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  • FIRST POST
    Spruance
    Portal Financial Services LLP
    • #1
    • 14th Jan 15, 1:29 PM
    Portal Financial Services LLP 14th Jan 15 at 1:29 PM
    This morning I received a letter from Portal Financial Services, of Rochester, Kent. A company that I have never heard of and hence with whom I have had no prior dealings. As far as I can tell they are not linked to any of the other financial institutions that I have business with.

    The main thrust of the letter is to ask if I am 55 or over and maybe wanting to draw down part of my pension pot under the new Government pension rules.

    Clearly they know that I am over 55 as otherwise why are they writing, unless of course they are writing to everyone in the country just on the off chance. Likewise I do have a private pension fund although I fail to see how they could possibly know that.

    On the plus side the company does appear to be properly registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and is authorised - amongst other things - to conduct pension related work (FCA Registration no. 501272).

    What I object to is the unsolicited approach and especially the style of the enclosure which I think that many people would feel obligated to complete and return.

    The covering letter is signed by one Jamie Smith-Thompson who describes himself as a Partner. This is presumably the same person who is listed as contact person on the FCA website and whose direct company email address may also be found on the FCA website by searching for company ref 501272 here: https://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/firmRefSearch.do

    Needless to say that I shall be telling Portal Financial that I do not want to do business with them and asking for them to delete my details as required by Data Protection legislation.

    I would be interested to know if anyone else has been contacted by this company offering help with pension drawdowns.
    Garden World Discussions
Page 2
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 25th Jun 15, 3:31 PM
    • 85,148 Posts
    • 50,161 Thanks
    dunstonh
    I dont believe the FCA have ever said there should not be cross subsidy. It is more of a consequence of RDR rather than an explicit statement.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
    • bigadaj
    • By bigadaj 25th Jun 15, 6:21 PM
    • 7,863 Posts
    • 4,797 Thanks
    bigadaj
    As is the advice not to transfer a pension. It is the advice that creates the liability. Not the transaction. It is the advice that is being paid for.

    Advice to do nothing is still advice. If it turns out do nothing was the wrong advice then that is a mis-sale too. The fact you didnt take a fee for the advice to do nothing is irrelevant.

    Also, it goes back to what was mentioned in another thread about perception of bias. One option creates no adviser charge, the other does. So, there is a perception of bias.

    Finally, I mentioned this to my compliance team and they said that they would not recommend that pricing model as they feel the FCA would consider it a breach under RDR as you linking the fee to a purchase of a product. With RDR, the advice and product were separated. So, whilst an advice charge can come from a product, it is for the advice. If you are advertising "free pension reviews" then you cannot take a fee for the advice.

    The only exception they considered was where a firm breaks their whole process down into stages and charges for each stage. In those cases, they could not charge for advice as they advertised "free pension review" but they could charge an implementation fee. Although that would be a very cheap fee as that is typically the quickest and cheapest stage
    Originally posted by dunstonh
    Though if no fee was charged then it's not covered by pi insurance. it could of course be argued that the customer is in no worse a situation from the lack of a change of product than if he hadn't undergone the review.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 25th Jun 15, 8:50 PM
    • 85,148 Posts
    • 50,161 Thanks
    dunstonh
    hough if no fee was charged then it's not covered by pi insurance.
    Advice is what is covered. Its not based on the fee charged.

    it could of course be argued that the customer is in no worse a situation from the lack of a change of product than if he hadn't undergone the review.
    Ironically, with a product purchase, the default redress method is to put the person back in the position they would have been had the product not been purchased. As no product purchased, no redress.

    Also, in reality, there probably isnt going to be a record of "no change" advice as I doubt a suitability is being written on cases that do not proceed and there will never be any evidence of advice given.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
    • Red Ant
    • By Red Ant 5th Nov 15, 12:44 PM
    • 74 Posts
    • 16 Thanks
    Red Ant
    I had an unsolicited mailshot from these people today. I'm on the Mailing Preference List, and never opt in to anything so my doormat is usually free of mail like this.
    I contacted them, and to be fair they seem to accept that people will want to trace how they got their details. There is a reference code at the top of the letter that indicates the source of your data - in my case the code was DLG-P1 which led to a company called Data Locator Group, and they gave me their contact details so I could establish how they had come to pass on my details.

