CompaniesDec 29 2015

LEBC plans to expand in 2016

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National advice group LEBC plans to continue the expansion of its recruitment programme, paraplanning resource and graduate scheme in 2016, according to chief executive Jack McVitie.

He told FTAdviser that the organic growth of the business has been such that an expansion of the recruitment programme was required in 2015, employing an extra 19 advisers over the year, with more coming next year.

“We have more than doubled our paraplanning resource in the last two years and anticipate continuing to build the capability of this vital resource over the coming year as demand for our services grow further.

“As a support to this, we have launched our graduate recruitment scheme to feed new talent and energy into our business,” Mr McVitie added.

Challenges and opportunities lie ahead over the next 12 months, particularly around at-retirement advice and auto-enrolment.

Mr McVitie explained that corporate clients have needed assistance to stage their schemes, while individual clients have looked for guidance through the new options available to them in terms of withdrawing pension funds early - both exercising the firm’s advisers to the full.

“We have already assisted hundreds of employers successfully achieve their staging date and been appointed to 26 large defined benefit schemes in 2015, many of which were FTSE companies.

“Both auto-enrolment and pension freedoms are likely to take up much of our time in 2016 also, as small employers will be – or should be – completing their staging and large and medium-sized businesses will have entered their three-year reviews of their arrangements.”

Mr McVitie said that the firm’s work will continue with the range of options offered for employees to access advice through their working lives.

“No one can dispute the work and cost involved for employers, but we can help find the best approach for them and their employees which can also help in the recruitment and retention of staff.”

Finally, he re-stated requests previously sent to the chancellor and The Financial Conduct Authority’s chief executive, calling for government to introduce a 30-day cooling off period for those seeking access to all of their pension funds under the new pension freedoms, unless they have been advised by a regulated independent adviser.