Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Northampton

Mystery Shopper: Northampton

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

This week, the mystery shopper visits Northamptonshire. The shopper is calling on behalf of her 63-year-old mother who has a final salary pension scheme and is looking to do a defined benefit transfer.

Adviser: All Saints Financial (independent)

Address: 44 Reynard Way, Northamptonshire, Northampton NN2 8QX

Speed of response: 12.15pm. One ring and call answered by the adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner:  Friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: DipFA with access to pension specialist transfer colleague with G60 qualification. 5/5

Payment method: To do analysis and report will cost £1,500. If transfer is done, a fee of 1 per cent of the transfer value. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said that when he analyses the shopper’s situation it may not be in her best interests, depending on certain circumstances. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded fairly knowledgeable but the shopper would have liked a bit more information on what is considered when looking at a DB transfer. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: The adviser was helpful and friendly and behaved in a professional manner.



Adviser: The Independent Life and Pensions Group (independent)

Address: 3 Adelaide House, Corbygate Business Park, Priors Haw Road, Corby, Northants NN17 5JG

Speed of response: 12.25pm. One ring and transferred to adviser by receptionist. 5/5

Telephone manner: Helpful and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Pension transfer specialist. 5/5

Payment method: Fee for analysis is £935. Subsequent fee to do transfer would depend on the outcome of meetings and analysis report. 4/5

Guidance: Adviser said that typically an individual should only do a final salary transfer in special circumstances because once done it cannot be reversed and because of the loss of the guaranteed income. Doing the analysis would involve looking at her mother’s retirement plans as well as her scheme information. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded very knowledgeable about DB transfers and explained the process he would undertake in a detailed and simple way. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper’s Choice. The adviser spoke in a lot of detail and was able to explain DB transfers in an uncomplicated manner.



Adviser: Curo Wealth (independent)

Address:  Preston Lodge Court, Houghton Road, Northampton NN7 2DS

Speed of response: 12.35pm. One ring and transferred to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Helpful and friendly. 5/5

Relevant qualifications: Diploma in investment planning with access to pension transfer specialists. 4/5

Payment method: Fees to be discussed at a subsequent meeting. Shopper asked more than once for the information but adviser was reluctant to give it. 2/5

Guidance: The adviser explained guaranteed benefits that come with staying in a DB scheme compared with the risks of transferring the money and having it invested. The mother’s financial circumstances would be assessed against the transfer value to ascertain if it would be in her best interest. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded very knowledgeable, explaining the factors he would consider. He also explained the benefits if she were to stick with DB. 5/5