First Place Financial Ltd is a wholly Independent Financial Adviser practice and is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As a firm we are one of the few who specialize in pension transfers and we hold the required FCA qualifications and permissions in this complex area of advice.
We work strictly by appointment and are prepared to meet clients in their own homes up and down the country. Clients are free to contact us at any time through email, phone, text and WhatsApp.
Our main areas of expertise are;
All aspects of pensions can be covered including:
- Pension Transfers –from Defined Benefit Schemes (Final Salary) but also from other group Defined Contribution and Personal Pension Schemes.
- Retirement Planning – reviewing existing arrangements and targeting specific retirement ages/pension income requirements.
- Tax Free Cash otherwise known as Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS) – releasing cash from your pension funds. This is available from normal minimum pension age, currently age 55.
- Managing Client Pension Plan funds – choosing the best funds to invest in to meet your retirement plans without exposing you to unnecessary risk
- Flexi Access Drawdown plans – setting these up to allow access to your pension fund where you have direct control over the income taken.
- Alternatives to Pension Funds – other ways to provide retirement income, e.g. a buy to let property portfolio.
- Calculations – vital for those with significant income or pension funds already in place to avoid any potential tax charges. We can provide all the calculations surrounding your annual and lifetime pensions allowances as well as maximizing the use of available lifetime allowance protections.
Pension Scams. Please note.
There have been reports in the media about people being miss-advised into changing pensions and cashing in pension funds which is in essence driven by unscrupulous advice intent on generating as much commissions and fees as possible without regard for the clients. Also placing these funds in non pension schemes. Many have been stopped by insurance companies but of course some still get through. These cases are as a result of multiple cold calls to the potential clients and pressure selling. Please note that cold calling is not allowed and anyone cold calling is doing it on an illegal basis. These kind of goings on are a speedy way to exit the industry for those concerned.
Enquiry via Our Website
Please be advised that as a professional longstanding IFA business we work on an introduction basis by referral from others. When we are referred we ask the introducer to contact the referred person first to advise that we will call them so our call is expected. Likewise many clients advise us that they have passed our name on and to expect a call from particular friends or associates of theirs.
We also work on the basis of enquiries from this website which you are currently reading, where we will respond to the enquiry. By making the enquiry you are inviting a response from us which is not a cold call. If we are unable to contact you within three attempts we will no longer pursue your enquiry deeming it as not a serious enquiry and the onus will be on you to contact us at that point. We do not cold call or pressure people to act or make any decisions that are not beneficial to them. Each and every scenario has to pass through the required process to deem it suited and best advice.
When you make your enquiry it is only us that you will deal with, unlike some websites which sell your enquiry to an Independent Adviser Firm that you have never heard of. Also it is helpful if you include any information in the notes that you feel relevant, such as why you want to transfer or are thinking about it or amounts etc. Some people do not like to put in too much information which is also completely understandable. There is no limit to the amount that you can type in there and our site is secure.
Best advice is best advice for the client first and foremost. If we do not think it wise to transfer a pension scheme from one place to another then we will tell you so and why.
In some instances clients may not like the notion that it is not in their best interests to transfer a particular pension fund, of funds and therefore Insist that despite the advice given wish to make the transfer regardless, hence the term “Insistent Client”. On the basis that this is an occasional occurrence we are prepared to work with these clients as an exception to the rule but the reason for their insistence will be thoroughly documented on the file.
Inheritance Tax and Long Term Care Planning.
Inevitably pension planning is just one aspect of a client’s finances in retirement and at First Place Financial we always consider the bigger picture so that our advice does not conflict with a clients plans for themselves and any legacy they wish to leave.
Mortgages and Protection.
For clients who have maximised their pensions allowances we can arrange alternative sources of retirement income such as buy to let mortgages We can also provide advice on all aspects of personal and business protection, i.e. life assurance, critical illness, income protection, directors share protection and key man cover.
We believe in the principles of Treating Customers Fairly which is a key area of the FCA’s requirements.
We have many clients from all walks of life, and all over the country and we are a stable practice staff and adviser wise, meaning no regular turnover of advisers or staff. We are directly authorised so we can’t hide behind an adviser network. We look after our client’s needs on an individual basis as all clients are different and require different levels of looking after and we are friendly, approachable people who make time for our clients and new clients. We are not the biggest practice out there and sometimes too big is not so good as the individual care can be lost in the cogs. We do not handle clients money and we embrace technology where it is best suited.
In summary, if you want a wide ranging specialist totally independent financial adviser practice that puts you and your needs first and then looks after you on an on-going basis then we are for you. All clients are treated equally no matter how big or small a client they are.
Local adviser. Important or not?
