To explain a bit more about transfers and what’s involved, we asked Sarah Dibble, our in-house Transfers expert who spends her days walking that tightrope stretched between compliance and customer service, to discuss some of the frequent challenges she regularly meets while undertaking transfers on behalf of our clients and their advisers.
What are the biggest challenges when trying to transfer a client’s fund into a PSG SIPP?
Making sure companies have all the information they need to process the transfer is a huge part of the work involved and can be very time consuming, with lots of back and forth communication. Companies will often request additional information following the submission of the transfer paperwork which we can’t always second guess. The companies transferring schemes have a responsibility to transfer the money once requested by their client but PSG SIPP have no control/influence over what they need to do or how they carry out their own internal procedures and due diligence.
Would you say these challenges have become more significant in recent times and if so, what does that look like?
The pandemic has heightened the risk around transferring as scams have become more prevalent during this time, so naturally this is adding extra time to the process. Since a lot of offices are still closed, getting hold of companies by telephone or email remains a challenge. We also know that most companies are experiencing their own delays dealing with work, especially those related to defined benefits schemes.
What is a typical deadline expected by a client or their adviser?
Unfortunately, quite often their expectations around how long this process will generally take will be unrealistic. There is always a significant lag between the client signing the paperwork, us receiving it, submitting the request to their transferring scheme provider and awaiting completion of the transfer. It’s always difficult to put a time limit on this process because we simply don’t know how long the scheme provider will take to come back to us, what further questions they might ask, and simply when they will action the transfer. All we can do is what we already do, work quickly and diligently within turnaround times that I’m confident other providers can’t match.
What is a typical deadline delivered by a ceding provider?
Again, it is impossible to put a definitive timescale against this process, particularly when the client lives abroad. In such cases this is classed as a non-standard transfer to other companies and they need to complete extra due diligence.
In your considerable experience, what would you say are the most common mistakes that lead to unnecessary delays?
It is so important that client’s personal information such as address, and contact details are not only completed accurately in the paperwork provided to PSG SIPP, but also remain fully up to date with their current provider. Any slight discrepancy between the information we hold, and the ceding provider holds, will almost certainly mean extra time added to the transfer process. In fact, those kinds of discrepancies are likely to ring alarm bells with the Transferring Scheme in terms of pension liberation or fraud.
Providing proof of address to the existing provider or company can often lead to complications and delays as well. Each will have their own internal requirements of what they consider to be a suitable form of proof of address. These are not PSG SIPP requirements so the client/adviser will need to engage directly with the current provider to ensure that whatever they are submitting will be accepted.
It is also often the case that additional requirements are requested by companies which we are not told about in advance or they are not able to disclose to us, purely because they are following their own internal procedures, ensuring compliance and exercising caution on behalf of their client.
We’ve recently drafted a comprehensive Transfer Policy and detailed guidelines to transfers for our advisers and clients, in order to help them better understand what’s involved. To receive a copy of this simply email us at email@example.com