Defined Benefit  

DB transfer video creator claims service protects advisers

DB transfer video creator claims service protects advisers

The creator of pension transfer educational videos has claimed legal opinion suggested his service should protect advisers from future complaints.

The video service, known as Final Salary Portal, was created by firm Money Alive and was first launched as a prototype in November.

A commercial version of the video service has been running since January.

Ian Beestin, one of the founding directors of the company, told FTAdviser the number of sign-ups from financial advisers is increasing week by week, and more than 60 firms are already using the service.

The portal is made up of a series of 17 short videos, each illustrating a particular issue relating to defined benefit (DB) pension transfers, such as what it means to a saver guarantees if they transfer out, or what it means for taxation if they stay. 

The financial adviser will know from their administration portal when the client has completed the videos, and if they have any questions on any of them, and at that point they can engage in a meeting, Mr Beestin said.

He said: "We also provide template paragraphs to go into the suitability report, which refers to the portal journey, and it is part of the risk management. It is good evidence for their compliance files.

"Defined benefit (DB) transfers are a huge opportunity for advisers, but at the same time it is a market that needs very careful and well thought-out processes."

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been focusing on the defined benefit (DB) transfer advice market, and announced it will be collecting data from all financial advice firms which hold pension transfer permissions during this year.

In January, the watchdog sent a letter to all firms holding pension transfer permissions revealing the red flags the regulator will be looking for when it enters advisers' offices.

In March, the regulator said that it was consulting on new guidance on how firms can provide an appropriate triage service that gives factual and generic information without stepping across the advice boundary.

The watchdog said if triage is to be a non-advised service, it should be an educational process so that consumers can decide whether to proceed to regulated advice.

Firms can achieve this by providing generic, balanced information on the advantages and disadvantages of pension transfers, the FCA added.

Mr Beestin argued that good triage provides an opportunity to disrupt any pre-standing ideas that a client may have regarding the outcome of a potential full review.

In particular, he said a good triage service could shift the views of a client who is dazzled by a transfer value, set on transferring out, and not properly considering/valuing what they are giving up.

He said: "It is important that an education process is not perceived as a barrier to an outcome but an essential and valuable step in achieving the right outcome for the client.