Mystery Shopper: Birmingham



Adviser: The Pension Planner (independent)

Address: I2 Office, Two Snowhill, Snow Hill Queensway, West Midlands, Birmingham, B4 6GA

Speed of response: 11am. One ring and put through to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. 5/5

Key qualifications: The shopper spoke to the "practice manager" who said he would get a qualified adviser to contact her. 3/5

Payment method: The firm charges a percentage of the pension fund ‘under influence’, which they have transferred, starting at 3 per cent. 5/5

Guidance:The adviser told the shopper the firm would look at the transfer value of her defined benefit (DB) pension, but often it does not recommend people come out of DB schemes because of current very low interest rates. Also, with regards to the defined contribution (DC) pension pots, the firm would help her mother to see if it was appropriate to transfer her money to a provider. 4/5

Knowledge: Despite not being a practising adviser, the manager was very knowledgeable about the variety of options available to her mother, because of his past career history as an adviser. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The manager was very helpful and friendly, although he was not able to give actual advice.



Adviser: Wealth Solutions (independent)

Address: 15 Frederick Road, Edgbaston, West Midlands, Birmingham B15 1JD

Speed of response: 11.15am. One ring and was put through to the adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and very knowledgeable. 5/5

Key qualifications: DipFS. 5/5

Payment method: Fees depend on advice and are based on the fund. Up to £100,000 is charged at 3 per cent and above that at 2 per cent. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser began the phone call by explaining his role. He told the shopper that in theory her mother can access her pension to supplement her income, but whether it was the right direction to take would depend on various factors. He explained the various options available with her DB and DC pension pots. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser was very detailed in his knowledge, right down to explaining the amount of returns her pension investments would need to make from a DC drawdown for it to be worth it. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper’s Choice. The shopper felt the adviser was friendly and very knowledgeable. He was also clear on his fees and gave her a good understanding of his role as an adviser.