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  • FIRST POST
    • jnielow
    • By jnielow 9th Apr 17, 8:09 AM
    • 49Posts
    • 4Thanks
    jnielow
    Portafina-Are the Legit?
    • #1
    • 9th Apr 17, 8:09 AM
    Portafina-Are the Legit? 9th Apr 17 at 8:09 AM
    Hi All,


    Have been away for a long time, so hope everyone is ok!!!.


    I just wanted to ask if anyone has had any dealings with the above company regarding a pension review?. They seem to be legit,registered with companies house and the FCA.


    Any pointers or advice would be welcomed many thanks.


    Jason
Page 2
  • jamesd
    Beyond that, I'm always interested in possibly useful providers, particularly for those with small pots. Could you tell me approximately how often in the last year clients have been advised to fund state pension deferral with drawdown money in preference to buying a lifetime annuity?
  • Portal Financial
    @jamesd

    First of all, let me say that I take on board your comments and also appreciate the balanced tone of your posting.

    When responding to posts on this forum I try very hard to strike the right technical balance, bearing in mind the wide range of readership (and comments) from those with little or no financial background to fully fledged chartered financial planners. And making sure no data protection or privacy rights or forum rules are being breached. I am also sure that different people will read different tones into how I am writing, no matter how balanced I am trying to be (and I will admit to some irritation having crept in to my last posting). I will try harder in the future though.

    This thread is starting to get quite technical so I will just cover off your three items briefly, and continue to keep it all as jargon free as I can.

    Your item 1. I do not believe there is any contradiction here. Many of our clients (more than half in fact) come to us with multiple pension schemes. If they are looking to use the tax free cash element of their pensions to solve a financial problem then they will want to know the maximum amount that they could access. This does not presume they will be advised to do so, but first you must ascertain the facts, and that means getting accurate figures from all schemes.

    Your item 2. I donít think it is appropriate for us to get into the specific details of the clientís factfind outcomes as this would be covered by the data protection and privacy regulations. I can confirm that, as you and the ombudsman noted, we advised the person not to transfer. The insistent client rules are in place to enable a client to insist that it is their money and that this is what they want to do. The FCA requires that you do not restrict these options where vulnerable clients are concerned. Clearly we had a duty of care to make it clear to the client what the implications of their actions would be. We believed we had done this and the ombudsman believes that we hadnít.

    We had identified the client as a ďvulnerable clientĒ and had taken the additional care we believed was needed in order to be sure that they understood exactly what they would be doing, that this was against our advice, and what they would be giving up by doing this. We have records of all of this, including a number of very lucid call recordings of the conversations with the client (and with their manager), which we still believe back up our decision making and the level of care that we provided.

    This particular case did in fact highlight to us some of the ways in which the ombudsman interpret the FCA regulations in place, and led to additional procedures in our vulnerable client process to ensure that we can continue to provide advice to vulnerable clients, as the FCA expects us to do, without taking on undue risk ourselves, or indeed disadvantaging vulnerable clients in any way. And yes, annuities (including enhanced annuities) were covered at the advice stage. Our advice was not to transfer.

    Your item 3. The pension freedoms are a term that most people now understand and hence it is easy to use on a non-technical forum. I apologise if it caused any confusion among the more expert readers. In 2010 this would have been taking the 25% tax free cash element of their pension from the age of 55, without the need to retire or take an additional income at that point.

    The person in question stated to us (amongst other things in a wider factfind of course) that they were looking to start a restaurant business and that this money was for that purpose. When they approached the ombudsman they stated something different. Again, we have full records of this and for a long time now have recorded every phone conversation we have with a client to ensure that any misunderstandings or differences can be quickly cleared up.

    I have to be honest, though, and say that having looked into this case myself and the ombudsmanís comments, I personally think we could have done a better job here. As with all companies our procedures and checks have evolved over the years with experience. The lady in question was, of course, put back into the financial position she would have been in prior to the advice, as per the ombudsmanís instructions and in line with her wishes.


