Just Group has launched a business in a bid to transform the way trustees, members and financial advisers implement and participate in scheme transfer exercises.
The provider said HUB Pension Solutions - a wholly owned business within Just Group - has been created in a bid to help trustees, employee benefit consultants and regulated financial advisers facilitate more efficient defined benefit (DB) scheme member transfers.
The business provides a member education portal enabling the financial advisers who support DB transfers to generate transfer value analysis (TVAS) more efficiently, by speeding up the process and minimising the risk of errors.
HUB Pension Solutions director Graeme Riddoch said one of the major risks currently is members not understanding the at retirement options on offer.
Riddoch explained Just Group's platform - designed and built with the help of Spence & Partners - enables members to enter and see all their scheme specific information - through real-time access to their up-to-date individual scheme benefits - and allows them to review and compare alternative pathways as well as compare their pension estimates at a range of retirement ages.
For example, he said: "if an advisor is trying to support a member they might not have all the information they need… if the members says they want to retire at age 63 instead of 65, the advisor has to go back to the pension scheme and say ‘can you tell me what the early retirement factors are for 63'. About three weeks later the scheme gives the information.
"But with our system, everything you need to know is embedded in there and the scheme information enables advisors to serve more customers and more schemes. It's a much more efficient process because it's all loaded at the front and runs all the way through."
"I've seen grown advisers cry when we've shown them this," he added.
Spence & Partners director David Davison added that the HUB Pension Solutions is a game changer. "Currently generating transfer value analysis for a large scheme can take months, it's done in an archaic way and costs too much.
"The service integrates with Spence's administration platform allowing accurate, up-to-date member data to be interrogated in real time. This will radically speed up delivery times and reduce cost," he said.
According to Hymans Robertson partner and head of member options Ryan Markham, there is a real need for more suppliers in the TVAS market.
Commenting on the announcement, Markham said: "The advice process is often hit by delays due to a lack of providers able to produce this information and we would welcome any solution that improves the experience for members.
"Technology is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the industry by providing quality information quickly and when members need it. As this thirst for on-demand information increases, solutions such as this will have an increasingly valuable role to play," he continued. "From a trustee and company perspective, these solutions provide a safe environment to educate and inform members while protecting them from scammers. They can also help filter members so that only those for whom a transfer value could be the right option incur the costs of quality financial advice."
In response to a freedom of information request, The Pension Regulator recently said DB pension schemes had reported approximately 72,700 transfers in the period from 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018.
And, in a recent report - A better future for members, supporting good retirement choices - Hymans Robertson found that 95% of trustees and sponsors were concerned about the consequences of their members getting inadequate support for their retirement choices. They noted that there was too much confusion among trustees and scheme sponsors about whose door the responsibility for educating and supporting member choices falls at.
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