mr De Dominicis is saying.
“I do like the simplicity of allowing people to manage their money online, and having everything in one place, so I agree with him in that.
“However, I absolutely abhor the ‘pension freedom’ phrase. It is an absurd concept that pensions are something from which one must be liberated. People need advice to help them understand pensions better, and I believe they should have proper advice. If you allow people just to go online and do anything they like, then sometimes they might make the wrong life decision.”