Location of your adviser:
In the pre internet days maybe this was more important however now this is less important as most people do not want people coming round to their homes and prefer to deal via phone e mail, post and text as it is more convenient. Take car insurance: We all used to go to the local broker and get a price then buy it and it was an annual pilgrimage a real pain in the rear. As technology increased then this has shifted to on line in the main. We are no different. Make no mistake some people still want the local chap or a home visit. Whilst we may or may not be local a home visit is still not out of the question for pension business.
Some of our clients know what they want before they are clients and we can do much of the preliminary work before we meet and then when we meet to take care of all of the paperwork required to complete the application of the transfer or work undertaken. Our preference is face to face meeting as it allows firstly us to meet you and you to meet us so you know who you are dealing with and it is an easier way to ask questions and get direct answers. Also the forms required are many for these type of transactions so it is far easier to let us help you with them to ensure your full understanding and reduce any errors occurring.
Other clients prefer to have an initial meeting to discuss and then a second meeting to complete any paperwork once all of the information required is obtained. We are also fine with that no matter where you are in the country. We also keep you up to date via e mail or regular text messages during the process. Likewise we send out a report every quarter via e mail to all of our clients which is on an individual basis. If you need to contact us or speak to us we are a text, e mail or phone call away. Importantly we will not be pestering you and trying to sell you something that you do not need or require or chopping and changing your policies like some other firms seem to do.
Adviser issue aside you have to think where the money is going to end up. It won’t be in our bank account and it will never pass through our account, rather it will be with an insurance company of high repute so they won’t be on your doorstep either so it is less important now days whether we are on your doorstep either. You will have on line access to see your fund as and when you require (depending upon provider selected). What is important is the fact that the owner of the business have been in the insurance industry for the past 28 years so we are no flash in the pan as a firm and we have been trading as Independent since 1994. We are innovative and forward thinking and bearing in mind the changes coming to Financial Services Sector we are continually adjusting our structure to accommodate the rules and regulations plus we want our customers and new clients to receive a good fair deal when dealing with us from life assurance to pensions.
So what do we do for the money we will earn pension transfer wise?
We are fully qualified and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and we have the necessary permissions from the FCA to transact such business. Not all advisers are qualified in this area and likewise not all firms have these permissions.
Firstly we need to understand what you are looking to achieve and why. Form a pension enquiry point of view we need to follow the process below.
We have to establish exactly what you have got pension wise as there have been many different schemes over the years. Our process is robust and thorough and involves the same workload for Final Salary Schemes or other pension types. This will involve us contacting each of your providers be they a personal pension or a company scheme or simply just a single provider. For this we will need your signed authority to do so which we will e mail to you. You will need to return this to us by posting it to us as many pension companies require an original signature.
We have a standard question form as a starting point, which we send to each provider along with your authority to ask questions and receive information.
We will need to establish what the scheme is. For example a Final Salary Scheme, Group Personal Pension, Personal Pension, Stakeholder, Executive Pension Plan (EPP), Small Self Administered Scheme SSASS.
We will also be able to establish what kind of money makes up these schemes such as your contributions, any employer contributions, State Contributions such as SERPS or S2P opt outs, any previous transfers in from other schemes.
We will check if there are any safeguarded benefits such as SERPS or S2P money, early retirement options, any guaranteed benefits such as enhanced PCLS, guaranteed annuity rates. We need to fully understand what your safeguarded benefits are, should you have any and ensure that you know what they are, what they will do for you, and the effect a transfer would make. In essence benefits that could be lost on a transfer as we would not want you to be disadvantaged and regret such a transfer in the future.
We will also identify the other scheme benefits such as spouses pension, Guarantee periods, Death in service amounts payable. Also early retirement and the penalty to do so.
We will also seek a capitalised value of the scheme known as the transfer value. This is the total value of all benefits in that scheme as a lump sum to transfer to a new scheme.
In some cases an underperforming GMP (Serps Fund) fund cannot be transferred in the instance there is a shortfall in existing fund provider performance so the new provider will not take on the guarantee shortfall which stops a transfer in its tracks. We have come across this on more than one occasion previously. If it is not viable to change or transfer your fund based on our research then we will tell you and the reasons why it is not beneficial for you to switch a particular pension.
We also request all of the necessary discharge and transfer forms from the current scheme providers for you.
Once we have all of the necessary information about your scheme or schemes we can then apply this information into our Transfer Value Analysis System to compare the benefits and see if the fund is viable to transfer for you, which also takes into account the new provider.
We will also provide you with a suited pension policy to receive the fund, and an investment portfolio which will be in line with your requirements and attitude to risk.
