The PFS Gold Standard and Top Tips for PII renewal

Top advice
6m read
Apr 2019
Ian Beestin

Since its launch in 2018 advisers have used Money Alive’s platform to deliver around 4,000 educational journeys to clients comprising over 35,000 videos. Our aim at outset was to support advisers with better risk management, better client engagement and business efficiencies. This is why we are proud to support and be included in the PFS Pension Transfer Gold Standard.

Any consumer who goes to the PFS consumer site will be made aware of the standards, they will be able to select an adviser who holds the Gold Standard (through the MAS website) and also watch a Money Alive Summary Video. As part of the Gold Standard, more and more consumers will become aware of the Money Alive service.

To find out more and join, see the PFS article.

Money Alive fully supports the aims and objectives of the Gold Standard. The Money Alive platform also gathers detailed MI helping to support Principle 8. Our platform supports Principle 1 of the Standard, enabling advisers to engage and educate their DB review clients with interactive, PMI accredited video journeys. Through its meticulous record keeping the Money Alive platform can help firms:

  • reduce their commercial and regulatory risk
  • improve their conversation with their PII provider
  • meet FCA rules including PS18/20 for DB triage

If you’re not an existing client of Money Alive and would like to see how the product is used, see our product demo.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)

Over the last year we have spoken to many firms about their PII renewal and there has certainly been a lot of press commentary around this over that period. It is undoubtedly a harder market but with proper planning it is still possible to get cover for this class of business.

We have asked leading professionals to give us their ‘Top Tips’ to assist Advisers / Firms with their renewal. It is also essential that you keep accurate records of all DB pension transfer enquiries including those that did not proceed to receiving advice.

Daniel Kelly – Director, Onyx Insurance Brokers

If you listen to the Prudential Webinar, “Defined Benefit transfer advice – achieving good client outcomes and managing commercial risk” you will hear Dan speak in depth about PII. It was great to hear Dan confirm that insurers look positively on the Money Alive process:

We have insurers in the market now that, if you use Money Alive, will take a far more positive view of your risk.

Dan Kelly, Onyx Insurance

Dan’s Top Tips

  • Engage with a specialist PII broker early. Do they have access to more than one relevant insurer? Do they place business with numerous relevant insurers? Do their Insurers provide cover for Defined Benefit Pension Transfers?
  • The current market for Financial Advisers is small. Approaching numerous brokers is unlikely to create any benefit for you and may well harm your chances of obtaining terms. That is why it is vital that you deal with a specialist broker who has direct access to the relevant Insurers.
  • Once you have selected your broker, ensure you are in dialogue with them regarding your renewal at least three months in advance. Be organised.
  • Find out exactly what information your current and new Insurers will want. Do not just provide the minimum.
  • A neat, clear and concise presentation is essential. A messy presentation suggests a lack of effort / care which in-turn could lead to an underwriter making the assumption that this "lack of effort / care" could also occur when dealing with clients. This is your opportunity to showcase your business. Remember that capacity in the market is reducing, so you are in theory competing with your peers for Insurer's capacity and time.
  • If you do undertake Defined Benefit Pension Transfers, you should ensure that you keep a record of the Defined Benefit Pension Transfers that have been undertaken in a format agreed by Insurers. Furthermore, it is suggested that you clearly explain your philosophy on undertaking Defined Benefit Pension Transfers and the compliance function surrounding said business.
  • If you receive multiple quotations, ensure your broker clearly explains the pros and cons of each. Do not just go for the cheapest.
  • Ask questions about the Insurer. Some brokers have recently placed their clients with unrated Insurers (at cheap premiums) only for those Insurers to then leave the market.
  • With regards to Defined Benefit Pension Transfers, are there any restrictions? If so, try and provide the broker with additional information so that they can attempt to remove these on your behalf.
  • FOS Limit – what is the Insurer's current view? Do you have the full limit for ALL advice post 1 April 2019

Russell Facer – MD, threesixty Services:

Russell’s Top Tips

When looking to renew your PII cover think of it like selling your business to a potential acquirer. You want the proposition to look as good as it can do – both in terms of presentation but also in content.

As with any business the content can sometimes include areas that require more explanation, typically areas of risk that may put off an acquirer/insurer, but there could be a very good reason why the firm has this risk as part of its business. For example, a previous acquisition or business area that the firm wished to support very specific clients with. Whatever the area, recognise this could be a concern or deal breaker for the other party. Rather than look to hide the information be open in that you recognise the risk and highlight what steps you have taken to minimise it; for example increased processes, specialist training or third party reviews. Underscore that the firms culture reflects that you are a good risk for the insurer to be taking. We would typically suggest doing this in a cover letter to accompany the proposal, but make sure this is to the point and no more than 2 pages long.

Offering up solutions to the concerns they may identify and your availability to discuss any areas they wish further, highlights your openness and culture. Give yourself time to prepare a good application as this will put you in the best possible light – 3 months in advance of your renewal allows time for good discussions with your broker and underwriter if desired. Remember if you were doing the acquiring or underwriting, what would you like to know and how would you be reassured?

See also