This week, the mystery shopper visits Birmingham.
The shopper’s mother wants to retire to Spain. She is retiring from nursing and has a final salary pension.
She has no relatives or links to Spain but has holidayed before and likes the climate. She would be doing this after the UK leaves the EU. How will this affect her pension and access to it?
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: Mazars Financial Planning (Independent)
Address: 45 Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2RT
Speed of response: At 10am the shopper was connected after a little wait. 5/5
Telephone manner: The adviser was polite and professional. 5/5
Relevant qualifications: Level four Dip PFS. 5/5
Payment method: The shopper was told a fixed fee would apply, but it would be difficult to quantify without knowing more details about the mother. 4/5
Guidance: The biggest question is how her UK income would be treated in Spain. So looking ahead, it would be important to examine the tax treaty between Spain and the UK, and the mother will have to decide whether she is moving to Spain permanently or if she plans to come back, because that will affect her tax status. 5/5
Knowledge: The adviser explained that, as a final salary income is fixed and guaranteed for life, it might be a good scheme to keep. The adviser also explained the mother would still be entitled to a state pension, but that the increase would depend on the tax treaty between the UK and Spain. She asked whether the mother had considered if she will be able to live off her pension alone and that this was something they could discuss and find out. As the cost of living in Spain in the future is still unknown, it would be a good idea to understand how much flexibility the mother has, first. 5/5
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 5/5
Verdict: The adviser showed good knowledge of the different variables that would affect the shopper’s mother and the crucial factors she must consider if she decides to go ahead with the move. She was friendly and professional and clearly willing to help, but could not give a range of the cost without more details.
Adviser: 2plan wealth management (Independent)
Address: 12-22 Newhall St, Birmingham B3 3AS