Mystery Shopper  

Mystery Shopper: Oxfordshire

Mystery Shopper: Oxfordshire

This week, the mystery shopper visits Oxfordshire.  

This week the shopper visits Oxfordshire. The shopper has just moved to the UK and is wondering how to move her pension contributions from Singapore where she worked for nine years. The shopper’s employer is offering her a 5 per cent pension contribution. The shopper is wondering whether to invest in a separate pension or remain in her occupational pension. 

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK.

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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: Shaw Gibbs Financial Services (independent)

Address: 264 Banbury Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 7DY

Speed: 2.40pm. The chartered financial planner picked up after four rings. 5/5

Telephone manner: Friendly and easy to speak to. 5/5

Qualifications: Level 6 chartered financial planner. 5/5

Payment method: The adviser quoted an approximate figure of £1,500-2,500 which will cover the annual charge. He said administration fees are about £55, and hourly rates are £260, all of which are included in the first figure. 5/5

Guidance: The chartered financial planner said it would be best for the shopper not to transfer her pension back until she knows where she is planning to retire, so she does not incur additional costs. He also recommended the shopper stay with the current workplace pension, as the cost of advice may defeat any extra savings the shopper may make from investing into a personal pension. 5/5

Knowledge: He demonstrated a very high standard of knowledge. 5/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: Shopper's choice. This phone call really helped the shopper get an idea of how she can save on costs.



Adviser: Thomas and Co Financial Services – part of the Kingswood Group (independent)

Address: 98 Ock Street, Abingdon, OX14 5DH

Speed: 4.40pm. The adviser picked up after one ring. 5/5

Telephone manner: The adviser had a jolly tone and a pleasant phone manner. 5/5

Qualifications: Level 4 Dip PFS. 5/5

Payment method: The adviser said setting up a pension with a regular premium would cost around £1,500. 5/5

Guidance: The adviser said he cannot advise on transferring pensions from overseas. He suggested increasing monthly contributions to the current pension scheme, rather than setting up a personal pension. 4/5

Knowledge: The adviser demonstrated very good knowledge. 4/5


Email: 5/5

Verdict: This adviser was very helpful but the shopper would have liked a bit more general knowledge on what transferring a pension from overseas would entail.