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Cofunds call for improvement to pension transfers

Cofunds has called for improved standards in the industry over the management of pension transfers.

The fund supermarket says that the industry still has misplaced priorities as it continues to focus on platform-to-platform transfers, while pension transfers remain a much more critical issue that are still taking as much as six months to complete.

Cofunds strategic development director Anthony Wolfe says: “There has been a great deal of recent comment about platform registration. This is, I believe, misplaced. Re-registration in specie has been a problem this is now being addressed.”

Wolfe believes that as a fast growing market following the introduction of A-Day, pension transfers demand a large part of industry focus, as many move from larger products with a restricted choice to more flexible pension arrangements with lower costs.

He says: “The difference in charging structures between pension products is much greater than the difference between ISAs where generally the tax wrap is provided free. This means greater disparity in the possible levels of return available. Moreover, the sums involved are usually far greater than in the Isa world.”

Wolfe has also called on the FSA to improve the “abysmal” standards that have been set for dealing with pension transfers as investors look to consolidate their pension pot.

He says: “Every intermediary has a tale of woe about the delays, obfuscation and inefficiencies that they face when trying to transfer their clients’ pensions. Unlike the plans of the UK Platform Group to improve ISA transfers, there is not a word has been written or voice raised to suggest that the pension providers are even looking at this important issue.”

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