    I then contacted Data Locator Group, and spoke to their compliance manager. She investigated the issue, and confirmed they had passed my details on in error.
    Last edited by Red Ant; 05-11-2015 at 2:44 PM.
    • PensionTech
    • By PensionTech 6th Nov 15, 11:46 AM
    • 583 Posts
    • 724 Thanks
    PensionTech
    I wouldn't be satisfied with "in error" - your details were deliberately sold. These companies thrive off ill-gotten personal data. If you report your case to the Information Commissioner's Office (and if other people do the same), they may investigate Portal and DLG.
    I am a Technical Analyst at a third-party pension administration company. My job is to interpret rules and legislation and provide technical guidance, but I am not a lawyer or a qualified advisor of any kind and anything I say on these boards is my opinion only.
    • Alexd52
    • By Alexd52 6th Nov 15, 12:55 PM
    • 120 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    Alexd52
    I too have had about 4 or 5 unsolicited mailings from them over the past 12 months. To be honest, I just treat it like any other unsolicited mail and bin it!
    • euronorris
    • By euronorris 6th Nov 15, 2:23 PM
    • 9,794 Posts
    • 45,311 Thanks
    euronorris
    I dont believe the FCA have ever said there should not be cross subsidy. It is more of a consequence of RDR rather than an explicit statement.
    Originally posted by dunstonh


    As well as TCF. I don't see how a company that cross subsidises fees could argue that they are treating their customers fairly.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 6th Nov 15, 2:42 PM
    • 85,148 Posts
    • 50,161 Thanks
    dunstonh
    As well as TCF. I don't see how a company that cross subsidises fees could argue that they are treating their customers fairly.
    Originally posted by euronorris
    TCF actually forces some element of cross subsidy.

    Under the FMAR, it looks like cross subsidy will be increasing again
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
    • taking stock
    • By taking stock 6th Nov 15, 7:46 PM
    • 136 Posts
    • 165 Thanks
    taking stock
    if nothing else, the popularity of this thread (and how quickly it surfaces in a google search for Portal) illustrates that any Financial Services company needs to be careful about where they get their data and how it is used.... and NOT cold calling - whether by phone or post.


    I've looked at Portal website and apart from having inaccuracies like 50% tax bracket (which disappeared a few years ago), they also have a tone I dislike, such as in "Many final salary schemes still give benefits which are hard to replicate. We can check to see if you are one of the lucky ones."


    That should of course read along the lines 'Most final salary.... we can check.... one of the few unlucky ones".
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 20th Jan 16, 11:32 PM
    • 687 Posts
    • 1,241 Thanks
    FreeBear
    Got one of these letters myself this morning - Suffice to say, I am NOT impressed, but made full use of the 1st class business reply. They will be getting a brick delivered tomorrow at their expense

    I have my suspicions as to where they got my contact details from, and I will be pursuing that line with another brick in hand.
    So many cats, so few good recipes.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.

    £2 Savers Club (No. 73) - £226 ______ £1 jar - £207
    • gahill29
    • By gahill29 24th Mar 16, 12:04 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    gahill29
    I've received one of these cold call letters as well. Used their pre paid reply envelope to request removal of my details. Life is too short to work out where they bought my details from. I never select sharing, always deselect opt ins and am registered with MPS so ought not to receive these! Well see if Portal Financial respect my request.
    • greenglide
    • By greenglide 24th Mar 16, 12:54 PM
    • 2,364 Posts
    • 1,459 Thanks
    greenglide
    Used their pre paid reply envelope to request removal of my details.
    So you admitted to them that the name and address details on whatever list targeted you were correct?

    This could well increase the mailings you receive.

