Old Mutual Wealth is joining forces with the Chartered Insurance Institute to offer training to advisers on defined benefit pension transfers.
A spokeswoman for OMW says a best practice training programme was needed given growing demand for advice on this issue, and FCA proposals for more rigorous rules on pension transfer advice.
The move comes despite scepticism among some advisers over providers’ plans to enter the DB transfer space.
The training courses – which will be run in regional centres around the UK – will be open to all advisers, not just the 3,700 advisers that are part of OMW’s Intrinsic network.
Demand for pension transfer advice has soared following the introduction of pension freedoms and increased transfer valuations. OMW said the number of transfer queries it had seen had doubled since August last year.
The FCA has proposed a range of new measures to ensure regulation around the pension transfer market is modernised, enabling consumers to make better informed decision.
Its proposals suggest advisers are obliged to provide personal recommendations with all pension transfers, but also says that advisers will no longer have to assume that a DB transfer would be unsuitable.
OMW says it welcomes both these proposed changes. However there have been concerns within the advisory community that any change in assumptions may effectively greenlight more transfers – which may not always be in the consumer’s long-term interests.
The assets tied up in DB pensions dwarf the assets under management in DC schemes. Many advisers remain sceptical about asset managers giving advice over proposed transfers, and are concerned about potential conflicts of interest.
OMW managing director of UK distribution Scott Goodsir says: “Pension transfers have fast become a mainstream topic for consumers and current market practices are under review by the regulator. This is an area where the help of a financial advisers is absolutely invaluable, as people need high quality and suitable advice, not just for today but for their long-term future.
“We are launching the new training programme with the CII to ensure specialist advisers have the best possible knowledge and experience to feel confidence and secure in the advice they are giving.”
OMW notes it has run training programmes in conjunction with the CII before.
CII managing director of engagement Keith Richards adds: “Proposed clearer rules on advice requirements from the FCA are a welcome step in the right direction in addressing the increasingly complex issues around pension transfers, as well as ensuring firms can clearly demonstrate they have acted on the specific needs and overall circumstances of each client.
“With this in mind we are delighted to be working with OMW in the delivery of this new good practice programme, one that we are sure advisers will welcome as they strive to meet the growing demand for advice in this area and the consistent delivery of good client outcomes in line with regulatory and consumer expectation.”