Earlier this week the Personal Finance Society (PFS) launched The Pension Transfer Gold Standard.
The PFS website states: “The Gold Standard is a voluntary code of good practice for safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice, based around a set of principles.”
“Firms can adopt and promote this standard and principles, so consumers can better understand and find good advice, and be confident they are dealing with a firm that is going beyond minimum requirements when giving financial advice.”
So, if your business is actively giving this type of advice should you sign-up?
Yes, we believe you should.
Firstly, the code will help to promote best practice. Secondly, as Keith Richards, CEO of The Personal Finance Society said: “(it) helps consumers better understand what good advice looks like and where they can find it.”
Finally, your adoption of the code will help differentiate your business. However, that will only happen if you effectively promote the code. So, how can you do that?
Here are 14 things to consider:
1. Add the Gold Standard logo to your website’s homepage
Once you’ve adopted the code you can use the Gold Standard logo. Add it to your website in a prominent position, don’t hide it away in your website footer as too many firms still do with their Chartered logo.
2. Add the logo to other relevant pages
If your website has a ‘Why us’ (or similar) explaining the reasons why a client should work with you, this should be updated with your membership of the code. Furthermore, the logo should also be added to any pages which discuss Defined Benefit/Final Salary advice.
3. Explain more about the code
Create a new page on your website, or add text to a suitable existing page, explaining more about the code: What is it? How does your business comply? Why have you signed up? How will it benefit consumers and clients?
Wherever it appears on your website the logo should be linked to this page.
4. Promote the ‘Consumer Guide to the Gold Standard’
This is the last of the code’s nine principles. Include a link to the guide when you explain more about the code. Make sure the guide opens in a separate window, to ensure the website visitor can easily navigate back to your website once they have finished reading the guide.
5. Update your stationery
Add the Gold Standard logo to your business card, letterhead etc.
6. Don’t forget your email footers
Your email footer is seen by countless people every day, including existing and potential clients. Add the Gold Standard logo and link it to the page on your website explaining how the code works.
7. Update your social media profiles
Add the logo and an explanation about the code to your social media profiles. If possible, include a link to the explanation you wrote in recommendation three.
8. Update your directory profiles
For many firms, AdviserBook, Unbiased and VouchedFor are important sources of new business. If your profiles note that you give advice on Defined Benefit schemes update the text to explain that you have signed up to the code, what it is and how it benefits consumers.
You can also get creative with the images used on the directories to incorporate the Gold Standard logo. Feel free to get in touch if you need help with this.
9. Write and promote a blog on the topic
Once you receive confirmation that you’ve successfully adopted the code write a blog or news article explaining more. Including, why you are happy to have adopted the code, why you support it, what it means for consumers and how it will help to improve outcomes.
Add the piece to your website then send it to clients, prospects and professional connections via your newsletter and promote it on social media.
10. Record a video
Consider turning the blog into a short script and record a video, either professionally or using your mobile phone.
The short film could then be added to your website, promoted on your social media channels and sent to potential clients after they’ve got in touch (see 12, below).
11. Update your guides
If you produce a guide to Defined Benefit / Final Salary pensions as many firms who are active in this market do, add the logo in a prominent position along with an explanation of the key points.
12. Tell potential clients
When a potential client initially makes contact they will probably explain that they want to discuss their Defined Benefit or Final Salary pension. In your pre-meeting correspondence it’ll do no harm to explain to them you have signed up to the code.
You could do this by pointing them to the page on your website you created in by following our third recommendations. Alternatively, you could create a document explaining the code, why and how you adhere to it, and how it benefits them. This is another good opportunity to promote the ‘Consumer Guide to the Gold Standard’ published by the PFS.
13. Write a press release
Pension transfers are regularly in the news, all too often for the wrong reasons.
Consider writing a press release to send to local publications promoting the code and the fact you’ve voluntarily signed up.
14. Communicate internally
As this is a new code it’s unlikely many of your staff will know the details. It’s vital you train them on the key points so they can answer confidently if they are asked about it. Make sure your team can explain what the code it, why you’ve signed up, what you had to do to be accepted and how it benefits consumers. From potential clients to mystery shoppers, you never know who might ask!
First mover advantage
Advisers and planners will fall into distinct groups; the early adopters, followed by the early and then later majority with the laggards bringing up the rear.
It’s the early adopters who will get the most significant benefit from adopting the code. If you’re in that group the first step is to learn more about the code, which you can do by clicking here. If you decide to apply you can do so by clicking here.
Once accepted you can then work through the ideas in this blog or download them in our latest free checklist by clicking here.
If you would like our assistance or have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our digital, design and content team will be only too happy to help. They can be reached on 0115 8965 300 or by emailing [email protected]