The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has hit back at claims that its pension transfer gold standard checks are not rigorous enough to determine if firms comply with the principles.
Questions were recently raised about how quickly applications can be processed and whether or not the system could be open to abuse.
In response, Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, told International Adviser that once an adviser has applied for the gold standard, they are sent an email stating that it will take a couple of weeks to process the application.
During that time, the relevant checks are carried out.
The PFS’ gold standard was unveiled in April 2019 and asks firms to commit to a set of standards when managing defined benefit (DB) transfers.
Richards said that every financial adviser wishing to adopt the gold standard must complete an application form detailing their regulatory permissions to provide pension transfer advice.
Advisers also must confirm that they have the required professional indemnity insurance cover and that they will uphold the nine principles within the standard.
“The financial adviser must state they are not currently under any form of ongoing regulatory sanction by the regulator or accredited body in this field of advice,” Richards added.
“The Personal Finance Society then checks this information about the adviser with the Financial Conduct Authority. Once these checks are completed the adviser will receive an email confirmation.
“To complete the process, a financial adviser will need to make the changes necessary to their advice process to be able to comply with all the pension transfer gold standard principles.
“They may choose to register on the Money Advice Service Retirement Advisers database and they can also add a visible pension transfer gold standard logo to their marketing material and website.”
Registration is renewed on an annual basis and advisers should be prepared to provide evidence if called upon by either the CII, PFS or a body with delegated authority from the Pension Advice Taskforce that they have adopted the principles of the gold standard.