Pension advice

How can we help?

We are based in Boston Spa, but offer comprehensive independent pension advice to clients across the UK.

Sad as it might be to admit, we live and breathe pensions. Whether it is how to invest them, or the vagaries of tax relief, or the intricacies of the Annual and Lifetime Allowance, we just find pensions a little bit fascinating.

Part of their appeal is that they are just such a wonderfully efficient way of saving money, in tax terms, as well as the most attractive way of passing money, free of inheritance tax, to your heirs. No other mainstream product offers such attractive tax benefits as a pension.

However, there are two major problems:

  1. In general, people pay far too much in charges on their pension, either to the pension provider, the fund management companies, or their adviser (or, frequently, all three).
  2. Most people are either taking far too much risk with their pension investments, or not nearly enough risk.

Our ongoing pension advice service solves both of these problems.

We offer a free assessment of your existing pensions including no-obligation recommendations as to what you should do with them, including:

  1. Whether you should stick with your current providers (the best choice if the fees and fund choice are acceptable) or move to a new pension company.
  2. Whether you should consolidate several of your existing pensions into one policy (not usually necessary, but can be a great benefit to some clients)
  3. Whether you should make changes to the funds you own in your pensions
  4. How to maximise the tax relief you get on your contributions, while avoiding breaching the Annual or Lifetime Allowances.
  5. How to take money out of your pension in the most tax efficient way possible (e.g. via "income drawdown", lump sum withdrawals or a lifetime annuity).
  6. How to ensure that your pension lasts your lifetime.
  7. How to use a pension to leave assets to your partner and/or children.

We can then, if you choose, become registered as the adviser on your pensions, which allows us to manage your investments for you, making regular reports on the performance of your pension funds with recommendations as to what funds to buy and sell.

Please note that we only advise on money purchase (defined contribution) pensions valued at £100,000 or more. We also only offer advice where you wish us to manage your pension on an ongoing basis. We do not offer one-off advice and we do not offer advice on defined benefit pensions.

Here are some examples of what we offer, and what the costs involved might be:

Advice on consolidating "defined-contribution" pensions

  • If you are considering consolidating your existing money-purchase pension pots into one scheme we will provide a free assesment of whether this in your interests or not. In some cases consolidating pensions can result in you paying higher charges or losing valuable guarantees and we will help you avoid this. We will then, where appropriate, provide ongoing advice on the investments held within your pensions.
  • Cost: No cost for initial assessment. If we transfer/consolidate one or more of your pensions then our transfer advice charge varies with the size of the pension value. Our charge typically ranges from 1% of the fund value for smaller pensions down to 0% for large pensions where we are going to provide ongoing advice.

Advice on what investments to hold within an existing pension

  • If you are concerned that the funds (or equities) that you hold within your pension may be too risky, or not risky enough, or too expensive, then we can help. We will assess your existing investments, ask you about your appetite for risk and your ability to withstand losses, and design a suitable portfolio for you. We will then provide ongoing advice, with regular performance reports and recommendations on when to switch funds as stockmarkets rise and fall.
  • Cost: No cost for initial assessment and no initial cost for taking on the role of adviser on your existing pensions. The annual ongoing cost of our advice ranges from 0.2% of assets to 0.5% of assets, depending on the size of the funds involved.

Retirement income planning

  • If you are about to retire, or already have, and want to know how best to use your pensions to secure your income in retirement, we can help. We will ask you about how much risk you are happy to take with your retirement income, and what your spending needs are, and then make recommendations as to whether you should use "flexible access drawdown", a "lifetime annuity" or a "fixed term annuity" (or a combination of these) to achieve your aims.
  • Cost: No cost for initial assessment. If we arrange an annuity then the initial charge typically ranges from 0.5% to 1.5%. If we arrange income drawdown then the initial charge ranges from 0% to 1%.

Why choose Harris Independent Financial Advice?

Matthew has worked in the pensions industry for more than twenty years, and has been responsible for investing pension assets worth over a billion pounds on behalf of clients during his time at companies such as Standard Life and Scottish Widows. He is a Chartered Financial Planner, and holds qualifications in pension planning at advanced level via the Chartered Insurance Institute and Personal Finance Society, as well as being an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK. With pensions regulations constantly changing he also ensures that he keeps up to speed via regular study, industry forums, and continuous professional development. Most importantly Matthew can offer you a friendly, intelligent and responsive service, as reflected in the testimonials of existing clients.

What do our customers say? (click here for all our customer testimonials)

"We had spent years fretting over our pension provision when we finally bit the bullet and contacted Matt. He came out to see us that week and expertly led us through all the issues that had been confusing us. We are now confident we are putting enough away each month to ensure a reasonably comfortable retirement." Iain and Kara Harrison

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Pension advice, Boston Spa and across the UK

Independent financial advice. Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA no. 603653). A brand of Dalbeath Financial Planning Ltd (company no. SC450460)