MONEY MATTERS: By Scott Woods

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Good advice is more important than ever

This week I have seen clients who could have been disadvantaged had they not walked through our doors.

The first had been cold-called by a telephone pension company, who after 15 minutes had ascertained his pension plan was unsuitable, poorly performing and should be transferred.

The relevant forms were sent out, including where it should be transferred to, although there was no illustration, no key features documents and no indication of any costs involved.

Luckily the existing scheme recommended he speak with an IFA before signing. We looked at his plan, which although not providing stellar performance, was ticking over nicely.

It also had the potential for a large terminal bonus and had hugely valuable guarantees built in that would provide an income nearly double that of current annuities. These would have been lost upon transfer.

I rang the new company and ascertained that they do not actually give advice and that the responsibility for any changes lie with the client. The existing pension has stayed put and we are overseeing it.

Secondly, I met a couple who had arranged their mortgage life cover through their bank. The cover was for the right amount and for the correct term, but the monthly premium seemed high for the benefits. We were able to reduce the monthly cost from £90 to just over £56 – a £4,500 saving over the policy’s term.

Thirdly, we have had clients in whose banks no longer have advisers in branch to help with investments. Whether it’s £5,000 or £500,000 the need for impartial, independent, hands-on advice is of paramount importance.

So don’t delay, review your policies of whatever type to ensure they are fit forpurpose.