International advisers failing to partner with UK firms for pension transfers

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International advisers are struggling to keep up with new pension transfer regulations, citing high fees and a reluctance from UK advisers to form partnerships.

Since April all defined benefit transfers must be overseen by a pension transfer specialist, meaning advisers working overseas must link up with UK advisers holding the correct qualifications.

However, more than half (56 per cent) of 289 international advisers surveyed by Old Mutual Wealth said they were facing challenges in establishing partnerships.

Speaking at Money Marketing’s Brave New World event last week, FCA head of pension policy Maggie Craig said: “The two biggest areas we have had comment on with regards to pension transfers are safeguarded rights and people who are overseas and trying to transfer and then need to get a UK adviser.”

Almost a fifth of international advisers said the biggest problem was the fees a UK adviser would want to charge their client, while 16 per cent said not knowing any UK advisers was blocking progress.

In addition, 15 per cent said concerns over whether the overseas or UK adviser would be liable had stopped them setting up an arrangement, while 12 per cent found UK advisers reluctant to take the business on.

Old Mutual Wealth pensions specialist Jon Greer says: “International advisers need to recognise defined benefit scheme designs are no longer as simple as they were in the past.”

Intelligent Pensions technical director David Trenner says: “We’ve had international advisers get in touch and in principle we don’t have a problem. But we say if we’ll do it, it has to be on both stages on the suitability of the transfer and the transfer itself.

“It also worries me that some less professional overseas advisers seem to be the first to complain about fees but are happy to take undisclosed commission.”