    With the question you asked on your second post, Iím pretty sure I have understood what you are asking but it could be interpreted in a couple of ways. If you want to private mail me a more detailed version I can pick that up with you offline.
    ďOfficial Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of Portafina. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
    • missile
    • By missile 21st Apr 17, 10:58 PM
    • 8,992 Posts
    • 4,371 Thanks
    missile
    ...
    @missile

    I am sorry to hear you are still waiting for you review to be completed. Obviously I donít have your full details (and would not share them on a public forum if I did) but I imagine we are still waiting for your provider to give us the information we need to complete the technical analysis of your current provision, prior to our carrying out a full factfind with you.

    ....
    Originally posted by Portal Financial
    We have now had our telephone appointment and more confused than ever.
    There are significant differences in the figues provided by the current pension provider and those provided by Portafina. The advisor had to go and ask her colleagues and still could not explain why. We asked for an e mail but nothing has been forthcoming.
    We shall PM you with the details in the hope you can expedite a response.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • davieg11
    • By davieg11 22nd Apr 17, 6:16 PM
    • 253 Posts
    • 150 Thanks
    davieg11
    With the insistent client route Portafina are transferring active DB pensions to DC pensions for a 10% fee.
  • jamesd
    That's perhaps three times the fee that might be obtained elsewhere, depending on the amount involved and where you are. I'm not sure that there's any case where advice is required that I would describe that as a good deal. Once values reach the £100,000 level it's thoroughly into what I'd normally be thinking of as rip-off territory, exploiting the ignorant to charge £10,000 when £3,000 is more like it.

    If the fee only applies if you use their service to do the transfer, you can get the advice then transfer yourself. The standard legal requirement is that you must get advice, not follow it, and in neither case do you have to use the adviser who provided the advice to do any of the actual transferring work.

    In the other hand, if it's just one DB pension with a few thousand in transfer value and lots of DC money it's not at all bad for someone who values the service aspect.

    Shop around, prices vary a lot.
    Last edited by jamesd; 23-04-2017 at 12:01 AM.
    • missile
    • By missile 26th Apr 17, 9:03 AM
    • 8,992 Posts
    • 4,371 Thanks
    missile
    Eventually received 23 pages of "advice". However we are still not in a position to make an informed decision.
    There appears to be a significant variation in the valuation from the pension provider and Portafina. During the telephone sales pitch from a prepared script, she was not able to reconcile the variations. We were promised an explanation, so far ..... nada.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 26th Apr 17, 11:44 AM
    • 89,606 Posts
    • 56,103 Thanks
    dunstonh
    If you look at all the section 166/166a reviews (independent third party reviews of sales instructed by the regulator) that have been carried out on pension switches, they automatically class the advice as unsuitable if there is no cost comparison included and it is not benchmarked against a stakeholder pension. So, you should have a table in the report that shows a projection on a like for like basis of the existing plan, the proposed plan (using the actual investments), a stakeholder pension and any potential alternatives that the adviser includes for info (the latter may possibly be highlighting the cheapest option but not the one being used). For existing plans being paid into, there should also be a few other options included (leaving it but redirecting future premium etc).

    So, cost differences should be fairly clear.

    Being recommended a cheaper plan is one of the easiest justifications going. So, if that is the main reason, then you shouldnt have a problem understanding it with that table of differences.

    When the recommendation is into a more expensive plan, that is when it becomes more complex. The reasons for doing it have to be justifiable. Consolidation into a single plan is not normally considered good enough by itself. Although lets say you had an ISA and GIA on a platform already and you wanted your pension(s) on there, that would be considered justifiable.

    Better investment return potential can be used but you have to show that the investments have a track record of beating the existing investments over different time periods. If the existing pension has other funds that could be used without the need for transfer that could also do that then they have to be included in the comparison as well. i.e. can the existing plan offer a better option.

    It should not be difficult for any report to show why a pension is justified in being moved. Typically can be done on 12-13 pages for money purchase to money purchase. The FOS and FCA do not like long reports and the lengths of them have been falling in recent years and have issued guidance which has seen a lot of the fluff in reports moved into the rear of the report under an appendix with the early pages focusing on the actual recommendation.

    So, what was the justification for your advice? (cost, investment selection or whatever)
    How was that explained and compared in the report?

