Launch of the Pension Transfer Gold Standard
The Pensions Advice Taskforce has launched a new Pension Transfer Gold Standard aimed at helping customers identify good defined benefit transfer advice. The Gold Standard is a voluntary code of good practice for safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice, based around a set of principles.
Eligible firms can adopt and promote this standard and principles, so consumers can better understand and find good advice, and be confident they are dealing with a firm that is going beyond minimum requirements when giving financial advice.
Any financial advice firm can adopt the Gold Standard, regardless of which accredited body they are a member of, and the sign up page on the Personal Finance Society (PFS) website contains detailed information about how to register and the criteria firms need to meet.
Sign up for the Pension Transfer Gold Standard
The nine principles
- Helping clients understand when advice is appropriate
- Ensuring advice given supports the clients overall wellbeing in the context of their stated objectives
- Ensuring client understanding and acceptance of all charges
- Ensuring the most appropriate and updated technical skills are applied
- Transparent management of Conflicts of Interest
- Helping clients understanding the cost of transferring benefits
- Avoiding unregulated investments and introducers
- Transparency in advice processes and outcomes
- Promoting the Consumer Guide to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard
Read the consumer guide to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard
Any financial advice firm can adopt the Gold Standard, but need to meet the following criteria:
- Have regulatory permissions for provision of pension transfer advice (authorisation as both a pension transfer specialist and as an investment adviser – level 4 minimum)
- They (or any individual within their firm) are not currently under any form of ongoing regulatory sanction by their regulator or accredited body in this field of advice
- Have professional indemnity insurance which meets FCA threshold conditions and that the firm has adequate resources to cover any excesses (or exclusions) under the policy under the relevant sections of IPRU-INV13.0
- Have adopted all the principles of the Pension Transfer Gold Standard (without exception)
Where firms are appointed representatives (AR):
- Their principal has regulatory permissions to provide pensions transfer advice and the agreement with the AR that allows specified individuals within the AR firm to provide such advice under article 53e of the Regulated Activities Order
- The PII of their principal meets the FCA threshold conditions
- The AR firm has adopted all the principles of the PTGS and have informed their principle of this
Registration will need to be renewed on an annual basis and adopters should be prepared to provide evidence if called upon by either the CII/PFS or a body with delegated authority from the Pension Advice Taskforce that they have adopted the principles of the Gold Standard. This may involve evidence of the CPD requirement in Principle 4, Management information to support Principles 1 and 8 and examples supporting Principles 3, 5 and 6.
Once an application is submitted, this is checked by the PFS and then you will receive an email confirmation that you have adopted the Pension Transfer Gold Standard. To complete the process:
- You will need to make whatever changes are necessary to your advice process to be able to comply with all the Gold Standard Principles.
- The PFS will need to make arrangements to record appropriate Management Information as detailed in the Practitioner Guide under Principles 1 and 8.
- If you are not already on the MAS Retirement Advisers database you need to register with them at directory.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. They will add a visible PTGS logo to help consumers find you.
- You can start to use the Gold Standard logos in your own marketing material or on your website. Where possible, the consumer guides should be made available to your clients – you can download these from the Pension Transfer Gold Standard consumer page (if you would like to hold a printed stock of the small (A5) consumer guide please email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will arrange for a print standard version to be sent to you as soon as they can which you can then send on to your preferred print partner).
Further details are available at the links below.