This week the mystery shopper visits Norwich.
The shopper’s mother is due to retire in November 2019 and has worked for the last 30 years at Marks & Spencer.
She is currently on a defined benefit pension scheme, but she is considering transferring to a defined contribution scheme and investing in a self-invested personal pension.
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.
Adviser: Iceni Financial Advisers (Independent)
Address: Iceni Financial Advisers, 6 Drayton Industrial Estate, Taverham Road, Drayton, Norfolk, Norwich NR8 6RL
Speed of response: 10.30am. The shopper was transferred quickly to a pension adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: The adviser was very friendly. 5/5
Qualifications: DipPFS, CeMAP 5/5
Payment method: The adviser said there is no fee for the initial consultation, but a transfer fee of 1-3 per cent would be charged. 4/5
Guidance: The adviser said clients needed to fill out a number of forms to help them evaluate their circumstances. 3/5
Knowledgeable: The adviser seemed to know his stuff and explained the procedure very well once he got going on the topic. 4/5
Email: email@example.com 5/5
Verdict: The adviser was friendly and appeared knowledgeable but needed some encouragement to discuss the ins and outs of the transfer process over the phone.
Total score: 31/35
Adviser: Insight Financial Associates (Independent)
Address: 7a Alkmaar Way, Norwich International Business Park, Norwich, Norfolk NR6 6BF
Speed of response: 10.47am. The shopper had to wait before being put through to a pensions adviser. 4/5
Telephone manner: The adviser was very friendly and talkative. 5/5
Qualifications: DipPFS, AF7. 5/5
Payment Method: The adviser said fees would be around 3 per cent of the pension transfer, but no fees for the initial consultation. The adviser was unable to give a range. 3/5
Guidance: The adviser said the transfer would depend on her mother's individual circumstances, but he added that generally he advised against defined benefit transfers as clients are usually better off and exposed to less risk than if they do the transfer. 5/5
Knowledgeable: The adviser gave a good account of the risks and benefits associated with such transfers. 5/5
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 5/5
Verdict: The adviser offered a solid description of what was involved in going through with a transfer, and offered plenty of food for thought on the risks and benefits involved.
Total score: 32/35
Adviser: Nurture Financial Planning (Independent)