The Forces Money Plan has just received a significant boost
Our profession has a huge amount to be proud of – one strong reminder of this came when I learned that the both the RAF Benevolent Fund and Armed Forces Pension Scheme want to join the pro bono confidential guidance initiative, Forces MoneyPlan.
The Forces MoneyPlan has been making strong progress since it was launched in June last year and the interest it has generated is a testament to both the need for this kind of pro bono guidance and the appreciation that exists for the professionals giving the service.
However, we cannot assume that everyone hears the good news and we have to be tireless in spreading it. In August, the Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee launched an inquiry into transparency in pensions, asking: ‘Do pension customers get value for money from financial advisers?’
Of course, we are able to answer the question with a resounding ‘yes’, citing the research sponsored by Royal London and conducted by the International Longevity Centre last year, which found that advice can benefit customers by £40,000; and the suitability studies published by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2017, which found that in 93% of cases the sector provides suitable advice.
Since the retail distribution review, we have seen powerful and consistent evidence that advisers can and do provide fantastic value for their clients. This is not only in terms of the money gained by investing for the long term in a tax-efficient way, but the benefit to clients’ overall wellbeing that comes from having a robust financial plan.
It is easy to forget how a few negative headlines can undo much of the work that is done by thousands of advisers every day and it is our job to make sure that the vast amount of positive work that our profession does for the public is never overlooked.
It is easy to forget how a few negative headlines can undo much of the work that is done by thousands of advisers every day
Of course, all this good work has to sit on strong technical foundations and we are working hard to support professionals in an ever-changing regulatory environment. For example, with increased numbers of income drawdown plans being taken out across the market, we are launching a guide to advised pension income drawdown. The market has produced good returns since the introduction of pension freedoms but good professionals know that volatility is a fact of life and have asked us for further commentary and clarification around good practice. I think the guide is a great example of clear, objective information and I would recommend it to anyone advising clients on income drawdown.
We are also continuing to progress with the Pensions Advice Taskforce. We have drawn together some of the most important figures in pensions – from the public sector, the market and standard-setting bodies. We are meeting every two months to develop a code of conduct for advisers that establishes good practice beyond the minimum legal and regulatory requirements, as well as a consumer-facing guide to help consumers understand what they can expect from a Pensions Advice Taskforce member and how they can find one.
As the holiday season comes to a close, the challenge of developing skills and building trust is more intense than ever. The good news is that people do appreciate your hard work and that is proved by the good news from the RAF Benevolent Fund and Armed Forces Pension Scheme.
For more information and to offer your feedback, please visit:
PFS member email: email@example.com
Pension Transfer Gold Standard: thepfs.org/ptgs
PFS financial planning and good practice: pfspower.org
ScamSmart: thepfs.org/scams Good practice hub: thepfs.org/good-practice
Follow us on Twitter: @pfsconf