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Portafina-Are the Legit?

45 replies 34.6K views
jnielowjnielow
51 posts
Forumite
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
«1345

Replies

  • missilemissile
    10.6K posts
    Forumite
    Part of the Furniture Mortgage-free Glee! Debt-free and Proud!
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    I asked them to carry out a "written" review. Two months later, I am still waiting.

    Prepare yourself for the hard sell telephone interview.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home :iloveyou:
  • bigadajbigadaj
    11.1K posts
    Forumite
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Posts
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    The words free pension review should raise alarms, a bit like kwikfit doing a free check on your car.

    Companies need to make money, so the idea that the recommendation won't be to change and incur fees for the reviewing firm isn't really credible.

    If you need a pension review and aren't capable of diying then meet with an ifa and pay them for an independent review and suggestions, it'll be a lot cheaper on the long run.
  • jnielowjnielow
    51 posts
    Forumite
    Many thanks for the advice,I am pretty clued up but just wanted to present it as a case and example to see if it was as you guys describe no good!


    Many Thanks


    Jason
  • jnielowjnielow
    51 posts
    Forumite
    Hi I will approach an IFA,I have had a written review from them, but have not had the hard sell interview/or been sent the regulated advice..


    I know this seems abit of stupid question
    but can I rest assured that my pensions remain untouched by them, apart from them having just approached them for details/values etc?. All I have signed is a letter of authority that gave them authority to approach my providers (That's it!).


    Time to ditch and ignore phone calls if I get them!!!


    Thanks


    Jason
  • missilemissile
    10.6K posts
    Forumite
    Part of the Furniture Mortgage-free Glee! Debt-free and Proud!
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    jnielow wrote: »
    ...I know this seems abit of stupid question
    but can I rest assured that my pensions remain untouched by them, apart from them having just approached them for details/values etc?. All I have signed is a letter of authority that gave them authority to approach my providers (That's it!).
    That may depend on which box you ticked when you signed their form?

    > Please provide Portafina with information only
    > Please provide Portafina with full servicing rights

    They were quite keen for me to sign the latter.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home :iloveyou:
  • I am a pension administrator for a platform company that Portafina uses. I was contacted on Friday by a neighbour who in almost every possible way would be considered a vulnerable client under FCA rules. I read through the letters the form and the brochures included and whilst great play is made about the effect that ongoing charges may have to the final value of a pension pot, nowhere does it state what their charges actually are should you decide to take their advice.
    It also emphasises that they have 14000 clients and £250m in assets under advice. That sounds like a large and trustworthy business, but works out at just £18000 per client on average. That is very small for a platform managed pension account. The assets that they typically suggest investment into are completely legitimate and form the basis of many actively and passively managed portfolios so I have no concerns there, but I get the impression that there is no KYC or record of risk appetite to ensure that the right fund or funds are recommended, this together with pressure sales on potentially vulnerable clients makes me wonder if this is a company my company should be doing business with. I am in no position to make recommendations or give advice (way above my pay grade), but I am going to mention this to the SIPP manager tomorrow.
  • MalthusianMalthusian
    7.7K posts
    Forumite
    5000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Photogenic
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    jnielow wrote: »
    I know this seems abit of stupid question
    but can I rest assured that my pensions remain untouched by them, apart from them having just approached them for details/values etc?. All I have signed is a letter of authority that gave them authority to approach my providers (That's it!).

    As Missile says it partly depends on whether the letter of authority instructed them to release information only or to transfer servicing rights.

    However even in the latter case your pensions will remain untouched. A transfer of servicing rights does not give them discretionary authority over your pension. They would only be allowed to carry out your instructions.

    The worst they can do with servicing rights is things like switching funds (some pension providers will accept such instructions from IFAs on the understanding that the IFA is carrying out yours). However, there is no possibility of them transferring your pension out or similar if you haven't signed a form specifically authorising this.

    If you want to be 100% certain, ring your pension providers up and tell them that you are revoking the authority you signed for Portafina.

    When you go to an IFA, they will also want letters of authority signed - if you sign a "transfer of servicing" letter of authority on behalf of the new IFA, these will supercede any authority you gave to Portafina. However, if Portafina currently have the servicing rights and the new IFA only asks you to sign an "information only" letter of authority, Portafina will keep the servicing rights. So to repeat, if you want to be 100% certain that Portafina will have no further involvement you should ring your providers up and tell them to revoke their letter of authority.
  • Stay clear of Portafina, have been trying to get my pension off them for a couple of years , my invests have deflated quite a bit, have now lodged a complaint with the financial Ombudsman.
  • jnielowjnielow
    51 posts
    Forumite
    Thanks for all the advice guys!




    Jason
  • edited 13 May 2019 at 8:17AM
    Portal_FinancialPortal_Financial Has MSE’s permission to post for company
    5 posts
    Organisation Representatives
    edited 13 May 2019 at 8:17AM
    Oh dear, where to begin…

    I think I will answer the genuine questions first, if that’s alright, and then cover off the technical disinformation.


    @jnielow

    Yes, we are a real company, registered with the FCA (no. 501272) and Companies House (OC344297) and have been running since 2009, previously under the name of Portal Financial.

    We will not do anything at all with your pensions without your explicit permission, and there are all sorts of provider forms you would have to complete in order for anything to happen, so please do not worry about that. The “full servicing rights” option just makes it quicker for us to receive information from your providers electronically if they allow that. We don’t use it for anything else and you can instruct your providers directly to remove it if you have any concerns. I am obviously very sorry to see that your relationship with us has been soured before it has even begun.


    @missile

    I am sorry to hear you are still waiting for you review to be completed. Obviously I don’t 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.

    These league tables should give you some idea of how long it can take (bear in mind these are average times and we have a large team of people to chase the providers to try and speed things up) - Pension provider service times league table

    Please give one of the team a call if you would like an update on how this is going, or of course to stop our review process if that is what you would like.


    @Bigsumo1967

    You raise a number of points and then suggest your own answers based on assumptions you have made.

    Firstly, the FCA is very clear that vulnerable clients must not be excluded from advice or access to products (Occasional paper no. 8 if you would like to look it up). To ensure that vulnerable clients are handled properly we have a separate vulnerable client process that is followed when someone has been identified (or suspected to be) as such. This includes access to a specialist copywriter to make the various forms and explanatory information more easily understood for them, and having our staff trained by the Samaritans to spot warning signals and then what to do next.

    You have drawn conclusions about our average case size and the suitability of a platform managed pension account. We state over £1/4 billion under management as it is a nice round figure and is growing. It is currently closer to £400 million and when it reaches £1/2 billion we will update our printed literature. Our 14,000 clients do not all have money under management and our average client has a significantly larger pension pot than £18,000 but still much smaller than the typical IFA would consider.
    It might interest you that the FCA invited us to meet with them to talk over the practicalities of our model during the FAMR process looking at how to provide services to clients with smaller pots for exactly that reason.

    Strangely enough, we find that a modern efficient pension platform provides the lowest overall charges for our clients. Especially when the platform providers (and this will include the company you work for if it is one that we use) provide our clients with preferential rates due to the amount of business that we do.

    I have no idea where you get the impression that there is no KYC or record of risk appetite to ensure that the right fund or funds are recommended, but I very much doubt that the FCA wouldn’t have spotted this over the years had it been the case. For the record, yes of course we do a full factfind, ATR and capacity for loss just as any IFA would. We also have a ten strong investment committee that looks at portfolio recommendations, bearing in mind that most IFA companies only consist of a few people in total.
    Official 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 [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
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