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Home > Blog > Pensions > Do I Need A Financial Adviser To Transfer My Pension?
As your life circumstances change – whether you’re getting a new job, going self-employed or setting up a business – you may want to think about whether your pension is working for you.
But do you know what type of pension is best suited to your new situation? Would you benefit, for example, from switching a defined contribution pension to another provider, transferring a defined benefit (final salary) pension to a defined contribution pension, or consolidating multiple pension pots into a single fund?
Major pension decisions are not to be taken lightly; after all, a pension is most people’s life savings – so you may be considering asking a financial advisor to assess whether a pension transfer is beneficial. In this article, Hilltop explains the situations that do and don’t necessarily call for financial advice, the various benefits of seeking qualified, professional advice.
If you are considering transferring your pension, there are some circumstances in which you will need to use a financial adviser. These include:
If you are considering transferring a defined benefit (final salary) pension to a defined contribution pension of a similar value, you will nearly always need financial advice. By law, and for your protection, you must seek financial advice if the transfer value of your pension is £30,000 or more. But remember that defined benefit pensions typically offer excellent benefits, meaning the FCA’s starting position is always that a final-salary pension transfer is rarely in your best financial interests.
If you want to transfer a defined contribution pension or undertake a pension consolidation, you should also seek financial advice. If your defined contribution pension has a guaranteed annuity rate attached to it or other guaranteed benefits, you are legally required to take financial advice. An FCA regulated adviser can advise on exit charges, management fees, any potential loss of guaranteed benefits, and the risks of new investments.
In most cases beyond those outlined above, transferring a defined contribution pension without financial advice is possible. It’s often a simple case of finding out the transfer value from your existing provider and applying to a new provider to get the transfer process in motion.
You also don’t necessarily need a financial adviser when setting up a pension. If you’re an employee, for example, you may be automatically enrolled in your employer’s workplace pension scheme – and in certain professions, such as teaching or the NHS, you may be enrolled in a protected defined benefit pension scheme.
It is also possible to take the DIY route when setting up a personal pension. Popular options include stakeholder pensions and self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs). A SIPP is a pension fund where you select the investments yourself. Strictly speaking, you don’t need financial advice when accessing your pension funds.
However, financial advice can be advantageous in all of the above circumstances, providing peace of mind that you are making the right decisions and using their expertise to ensure you don’t make a costly mistake that could put you in financial hardship in the future.
Ultimately, your pension is one of the most important investments you will ever make. So, unless you have prior knowledge and experience of the pensions and investments landscape, you’re better off putting the complexities, legalities and potential risks to your future wellbeing in the hands of a professional. A financial adviser can help you to make the most of your investments, keep them secure and maximise the value of your pension.
As with many financial decisions, whether or not you consult a financial adviser will often come down to personal preference. However, some circumstances legally require you to speak to a regulated adviser, such as transferring a defined benefit (final salary) pension with a transfer value of £30,000 or more to a defined contribution scheme or transferring a defined contribution with a guaranteed annuity rate of £30,000 or more.
These legal requirements are for your protection, and it is for that reason that consulting a financial adviser in all other non-mandatory aspects of a pension transfer can also be beneficial. A regulated financial adviser will help you to make the best decision for you and your long-term financial well-being, helping you to avoid costly mistakes and fraudulent pension scams that are just some of the pitfalls of going solo.
A financial adviser’s costs for transferring a pension are almost always mitigated by the savings, growth and peace of mind that come from having your pension transfer handled by a professional.
So why entrust your pension transfer with Hilltop? Our in-house team of more than 50 fully trained pensions experts (including independent financial advisers, paraplanners and a financial compliance team) are here to provide advice on pensions, investments and retirement planning. We are here to help you plan for the future, empowering you to make the best decisions today that get you where you need to be tomorrow.
If you would like advice about pension transfers or to arrange a consultation, please contact us on our website or call us on 0161 413 7051. We are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4pm on Fridays. Hilltop Financial Planning is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our advisers have more than 100 years of combined experience and knowledge of working with people like you and helping them to make the most of their finances.
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