Independent financial planning and wealth management company, The RU Group, has had its application to join the Personal Finance Society’s Pension Transfer Gold Standard approved by the Personal Finance Society (PFS).
The Pension Transfer Gold Standard is a voluntary code of good practice for safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice, based around a set of nine key principles. It has been set up to help consumers better understand what good advice looks like and where they can find it, in relation to their personal pensions.
Head of Advice at the RU Group, Ian Browne, commented: “Although we are already thoroughly committed to operating in a professional manner with our clients’ best interests at the heart of everything we do, our successful application to The Gold Standard gives our clients the extra confidence to know that they are being advised by a firm that goes beyond the minimum requirements when giving financial advice around pensions and pension transfers.”
The nine principles of the Pension Transfer Gold Standard are:
- Helping clients understand when advice is appropriate.
- Ensuring advice given supports the client’s overall wellbeing in the context of their stated objectives.
- Ensuring client understanding and acceptance of all charges.
- Ensuring the most appropriate and updated technical skills are applied.
- Transparent management of conflicts of interest.
- Helping clients in understanding the cost of transferring benefits.
- Avoiding unregulated investments and introducers*
- Transparency in advice processes and outcomes.
- Promoting the Consumer Guide to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard.
Ian Browne, added: “By embedding all nine principles of The Gold Standard within The RU Group, we are confident that our clients will be better prepared for discussions about what to do with their safeguarded benefits and this will lead to stronger, more informed, trust-based relationships”.
The PFS is the professional body for the financial advisory profession in the UK, whose role is to promote ethical behaviour, the highest standards of professionalism for technical knowledge and client service for the ultimate benefit of the profession and consumer alike. It has been instrumental in helping create the Pension Advice Taskforce and facilitates and promotes access to the Gold Standard on their behalf to both advisers and consumers alike.
CEO of The Personal Finance Society and MD of Engagement at The Chartered Insurance Institute, Keith Richards, said: “In recent years the increased complexity of the pension landscape has continued to present challenges to financial advisers and consumers alike. Whilst many consumers have been positively affected by the introduction of pension freedoms, it has also resulted in unintended and negative consequences, particularly in respect of defined benefit pensions.
“In direct response, the Personal Finance Society has brought together senior representatives of stakeholder organisations from across the industry in the form of the Pensions Advice Taskforce, to help raise standards and increase consumer protection in respect of the transfer of safeguarded pension benefits via the creation of a set of principles that underpin the Pension Transfer Gold Standard. This helps consumers better understand what good advice looks like and where they can find it.”
Headquartered in Nottingham’s ng2 Business, with offices in Derby and Sheffield, The RU Group employs over 70 members of staff members across Russell Ulyatt Financial Services, Greenhalgh Financial Services, Hart Shaw Financial Planning and Shevill Parkes Financial Services.
The Group has just celebrated a record-breaking financial year, achieving an almost 10 per cent increase on the previous year’s turnover and growing profits by 17 per cent, as well as surpassing £500 million of assets under management – its highest to date. It is also the third consecutive year that Russell Ulyatt Financial Services has achieved Chartered Status and it now has a record number of chartered staff with over 60% of advisors and paraplanners holding chartered status.
*Principle 7 – reference to ‘non-mainstream pooled investments and unregulated collective investment products’ within the Practitioner Guide does not apply to cash, or near cash investments held as part of a normal asset allocation. Reference to ‘unregulated introducers’ relates only to those that have a commercial interest or involvement with unregulated investments, thereby avoiding any undue influence in respect of the eventual investment strategy or fund used.