    If done correctly, you should not be in a position of doubt.
    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 an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • missile
    • By missile 26th Apr 17, 3:22 PM
    • 8,992 Posts
    • 4,371 Thanks
    missile
    Thanks for your comments.
    They have prepared a comprehensive report which I can comprehend.
    The issue we have is the basis for their comparison. The valuation from the existing provider is far less than the valuation quoted by Portafina.

    There may be a simple explanation, but their advisor was unable to clarify. Until we understand how they have arrived at their valuation we cannot make an informed decision.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 26th Apr 17, 3:56 PM
    • 3,323 Posts
    • 5,065 Thanks
    Malthusian
    Unless you are desperate to have your life savings dumped into

    Hypa Raithwaite LP Fund, which makes loans to a Yorkshire property developer, £24,000 into Venture Oil Investment, and £18,000 split between Kudos Asia, a leisure resort in Thailand, and EOS Solar, a solar energy scheme in Cyprus.
    it seems rather academic.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 26th Apr 17, 4:30 PM
    • 89,606 Posts
    • 56,103 Thanks
    dunstonh
    The issue we have is the basis for their comparison. The valuation from the existing provider is far less than the valuation quoted by Portafina.
    The projection comparisons should be based on the transfer value of a given date (this will be supported in the audit trail by having copy letters from the existing scheme stating the current value and the transfer value).

    You feel it is wrong so you could either ask the firm for a copy of that letter showing the values or you can ask your existing pension provider for a copy of what they sent the firm and if you think it is wrong (beyond typical daily movements) then ask the pension provider to explain it.

    There may be a simple explanation, but their advisor was unable to clarify.
    Probably wasnt an adviser you were talking to based on what other posts and the other sites have said about their methods. An adviser would explain it in seconds. Or if there was an error (and providers have been known to do this a number of times) an adviser should be able to spot it and sort it easily. It may add some days to get the provider to verify in writing but you would not issue a recommendation until you have it verified.

    Out of interest, what did they recommend you put into?
    And did they contact you or you contact them to start this process?
    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 an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • missile
    • By missile 26th Apr 17, 10:02 PM
    • 8,992 Posts
    • 4,371 Thanks
    missile
    We requested valuation from provider and supplied that to Portafina. We have asked repeatedly how Portafina got their valuation but they have not responded.
    The person who phoned appeared to be reading from a script and was unable to answer basic questions. The written report is signed by a.n.other.
    We approached Portafina.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • Trying to live the dream
    • By Trying to live the dream 3rd May 17, 11:17 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Trying to live the dream
    Mrs
    Portafina quote 'best possible retirement' for us it has been the worst possible retirement, we were fobbed off last year by an "Advisor" advising us that returns on our pension investment would be "imminent" nothing materialised despite several phone calls, we then began to realise things were not right and delved deeper to find numerous Financial Ombudsmans complaints, we complained to Portafina only to be basically directed to the Ombudsman this all began a year ago, we have had to down size to release money to live on and are now at risk of losing our home, all because Portafina invested in non regulated investments just like all the other poor 25 plus souls they have dragged through the FOS. Our complaint was upheld by the FOS a few months ago, a phone call was received from Portafina a couple of weeks ago (following letters from us to find out what they are doing about it), the Portafina rep advised they would respond early last week, over a week later and nothing from them, I am not sure what mind games they think they are playing but to cause so much anxiety, stress and grief to a couple who trusted them with all of their pension pot after 40 hard years of working is just beyond me we just wanted a "best possible retirement'.
    • JoeCrystal
    • By JoeCrystal 3rd May 17, 12:03 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 755 Thanks
    JoeCrystal
    This is really shocking to hear and I am amazed to see that this firm is still in business. I hope you manage to get your due compensation!
    • Trying to live the dream
    • By Trying to live the dream 3rd May 17, 1:09 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Trying to live the dream
    Mrs
    Thank you, yes shocking, we want to live that dream before we are too old but have been put through absolute anquish with broken promises and hopes.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 3rd May 17, 1:34 PM
    • 89,606 Posts
    • 56,103 Thanks
    dunstonh
    Thank you for letting us know your situation and I really sympathise with what has happened. The use of unregulated investments is an area of deep concern within financial advice and an area of shame on the industry for those firms that have used them. There really is very little reason for the average consumer to use these types of investments and they frequently go wrong. This is why the FOS and FSCS uphold so many complaints that are put to them about these.

