06-06-2019 21:12 - edited 06-06-2019 21:12
Ok, this isn't going to be the most riveting subject but I know there are a number of good and wise people who frequent these parts so I'd welcome your thoughts on this so here goes, my thanks to you in advance
So am looking for an independent review of the performance of my stakeholder pension which I last had checked in 2011 by an IFA laid on by the Union at work because I was technically 'at risk of redundancy' which I managed to dodge as a lot of my colleagues took voluntary severance.
The chap I saw was very thorough and came back and told me the fund was performing well.
I would have gone back to him but I got a letter the following year telling me he was retiring.
I did approach the company he worked for but it just seemed they existed to make appointments and noone could or would tell me how much I might be charged.
Today I'm trying again to get an opinion on how much I should be putting in and how the pot should be distributed to maximise returns.
So I end up on the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority register site looking for a properly registered IFA as I know it can be a bit of a 'snake oil' business.
So I find two firms not far from me and fire off an e-mail to both explaining it's not mega bucks but I'd like some advice but I wanted some idea of the charges before I went ahead.
First one had wealth in the title so didn't bother to respond as it was probably too small a job for them.
I got an e-mail from a Managing Director of the second who said fees could be hourly or based on percentage of value but with no further detail or illustration of what these might be, he has asked for the pension company name, funds and value
I haven't responded as yet as I don't really want it to be construed as acceptance of terms thus entering myself into a contract that may have an open ended charging structure.
Am I being unreasonable here?
07-06-2019 01:38 - edited 07-06-2019 01:47
No @Anonymous you are not being unreasonable at all. If it were me, I'd have done exactly as you have. If you provide the information being asked for, you are tacitly agreeing their terms, not knowing exactly what their terms are or what it's going to cost you.
I would go back to them and say "before I give you any information, I want some idea as to the costs involved. Any reputable firm will understand that people want to have some idea of the costs involved before they agree to anything or provide rather personal financial information.
Out of curiosity, does your firm's pension scheme administrators not provide an annual report, including the findings of an IFA for their pension scheme? Both of my occupational pension providers do. And, as I'm now receiving my pensions, it makes no difference to me now. But it is still good to know that neither of the pension schemes are likely to collapse before I no longer require my monthly payments. I thought, but could be wrong, that all occupational pension schemes were required to provide such a report to their members.
I also recall recommendations from the pension scheme administrators, even when I worked at Waitrose, advising on what sum I should be paying in, over and above what John Lewis put in, to increase my pension pot. Their recommendations certainly helped me to get a far better pension than I would have received after only 5 years as a member.
I'm just surprised that your firm's pension scheme doesn't provide the information you very sensibly require. Anyway, as I said above, I would go back to the firm that responded to you asking for more information on the costs involved before providing any personal information which could cost you, big time.
Hope I've helped.
on 07-06-2019 19:14
Thank you for some very useful advice.
I opted out of the work one as I could forsee trouble when I joined my current employer nearly 17 years ago and unfortunately it's become a bit of a contentious issue at work so while I'm not going to benefit from employer contributions having a completely self funded private one does make it easier when I change employers and to administer when I do retire.
07-06-2019 22:12 - edited 07-06-2019 22:20
Your very welcome @Anonymous, glad I could be of some help.
Well I admit I was very lucky with with my occupational pensions. The schemes are well run and funded, and not likely to go under any time soon. I've heard many a horror story about company pension schemes, both large and small. So I commend your caution in getting involved with your company scheme. Not many people have the foresight to think before they invest their hard-earned cash. Particularly when it's an employee scheme. You can be hurt just as much as in a privately funded scheme, often even more so.
Good luck with getting information out of the IFA you managed to get a response from. If they're genuine and not scam artists, they shouldn't have any objection to providing answers to your questions. No one with any sense will commit to a contract without some idea of the costs involved.