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Transferring a pension balance into a SIPP
archie scott
Posted: 22 June 2016 07:49:18(UTC)
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I'm currently in the process of transferring a small pension balance over into my SIPP. As usual this is very tortuous process which is taking far too long. A scandal that the FCA really should be looking at. Anyhow the latest excuse my current pension plan managers Towers Watson have for delaying the transfer is they apparently need clearance from HMRC that my SIPP providers have a UK Registered Pension Scheme.
Although my current SIPP providers Bestinvest are well established, have dealt with the pension managers previously, have forwarded the scheme registration details, Towers Watson insist they must write to HMRC to get clearance on the scheme.
and you wonder why pension transfers take so long.
Has anyone else come across this sort of excuse before ?
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Sarah Cook on 04/02/2018(UTC)
Rob Guy
Posted: 22 June 2016 11:33:10(UTC)
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Hi A, yes I've done this twice ( pension admin) I wouldn't worry. They are all rubbish, but eventually it will be sorted and yes it should be easier and quicker.
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Sarah Cook on 04/02/2018(UTC)
S_M
Posted: 23 June 2016 08:57:44(UTC)
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archie scott;34302 wrote:
I'm currently in the process of transferring a small pension balance over into my SIPP. As usual this is very tortuous process which is taking far too long. A scandal that the FCA really should be looking at. Anyhow the latest excuse my current pension plan managers Towers Watson have for delaying the transfer is they apparently need clearance from HMRC that my SIPP providers have a UK Registered Pension Scheme.
Although my current SIPP providers Bestinvest are well established, have dealt with the pension managers previously, have forwarded the scheme registration details, Towers Watson insist they must write to HMRC to get clearance on the scheme.
and you wonder why pension transfers take so long.
Has anyone else come across this sort of excuse before ?


This sounds like they are fobbing you off to be honest. Every pension/SIPP provider has a unique HMRC reference. Normally there is a form where you have to detail this reference which confers the Bestinvest SIPP as a Registered Pension Scheme. It's not as if you are transferring to an unapproved scheme or an overseas pension such as a QROP.

Don't talk to me about Bestinvest mind, I bought an ETF for approximately £1,500 on Tuesday and somehow it has managed to lose 99% of it's value. Clearly a transactional error but as Bestinvest use a third party to run their platform, three phone calls and the threat of a complaint still hasn't resolved the issue. They don't seem to understand the principle of managing client expectations.

I can speak in authority as someone who used to administer and advise on company pension schemes.
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archie scott on 23/06/2016(UTC)
Jon Snow
Posted: 23 June 2016 19:28:10(UTC)
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I have transferred an EL private pension, an EL FSAVC and a DB scheme all to HL and transfers were made within 10 days or fewer and no mention of the item you queried. So it does seem to be delaying things.
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archie scott on 23/06/2016(UTC)
archie scott
Posted: 23 June 2016 21:10:55(UTC)
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I have to say that in my opinion what Towers Watson haven chosen to do is deliberately misinterpret HMRC guidelines to suit their own ends. Bestinvest have already provided them with the relevant HMRC number. However I'm simply caught pig in the middle. Towers Watson are clearly dragging out the whole process quite unnecessarily. The only option for me is to formally report them to the Pensions Ombudsman and not all hopeful they'd do anything. After a previous bruising encounter with the Ombudsmans Office as far as I could see they'd completely misinterpreted their role as being to provide an extra layer of protection to pension providers instead of applying a heft kick up the rear end.
THe interests of the consumer invariably get completely ignored.
S_M
Posted: 24 June 2016 16:30:03(UTC)
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I must say I am very surprised at Towers Watson, a very reputable Global Benefits firm. I think you may have just got unlucky, and spoke to someone who isn't very experienced.

