Helping you find pensions advice

Throughout your life you're likely to have or need different financial products. Your pension is one of these products. A financial adviser can help you understand your pensions and make the right decisions.

While advice isn't free and DIY options are available, if you're unsure what to do with your pension, or you aren’t confident doing the research yourself, an adviser can help you get it right.

Why should I take advice?

When you come to take a pension, your pension scheme will send you lots of forms and tell you all about "flexible" options, often with some complex words thrown in. Your choices might seem overwhelming and it can be hard to know which option is best for you. 

Some options are more straightforward than others but knowing what to do can be a headache. Often once you've made your mind up you can't go back. 

Even before you get to this stage, you might want help deciding:

  • whether you can afford to retire?
  • what will happen if you take a pension and keep on working for a while?
  • should I bring different pensions together into one pot?
  • what will my State pension be?

An adviser, or firm can give you advice on your pension options and products so you can pick the best options tailored just for you. The sort of advice you might need will depend on the type of pension you have.

Defined Benefit (or final salary) pensions

This type of pension pays you an income for life and sometimes a tax-free lump sum. While taking your pension in this way can often be the best choice, you can still access it in a range of flexible ways, You might want to:

  • receive a flexible income, that goes up and down when you need it to
  • receive an income for a set period of time
  • take a number of cash lump sums over a few years
  • take your whole pension in one go, as one lump sum

If you want to take advantage of one of these options, you need to take financial advice first, This is the law, it's to make sure you understand any guarantees you might give up. 

Defined contribution (or money purchase) pension pots

Until April 2015, once you'd taken a tax-free lump sum from your pension pot your only choice was to buy a guaranteed income for life. Now, you have lots of ways you can take your pot. Each one has different tax rules and investment risks. You should also check what gets left to your loved ones when you die.

You can still use your pot to buy a guaranteed income for life, but you can also choose to:

  • receive a flexible income, that goes up and down when you need it to
  • receive an income for a set period of time
  • take a number of cash lump sums over a few years
  • take your whole pension in one go, as one lump sum
  • leave your pot invested and take it later

Sometimes you can set this up yourself, but you might want advice deciding which option is best for you, or how to go about setting this up. If you aren't sure how the tax works for each option, or want to make sure your loved ones are covered when you die, we recommend you get an adviser to help you.

How we can help you find pensions advice
LV= Retirement Advice Service

We have partnered with LV= to give you impartial pensions advice. They know and understand all our pension schemes so they are up to speed with how your pension works. This makes the process of advice quicker and easier.

You can have an initial talk with an LV= pension specialist for free. You can speak to them at any time during your working life, and at any age. They will help you decide whether you need financial advice.

LV= can help you with:

  • whether you should transfer pensions or join pensions together
  • what you should do with your defined benefit pension
  • how best to use your defined contribution pension pot
  • how to take advantage of flexible retirement options

Find out more about how LV= can help you.

Should I use LV=?

LV= will explain all your options and tell you what they think you should do and why. You don't have to go ahead with their recommendations.

If LV= recommend taking a flexible retirement option, they can set this up for you but only through their LV= Flexible Transitions Account. This is called "restricted" as they won't help set you up with an account with another provider. If you already have an account with another pension provider, such as a Self Invested Personal Pension (or SIPP), they will check whether their Flexible Transitions Account is better than what you already have, and advise you which one is best.

The good thing about using LV= is they have access to over 2500 investment funds, all of which they check and know they can trust. But, there are other places you can go. If you like or know other places, you might want to use an adviser who can set this up for you. 

LV= carry out most of their advice on the phone and by email. They will talk to you as many times, and for as long as you need to understand their advice and your options. For most people this is the way they prefer to receive advice. If you would like to speak to someone face-to-face there is an extra fee for this. If you need or prefer face-to-face advice, it might be easier and cheaper to find someone in your local area.

You can contact LV= at our dedicated Church of England phone number or email address:

0800 0223 969 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm)

[email protected]

If you feel you need advice, speak to LV= first and they will come to us for any information they need about your pension.

How much does advice cost?

If you speak to LV= and feel you do need advice, they will let you know you how much this will cost. Their fee is very competitive. It may be much less than finding your own adviser.

Whether you use LV= or find your own adviser, the cost of advice will always be agreed with you first. The cost and how you pay will vary depending on which adviser you pick. There are 3 ways to pay:

Fixed fee

This is how LV= set their advice fee. These fees are charged each time you go to the adviser for different 'projects', such as consolidating your pensions, or investing. These are best if you don't want ongoing advice and just need help at a specific time.

This is the most transparent way you pay fees. You know what the fee is up front and pay this before you receive your advice, so there are no hidden or extra costs. It also means your adviser is not incentivised to offer you options where they receive more fees.

Percentage fee 

This is based on a percentage of the money you want advice on or managed.

You'll usually pay an initial percentage charge for becoming a client and investing your money, then an ongoing percentage charge for each year that they continue to manage your money. This percentage can range anywhere from 0.5% to 5%, so make sure you ask.

If you consolidate your pensions with LV= and use their drawdown platform to access and invest your pensions, they will charge you a percentage fee, but they will discuss this with you before you go ahead.

Hourly charge 

Some advisers are moving more to a model which resembles solicitors or accountants and charging on an hourly basis.

If you choose to go down this route, make sure you're given a full breakdown of the work they've done and how long it took. Hourly rates can be anything from £50 to £250 so make sure you ask this before you go ahead.

How to find my own adviser

You don’t have to use LV=. You can find an adviser who is local to you. First things first, speak to family and friends and find out if they've used an adviser in your local area. Of course, just because they've had a good (or bad) experience with them, it doesn't mean that you'll have the same experience, but it's certainly a good starting point.

After that, you can find an adviser in your area at www.unbiased.co.uk   

Unbiased has a network of 27,000 advisers - just enter your postcode and it will list your local advisers.

It also allows you to search by speciality, gender, payment options, advice areas, level of wealth and adviser qualifications, so you can find the best adviser. The site does a weekly check to verify all advisers are registered with the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

DIY options - doing my own research

You don’t have to speak to an adviser, but even those who know a lot about pensions still often speak to an adviser to make sure they make the right choice.

If you want to do your own research first, there are lots of free and helpful places at hand.

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service is a great place for impartial guidance on all money issues, not just pensions.

www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/

Pension Wise

Pension Wise will help guide you on your pension options, but only if you have a defined contribution pension pot and you are over 50. They can let you know how your options work, and which options are tax free and which aren’t. You can speak to them face-to-face if you want to.

www.pensionwise.gov.uk/

The Pensions Advisory Service

TPAS is a great place if you are looking for help with a defined benefit pension. They can also help with defined contribution pots too. If you have a complex question about your pension, or your pension provider this can be the best place to start.

www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/

How can the Pensions Board help me?

We can still help you with your pension, but we can’t tell you what you should do. This is where an adviser comes in.

You can talk to us if you:

  • would like to boost your pension by paying AVCs - come to us to set this up or change what you pay
  • are interested in finding out what your pension might be if you retire on a particular date
  • are retiring and want to take your pension – ask us for retirement application forms
  • are in poor health and would like ill health retirement figures
  • have general questions about your pension with us

Contact us

We are here to help. You can contact us by:

Telephone: 020 7898 1802 (9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday)

Email: [email protected]england.org