A blog post on defined benefit (DB) transfers from an adviser, published by Unbiased on Thursday, has been taken down following industry criticism it was "fairly one-sided and frankly incorrect".
The piece entitled ‘Stick or twist? Why you might trade in your final salary pension' was written by Sound Financial Planning managing director Paul Spires.
It described the 'many final salary scheme holders [that] feel, rightly or wrongly, that they are missing out.'
Spires said the 'fear of missing out' had intensified thanks to high transfer values incentivising more people to transfer out of their DB schemes. After listing the potential benefits of switching out, Spires continued to point out that 'many final salary schemes are in a precarious position', with the UK pension's deficit standing at £137bn.
He wrote: ''Guaranteed benefits' look much less attractive if the survival of the scheme itself isn't guaranteed.'
Unbiased's Twitter summary post said:
If you're worried about your final salary pension scheme falling into deficit, that may be a reason to trade it in: https://t.co/whx0jxvw76— Unbiased (@unbiaseduk) April 6, 2017
The post was met with a negative reaction from industry figures on Twitter, as advisers criticised the piece for making a "one-sided" case for DB transfers and questioned why it had been published.
Wingate Financial Planning director Alistair Cunningham wrote:
First Actuarial partner Mark Rowlinson wrote:
@unbiaseduk Rather biased piece playing up risks and down protection in DB schemes. And penalties for early retirement: misleading or DB not understood?— Mark Rowlinson (@markjrowlinson) April 6, 2017
Adcock Financial founder Peter Adcock said he was "amazed" Unbiased had published the piece and believed the piece should not "have been posted in the first place".
In response to Adcock's comment Unbiased tweeted:
Unbiased subsequently took the post down, tweeting:
@rorypercival In light of the feedback, this piece has been taken down.— Unbiased (@unbiaseduk) April 7, 2017
Among those who commented on Twitter was former Financial Conduct Authority technical specialist, turned consultant, Rory Percival, who later said it was a ‘sensible decision' to take the piece down.
Speaking to Professional Adviser, he said: "I read it and it was fairly one-sided and frankly incorrect in some places, so it's sensible Unbiased took it down fairly promptly.
"Overall, there is a lot of concern, quite rightly, that some advisers and commentators may not be viewing transfer cases in as balanced a way as they should."
Cunningham also spoke further on the issue, saying: "I am concerned by the amount of media attention that this topic is attracting and it's not necessarily balanced. It's inherently quite a complicated area and people are ‘dumming it down' a little too much."
The chairman isn’t answering his email
Reforms not enough
An economic cocktail
To encourage consumers to shop around
Will report to Pat Shea