    Put them straight in the bin or, if you must, write "not known", "deceased" or similar on the envelope and send them back.
    • sandsy
    • By sandsy 1st Apr 16, 2:19 PM
    • 971 Posts
    • 550 Thanks
    sandsy
    Just searched for Portal on the Ombudsman database - 8 out of 8 decisions upheld against them in the last 3 years.
    • Drp8713
    • By Drp8713 1st Apr 16, 10:00 PM
    • 679 Posts
    • 540 Thanks
    Drp8713
    Just searched for Portal on the Ombudsman database - 8 out of 8 decisions upheld against them in the last 3 years.
    Originally posted by sandsy
    I just read the case for Mrs W 10/02/2016 and it is exactly the same scenario I described in my post on the first page of this thread.

    I hope there are not too many more people who are losing out as a result of this company, and hopefully the ones that are find their way to the ombudsman.

    Also good work from the Ombudsman its actually 10/10 complaints upheld.

    Those UCIS investments in individual sectors like oil and solar energy were hugely high risk for uneducated investors and the decision to uphold the complaints isnt a suprise.
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 1st Apr 16, 10:21 PM
    • 8,714 Posts
    • 11,209 Thanks
    BobQ
    This morning I received a letter from Portal Financial Services, of Rochester, Kent. A company that I have never heard of and hence with whom I have had no prior dealings. As far as I can tell they are not linked to any of the other financial institutions that I have business with.

    The main thrust of the letter is to ask if I am 55 or over and maybe wanting to draw down part of my pension pot under the new Government pension rules.

    Clearly they know that I am over 55 as otherwise why are they writing, unless of course they are writing to everyone in the country just on the off chance. Likewise I do have a private pension fund although I fail to see how they could possibly know that.

    On the plus side the company does appear to be properly registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and is authorised - amongst other things - to conduct pension related work (FCA Registration no. 501272).

    What I object to is the unsolicited approach and especially the style of the enclosure which I think that many people would feel obligated to complete and return.

    The covering letter is signed by one Jamie Smith-Thompson who describes himself as a Partner. This is presumably the same person who is listed as contact person on the FCA website and whose direct company email address may also be found on the FCA website by searching for company ref 501272 here: https://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/firmRefSearch.do

    Needless to say that I shall be telling Portal Financial that I do not want to do business with them and asking for them to delete my details as required by Data Protection legislation.

    I would be interested to know if anyone else has been contacted by this company offering help with pension drawdowns.
    Originally posted by Spruance
    They write to me every 6 months on the same theme. I doubt they really know my age but the recycle bin is where I file it.
    • PensionTech
    • By PensionTech 7th Apr 16, 9:53 AM
    • 583 Posts
    • 724 Thanks
    PensionTech
    Interesting article on Portal Financial's practices here:

    http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/fos-rules-against-insistent-client-pension-transfer/
    I am a Technical Analyst at a third-party pension administration company. My job is to interpret rules and legislation and provide technical guidance, but I am not a lawyer or a qualified advisor of any kind and anything I say on these boards is my opinion only.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 7th Apr 16, 11:42 AM
    • 85,148 Posts
    • 50,161 Thanks
    dunstonh
    Cold call... defined benefit transfer.... vulnerable consumer.... missale.....
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from a Financial Adviser local to you.
    • Darren Cooke
    • By Darren Cooke 16th Oct 16, 9:35 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Darren Cooke
    Petition
    To stop the sort of approach Portal use I have started this petition

    petition.parliament.uk/petitions/166980
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 17th Oct 16, 12:33 PM
    • 384 Posts
    • 412 Thanks
    Silvertabby
    I remember Portal from my days as a LGPS administrator - they ALWAYS recommended that their clients would be better off transferring their LGPS benefits to a private pension scheme. Not a lot we could do if the transfer was to a legit pension fund, as we could only offer information, not advice. One case that sticks in my mind was a deferred pension with a transfer value of over £300K. We couldn't make the actual payment until we had received confirmation of GMP from HMRC - but Portal were on the 'phone nearly every day screaming for 'their' money.
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