Adviser launches business to help expats with DB schemes

Adviser launches business to help expats with DB schemes

Advice firm Montfort International, which specialises in advising expats, has launched a new business to help final salary pension scheme members who have moved abroad avoid being scammed.

The business, Montfort Consult, will help defined benefit pensions provide advice to members who might have moved abroad and bosses claims it is the only business offering this service in the sector.

Jonathon Webb, a pensions consultant who will lead the business, said DB scheme members who live in other countries can often be overlooked, which puts them at risk.

This is particularly the case when schemes try to encourage their members to transfer to reduce their liabilities, Mr Webb added.

He said: "When the corporate sponsor of a scheme makes an offer to members to consider transferring their DB pension pot out of the scheme, the vast majority of members in the UK are offered free advice, because that is considered good practice.

"But there is a small, but overlooked, proportion of members who have potentially moved overseas or are in the process of moving overseas.

"A lot of registered UK advisers cannot offer them advice so they either get excluded from the transfer offer or they are left to their own devices and asked to find advice in their own locality.

"We always thought that was unfair but it could lead to some very poor outcomes because it opens you up to scammers."

Mr Webb said Montfort had come across cases where pensioners living overseas had lost around 20 per cent of their pension pot in commission and charges in the first year because they had been unable to get advice.

He said most DB pension schemes had some members living abroad but they were more common in certain industries, such as airlines or banking, where they can make up around 10 per cent of the membership.

Montfort Consult is already working with a number of employee benefits consultants.

It will work with companies, trustees, actuaries and corporate sponsors to refer scheme members to Montfort’s team of pension transfer specialists and advisers.

Nearly one in 10 of people aged 55-plus fear they have been targeted by suspected scammers since the introduction of pension freedoms, research from Prudential has shown.

The provider's survey, which polled 1,000 individuals, found that 9 per cent of individuals have been approached about their pension funds by people they now believe to be scammers.

Offers to unlock or transfer funds were tactics commonly used to defraud people of their retirement savings, according to the provider.