Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Hampshire

Mystery Shopper: Hampshire

The shopper is calling on behalf of her 69-year-old grandmother, a widow, who is looking into how she can pass on money from her pension to family members. She has not actually started drawing from the pension as her husband left her quite a bit of money before he passed away.

Adviser: Threshold Financial Services – appointed representative (restricted)

Address: Unit 1, Brookside Centre, Auckland Road, Southampton SO15 0SD

Speed: 3.35pm. Call answered by receptionist. Transferred to adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly. 5/5

Qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: Where a transfer is not recommended the charge is £1,000. If funds come under management it starts at 3 per cent of first £200,000. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser explained that how much the shopper's grandmother can pass onto family will depend on her scheme, because each final salary scheme is set up with its own rules. He also explained the possible downsides of the grandmother trying to transfer the funds if she is in ill health. He said there is a risk the estate could still fall under the inheritance tax umbrella if she were to pass away within two years of the transfer. 5/5

Knowledge: The adviser was very knowledgeable, explaining the reason behind the growing trend of pension transfers as a way for older people to pass on money. He was also very helpful in describing in detail the kind of work he would undertake for the client. 5/5


Web:  5/5

Verdict: Shopper’s Choice. The adviser was very helpful and took the time to provide information on what is a very complex area for advisers.



Adviser: Succession Group (independent)

Address: 63 Merdon Avenue, Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire SO53 1GD

Speed: 4.30pm. Call answered by adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Polite and friendly. 5/5

Qualifications: Chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: Fee is typically £7,500 or 1 per cent of transfer implemented. 5/5

Guidance: Adviser explained that the rules were not very favourable where an individual was sick and wanted to do a transfer, but he did not go into a lot of detail. He was keen to arrange a sit-down with the shopper. He also explained that the transfer process is very intense and could come with complications. 3/5

Knowledge: The adviser sounded confident and knowledgeable, but the shopper felt he did not spend time answering her questions in detail, despite her prompts. 4/5


Website: 5/5

Verdict: Adviser behaved in a professional manner, although at times it felt to the shopper as if he was in a bit of a rush to speak with her.



Adviser: Sean McCarthy Wealth Management (independent)

Address: 105 Moorgarden Road, West End, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2HG

Speed: 9.57am. Call answered by adviser. 5/5

Telephone manner: Polite and friendly. 5/5

Qualifications: Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: There is an initial charge of £500. Depending on the outcome of the work required, the fee could be a fixed or hourly charge. 4/5 

Guidance: The adviser explained that there is a lot of work and cost involved in looking at whether doing a transfer is the best option. He added that in some cases it might be best not to do anything. He also explained how a personal pension can be written into trust to control who receives the benefits or how they are taken. 5/5