The Pension Transfer Gold Standard
Important Update: Pension Transfer Gold Standard
Since it’s launch in April 2019, the Pension Transfer Gold Standard has seen 300 firms sign up to the voluntary code of good practice. It is an annually renewable, principles-based code for Safeguarded and Defined Benefit pension transfer advice and was introduced to help to ensure consumers understand the importance of good advice and have confidence that the firms they are dealing with are committed to high standards of client care
Created by the Pensions Advice Taskforce and supported by the Personal Finance Society, the initiative has now been running for over three years and has helped many consumers with choosing an appropriate firm provide them with their advice needs. The Pensions Advice Taskforce is independent of the Personal Finance Society, and so, as with any collaborative initiative, it is important to regularly review its purpose, the fundamentals on which it is founded and the success it has had. The Personal Finance Society will therefore be undertaking a review of the Pension Transfer Gold Standard and the role we play in supporting both it and the Pensions Advice Taskforce, to ensure it continues to be aligned to the high standards required of the professionals adhering to it and most importantly, it meets the needs of the public we serve.
We know many member firms remain passionate about standing behind their public commitment to the principles of the Standard, so we will continue to renew their Gold Standard holder status whilst we conduct our review. If you have recently submitted a renewal, this will be processed in the near future.
While we conduct our review we are not accepting any new applications to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard.
About the Pension Transfer Gold Standard:
The Gold Standard is a voluntary code of good practice for safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice, based around a set of principles.
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, our sign up page contains detailed information about how to register and the criteria firms need to meet:
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
*Principle 7 – reference to ‘non mainstream pooled investments and unregulated collective investment products’ within the Practitioner Guide does not apply to cash, or near cash investments held as part of a normal asset allocation. Reference to ‘unregulated introducers’ relates only to those that have a commercial interest or involvement with unregulated investments, thereby avoiding any undue influence in respect of the eventual investment strategy or fund used.
About the Pension Advice Taskforce
The Pensions Advice Taskforce is a sector wide representative body whose ultimate purpose is to raise advice standards and enhance consumer protection in complex areas of pension advice. Its initial focus has been on safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfers and the creation of the Pension Transfer Gold Standard.
Members of the steering group represent consumer bodies, financial advisers (both large and small), scheme administrators, pension providers, PI insurers, Pension Wise, TPAS, Money Advice Service (all now under the banner of the Money and Pensions Service), and compliance consultants all with direct experience of both individual and workplace pensions.
The Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator sit on the steering group as independent technical observers. Learn more.
The role of The Personal Finance Society
The Personal Finance Society (PFS) is the professional body for the financial advisory profession in the UK, whose role is to promote ethical behaviour, the highest standards of professionalism for technical knowledge and client service for the ultimate benefit of the profession and consumer alike.
The PFS has been instrumental in helping create the Pension Advice Taskforce and facilitates and promotes access to the Gold Standard on their behalf to both advisers and consumers alike.