Defined Benefit  

Just's Hub launches abridged advice service

Just's Hub launches abridged advice service

Hub Pension Consulting has launched an automated abridged advice service it hopes will avoid unnecessary costs for scheme members considering a defined benefit transfer. 

The service includes a digital fact find and triage stage before members for whom a transfer may be appropriate progress to a full advice process. 

Hub Pension Consulting said it hoped the service would avoid the "costs and time of progressing through a full advice process" for scheme members who would not benefit from a transfer, but clients would have the option of talking to an adviser at any point during the process. 

It comes as the company completed its rebrand following the acquisition of Corinthian Pension Consulting in August 2018 by parent group Just.

Simon Gray, managing director at Hub Pension Consulting, said: "The rebrand cements Hub Pension Consulting’s unique role as the longest-standing provider of regulated advice to members for trustee-led bulk scheme defined benefit pension scheme exercises in the market.

"We have used technology to deliver an advice service which identifies early in the customer journey if a transfer is not in the member’s best interest – saving them unnecessary time and cost.

"For members who may stand to benefit from a DB transfer, our service provides affordable, full regulated advice."

Abridged advice is an attempt to allow consumers access to advice surrounding defined benefit transfers now the contingent charging ban is in place. The Financial Conduct Authority hoped it would filter out those for whom a pension transfer is unlikely to be suitable before they pay for full advice.

It sits in between triage and full pension transfer advice but can only result in a personal recommendation to not transfer out of a defined benefit scheme.

First mooted by the regulator in a defined benefit transfer paper in July 2019 abridged advice launched in October last year, but to a somewhat frosty reception with questions surrounding the level of uptake and concerns it would increase consumer confusion.

The FCA's assessment tool 

Last week saw the FCA publish its own assessment tool to help advisers understand whether defined benefit pension transfer advice they had given was suitable.

The tool set outs the key factors for advisers to consider when checking the suitability of their advice and client disclosure, thereby allowing firms to understand what is expected. 

The Defined Benefit Advice Assessment Tool (DBAAT) assesses advice given before October 2020, with the FCA expected to release an updated tool which incorporates rule changes that came in force from October in the coming months.

The regulator said it had used the tool in the latest phase of its review of the DB advice market after it found too much of the advice on DB transfers it had seen was "still not of an acceptable standard".

The FCA has recommended that all advice firms, compliance consultants, auditors, insurers and trade bodies use the tool.