Defined Contribution  

Punter Southall Aspire seals advice deal

Punter Southall Aspire seals advice deal

Maritime pension scheme Ensign has teamed up with Punter Southall Aspire to offer advice to members who want to enter drawdown.

The tie-up allows individual members of the Ensign scheme to access at-retirement guidance or regulated advice from the specialist team at Punter Southall Aspire. 

The partnership forms part of Ensign’s new drawdown account, which launched today (February 11), allowing members to benefit from the 2015 pension freedoms without the need to transfer their pensions. 

The account offers a default fund with an annual management charge (AMC) of 0.31 per cent, which is the same as the charge members receive during the accumulation phase of their Ensign account.

Ensign said it had found fewer than half of its employee members knew how much they were paying into a pension and three out of four were unaware of costs and charges. 

It found that the majority had no idea how much money they needed to enjoy a comfortable retirement. 

Andrew Waring, CEO of Ensign, said: "The golden age of the final salary pension is far behind us, and as an industry, defined contribution is failing to deliver a decent alternative. 

"Pensions continue to be jargon-fuelled and overwhelming for even the most financially astute. We must look at ways to simplify the customer experience, to support them in making informed financial planning decisions and ensure we prevent a whole generation from financial turmoil at retirement."

Members of Ensign’s scheme can access tax relief on the financial advice they receive via a partnership between Punter Southall Aspire and VouchedFor. 

The Pension Advice Vouchers fund the initial £500 of pension advice each year through salary sacrifice. 

Scott Gallacher, chartered financial planner at Rowley Turton, said: "Given the continued advice gap in the UK, approaches such as this by Ensign to provide scheme members with access to advice should be welcomed."

Ensign is a Master Trust exclusively for the maritime industry, with more than 80 employers to date, 4,450 members and more than £100m under management. 

The plan is portable, allowing members to move from job to job, or career-to-career, whilst taking their savings with them and its flexible retirement options allow for phased retirement through the new income drawdown account.

Olu Tunde, assistant general secretary at Nautilus International, said: "Our focus, as the UK’s leading maritime trade union, is to safeguard the needs of seafarers during their working life and when their careers are over.

"Given their background in the maritime industry and responsible trustee-led ethos, Ensign shares this focus and has an infectious passion for providing high-quality pensions."