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Beverly Chandler

International advisers face challenges with overseas pension transfers

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A new survey from Old Mutual International finds that 38 per cent of international advisers who carry out pension transfer business believe a review of the new rules is required in light of numerous challenges.

Just 20 per cent of advisers did not think a review was required and the remaining 42 per cent of advisers were not sure. This suggests there would be widespread support for a review of overseas pension transfers by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
Under the new rules, introduced in April 2015, final salary pension transfers must receive ‘appropriate independent advice’ from someone who is authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to carry out pension transfer business. This has led to a number of overseas advisers linking up with advisers in the UK for their pension transfer business. The UK adviser will be the person responsible for the pension advice.
 
The research shows the majority (56 per cent) of those international advisers who advise on pension transfer business have faced challenges under the new requirements. The biggest challenge was clients not wanting to pay an additional fee to a UK adviser. Another challenge was not having links with any UK adviser firms. International advisers also raised concerns over liability and who would be to blame if things went wrong.
 
The research shows that 69 per cent of international advisers have successfully linked up with UK advisers. This figure includes a mix of those who do (28 per cent) and those who do not (41per cent) have a business connection with the firm they have linked with (for instance they may be part of the same group). 14 per cent of advisers have not found a UK adviser firm to link with yet but will keep looking. 9 per cent of advisers have decided to stop writing this type of business.
 
The DWP is aware that the requirement to take advice from an FCA-authorised adviser may create practical difficulties to people who are now living overseas. The DWP will consider what further action is required following the outcome of the Financial Advice Markets Review, which will consider what can be done to improve access to advice at affordable levels.
 
Jon Greer, pensions technical manager at Old Mutual Wealth, says: “The research is an interesting insight into how advisers are feeling now the new pension transfer requirements have been introduced. A surprisingly high number of overseas advisers have already successfully linked up with UK adviser firms but the number of advisers who have faced challenges is alarming. It is imperative that clients are not detrimentally impacted, so we would welcome a review by the Department for Work and Pensions.”
 

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