    Thankfully, most advisory firms do not use these but where the minority do, it tends to result in horrible outcomes for the consumer.

    All I can say is keep in contact with the FOS and keep reminding them that the firm have not paid the award. The FOS will give the firm a bit of time before it goes on to report it to the FCA for non compliance. Firms that wish to continue trading will pay their bill as the FCA will shut them down if they do not.
    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 an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • missile
    • By missile 3rd May 17, 2:59 PM
    • 8,992 Posts
    • 4,371 Thanks
    missile
    Got a phone call yesterday asking to arrange a call with an advisor to progress our transfer.

    What about the e mail you were going to send?

    You can discuss any issues during the telephone call

    Please send us the e mail you promised

    We need to arrange a telephone call

    and repeat until we hung up

    You will be surprised to learn their rep Portal Financial has not responded to our PM.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home
    • Trying to live the dream
    • By Trying to live the dream 3rd May 17, 4:24 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Trying to live the dream
    Mrs
    Thank you, yes we will and beyond until we receive what we are entitled to, no one should be treated in this way.
    QUOTE=Trying to live the dream;72492554]Portafina quote 'best possible retirement' for us it has been the worst possible retirement, we were fobbed off last year by an "Advisor" advising us that returns on our pension investment would be "imminent" nothing materialised despite several phone calls, we then began to realise things were not right and delved deeper to find numerous Financial Ombudsmans complaints, we complained to Portafina only to be basically directed to the Ombudsman this all began a year ago, we have had to down size to release money to live on and are now at risk of losing our home, all because Portafina invested in non regulated investments just like all the other poor 25 plus souls they have dragged through the FOS. Our complaint was upheld by the FOS a few months ago, a phone call was received from Portafina a couple of weeks ago (following letters from us to find out what they are doing about it), the Portafina rep advised they would respond early last week, over a week later and nothing from them, I am not sure what mind games they think they are playing but to cause so much anxiety, stress and grief to a couple who trusted them with all of their pension pot after 40 hard years of working is just beyond me we just wanted a "best possible retirement'.[/QUOTE]
    • coyrls
    • By coyrls 8th May 17, 3:27 PM
    • 919 Posts
    • 961 Thanks
    coyrls
    Yes, I believe this firm is legit. They are registered with the FCA and operated under the name Portal Financial until recently when they rebranded. I would check their charges as I understand these firms can charge up to 5% on transfer. Hargreaves Lansdown would be a much cheaper option if you are happy with execution only or if you are seeking retirement income assistance try Retirement Line, they did a wonderful job for me. Best regards Duncan Chalmers.
    Originally posted by DuncanChalmers1948
    I think you should read the whole thread before you make such a comment.

    Do you have any connection with Retirement Line? You seem to be promoting it on other threads as well.
    • davieg11
    • By davieg11 8th May 17, 11:41 PM
    • 253 Posts
    • 150 Thanks
    davieg11
    Yes, I believe this firm is legit. They are registered with the FCA and operated under the name Portal Financial until recently when they rebranded. I would check their charges as I understand these firms can charge up to 5% on transfer. Hargreaves Lansdown would be a much cheaper option if you are happy with execution only or if you are seeking retirement income assistance try Retirement Line, they did a wonderful job for me. Best regards Duncan Chalmers.
    Originally posted by DuncanChalmers1948
    You obviously haven't read the thread as I already stated they are charging people I know 10%. Rip off company!
    • ms11
    • By ms11 6th Sep 17, 1:42 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ms11
    Just to add
    Maybe Portafina could tell us where they get their leads from ? I have been getting letters from them for several years, around every 2 months at a guess. I have no problem with this, it's a consistent supply of scrap paper. I've never paid into a pension because I have been ill and on very limited income for most of my life, so it is a bit of a puzzle why they target me, or do they just target anyone ?
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