Clarity needed around expressions of wishes

10 May 2022

Less than one in three advisers believe providers offer enough clarity around expressions of wishes, according to Curtis Banks.

The self-invested pension provider said just 28% of attendees at its recent webinar felt pension providers gave clear and consistent information about how to complete expressions of wishes.

This is despite 38% of advisers with clients who had inherited a lump sum death benefit and 54% of advisers who had clients who had inherited funds in beneficiaries’ drawdown.

Jessica List, pension technical manager at Curtis Banks, said the findings of its research suggests it’s not a matter of providers giving incorrect information about death benefits but rather that firms have found different approaches to tackling the complex rules and different ways to explain them to customers.

List says it is important that providers are as flexible as possible with expressions of wishes so that advisers and their clients can make plans that work for their individual circumstances, while ensuring that clients are not overwhelmed with a wealth of options.

The research also found that 35% of advisers had been approached by prospective clients seeking advice after inheriting money.

List said: “I think providers consistently emphasise the important role expressions of wishes play in death benefits planning, however, it also seems that across the industry there are different approaches to helping people navigate the complexities of the current rules. This can lead to advisers and their clients feeling that they’ve received mixed messages and rather than helping, can end up adding to the confusion instead.”

Karl Osmond, managing director of Elite Private Wealth Management Ltd, commented: “We believe in getting family members involved with succession planning – not only to build new relationships but also because it’s the best way to help our clients’ plans come to fruition as smoothly as possible when the time comes. If we can help whole families with holistic planning across generations it can provide better outcomes for the clients as well as making good business sense.”

Professional Paraplanner