We will at our meeting go through all of the information we have with you face to face, ensure that you understand it and what you are doing and if we proceed forward then we will help you to complete all of the paperwork for you. We will also provide you with a comprehensive reason why letter which will summarise all of the information and recommendations made
Once back in the office we will submit and track all applications and ensure that the fund or funds are transferred from the current provider or providers into your new plan. This is a process that can take a while especially of the fund is coming from a Final Salary Scheme as they need to dis-invest.
Pension Scheme trustees if it is a final salary scheme especially usually require proof that you have taken advice from an Independent Financial Adviser, and that the Adviser and Firm is authorised to carry out such business. We are, of course and see this as a benefit fo customers as it reduces the risk of pension fraud we have previously mentioned.
In some cases clients remember they were in a scheme but have no information so we have a form to try and track down schemes for clients known as a pension tracing form.
Company Schemes will in general provide the information once per year for free. This information needs acting on because it usually has a 3 month guarantee period and after this the scheme will charge a fee to produce another one in the same 12 month period. There is no point in you obtaining a transfer figure from your provider if we are instructed in the last 2-3 weeks before it runs out of time because the quote is based on the scheme receiving the request with all of the correct paperwork by that date from the transferring scheme and there will not be sufficient time for us to do all of the things we need to do and the same applies to the transferring scheme. If a fee is due then this is charged to the applicant because all transfers are based on up to date information.
We can visit you to complete the paperwork at your home if you require but our charging structure is geared a first home visit free of charge and following communication during the process a second home visit to complete the application forms. If a second home visit is not to complete the paperwork then by agreement prior to the meeting a home visit fee will apply which is a standard rate of £199.00 payable on the day. The reason for the fee for the home visit is to cover increased fuel fees, food and accommodation plus the journey time as necessary as our main gearing is to complete the process via two face to face meetings.
We use only companies of high repute for Pension transfers and as such we do not handle your pension fund money directly so there is no chance we will run off with it.
We will liaise with all companies concerned to make sure that the funds are moved speedily and the funds received are the correct funds and keep you up to date with proceedings either by e mail or by text whichever is your preference so you will know exactly where we are in the process.
We will provide you with a Reason why Letter which will outline the reasons why we have undertaken this transaction coupled to copy of all of our research. We will post you the policy document along with a receipt for the document to be signed and returned for our files. Some insurance companies send these out directly to you instead of sending them to us. In these instances we will not hold a copy on file.
We will charge a fee equivalent to 4% of the transfer value to complete a pension transfer. If the fund is particularly large we can negotiate a suitable fee by special arrangement. Fund large or small our workload is the same but each fund and transfer affects our PII Insurance premium and our fees to investor compensation via the FCA levy and the FCA fee charged each year so we have to anticipate this in our charging structure. The PII Insurance, FCA Levy and FCA Fees do not get any cheaper each year and are a contributory factor in our charging structure.
After completion of the Pension Transfer we will receive a fund based fee equal to 1% of the fund per year which is paid to us monthly at the rate of 1/12th of 1% per month so on a fund size of £100,000.00 for example we would receive £1,000.00 per year. This will vary depending upon the fund value. For this we will review your funds and provide you with a quarterly statement via e mail so you can see how your funds are doing. We will also advise upon fund selection and check to ensure these are within your attitude to risk. The volume of funds we have under management is of no individual concern as you, the client are concerned about your fund not everyone else’s however as a guide we manage funds for clients totalling in the millions.
Should you have any further information requests or questions regarding our fees please contact us.
Hi, I’m Howard Ginn
I have been in the industry since 1989. I first started work for Laurentian Life and then moved onto Royal London, Citi Bank and then Commercial Union which is today known as Aviva. In 1994 I set up Highgate Financial Consultants with a colleague and then in 1995 set up Westcountry Financial Ltd which was regulated by the Personal Investment Authority.(PIA). In 2006 I decided to re brand and register directly with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as it was and therefore First Place Financial Ltd was launched which remains to this day now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
What do our customers say about us?
We love our customers and are fully dedicated to keeping their trust by providing them with the best advice to fit their needs.
Dear First Place Financial Ltd
Thank you for your help with my transfer. I have now been able to use the Tax Free Cash to reduce my mortgage which has made me better off each month. Things are looking up.
Having bought my flat from the council a few years ago they decided to re roof the block and whilst it was free to council tenants, those like me who had bought in good faith were sent a bill from the council for our share of the cost. Thanks to your help we were able to get his money by way of Tax Free Cash from one of my old pensions and we were able to settle the council bill without any further borrowing. Now the income pays for a nice holiday each year.
We asked for help regarding our retirement planning. First Place Financial Ltd were able to check every policy that we had and then offer relevant and clearly understandable advice to us about what we can and can’t do and as such we formulated a plan which was best for us. Thank you so much for all of your help.