If I had the choice of working for either firm, I would chose Towers Watson any day of the week over Bestinvest, who aren't a very professional firm.

archie scott
Posted: 24 June 2016 17:53:59(UTC)
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There's no doubt that some of the Towers Watson staff at the end of the food chain are quite inexperienced and just trot out what ever excuse has been fed to them. In this instance however the matter is now being dealt with by staff of a seniority who ought to know better - and they too are trotting out the same ridiculous excuse. I will be taking the matter to the Pensions Ombudsman but I've every confidence when I do that Towers Watson's disgusting behaviour will be exonerated on the basis that you can never be too careful there's a lot of cowboys out there. I know - Towers Watson are behaving just like one.
Thankfully I will never have any further dealings with this outfit
Clearly the concept of customer service has simply passed them by
S_M
Posted: 24 June 2016 18:07:44(UTC)
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archie scott;34442 wrote:
There's no doubt that some of the Towers Watson staff at the end of the food chain are quite inexperienced and just trot out what ever excuse has been fed to them. In this instance however the matter is now being dealt with by staff of a seniority who ought to know better - and they too are trotting out the same ridiculous excuse. I will be taking the matter to the Pensions Ombudsman but I've every confidence when I do that Towers Watson's disgusting behaviour will be exonerated on the basis that you can never be too careful there's a lot of cowboys out there. I know - Towers Watson are behaving just like one.
Thankfully I will never have any further dealings with this outfit
Clearly the concept of customer service has simply passed them by


Just out of interest did you hold a workplace/occupational pension plan with them?
Sarah Cook
Posted: 04 February 2018 13:16:30(UTC)
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archie scott;34302 wrote:
I'm currently in the process of transferring a small pension balance over into my SIPP. As usual this is very tortuous process which is taking far too long. A scandal that the FCA really should be looking at. Anyhow the latest excuse my current pension plan managers Towers Watson have for delaying the transfer is they apparently need clearance from HMRC that my SIPP providers have a UK Registered Pension Scheme.
Although my current SIPP providers Bestinvest are well established, have dealt with the pension managers previously, have forwarded the scheme registration details, Towers Watson insist they must write to HMRC to get clearance on the scheme.
and you wonder why pension transfers take so long.
Has anyone else come across this sort of excuse before ?



Hi I know this post was a few years ago but this is exactly what I said happening to me now. How long did you have to wait for the transfer to take place?
Sarah Cook
Posted: 04 February 2018 13:33:49(UTC)
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Rob Guy;34304 wrote:
Hi A, yes I've done this twice ( pension admin) I wouldn't worry. They are all rubbish, but eventually it will be sorted and yes it should be easier and quicker.



Hi how long did it take when you processed the transfer?
Sarah Cook
Posted: 05 February 2018 11:26:10(UTC)
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S_M;34443 wrote:
archie scott;34442 wrote:
There's no doubt that some of the Towers Watson staff at the end of the food chain are quite inexperienced and just trot out what ever excuse has been fed to them. In this instance however the matter is now being dealt with by staff of a seniority who ought to know better - and they too are trotting out the same ridiculous excuse. I will be taking the matter to the Pensions Ombudsman but I've every confidence when I do that Towers Watson's disgusting behaviour will be exonerated on the basis that you can never be too careful there's a lot of cowboys out there. I know - Towers Watson are behaving just like one.
Thankfully I will never have any further dealings with this outfit
Clearly the concept of customer service has simply passed them by


Just out of interest did you hold a workplace/occupational pension plan with them?


Hi did you transfer a pension with them at all? I'm stuck on the HMRC check also
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archie scott on 05/02/2018(UTC)
archie scott
Posted: 05 February 2018 15:03:50(UTC)
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Once TowersWatson had received back written confirmation that yes Tilneybestinvest were a legitimate company and were not cowboys, from memory the transfer then went ahead after another week or so.
Thankfully the last defined contribution occupational pension to be transferred so the likes of TowersWatson are nothing more than a very unpleasant memory. They wont be troubling me again.
I appreciate that certain investors not knowing enough about their pensions have been exploited. In turn however, in order to protect the innocent, firms such as TowersWatson in turn have chosen to exploit experienced investors in this quite unnecessary manner. Unfortunately just as TowersWatson trot out quite unacceptably that "you can never be too careful" - instead of giving them a mighty kick up the backside for such obvious heel-dragging - in what is clearly an exercise in covering backsides the Ombudsman backs them up saying that "yes such behaviour is quite all right by them as you can just never be too careful"
A shocking abdication of their duties / responsibilities towards pension holders in favour of supporting the Spanish practices of the pensions industry. And then they wonder why the pensions industry and Ombudsman's office are held in such low esteem.
4 users thanked archie scott for this post.
Sarah Cook on 05/02/2018(UTC), Mickey on 05/02/2018(UTC), Joe 90 on 05/02/2018(UTC), Guest on 18/02/2018(UTC)
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