UAE-headquartered financial advisory firm Holborn Assets has been awarded the pension transfer gold standard in the UK after passing, what it describes as, a “rigorous assessment process”.
The announcement comes three years after the firm temporarily ceased all regulatory activity in the UK after struggling to secure professional indemnity insurance (PII) following an order by the regulator to stop providing defined benefit advice.
The gold standard award coincided with an audit of Holborn’s DB pension transfer process by compliance consultant ATEB, as part of a skilled person review.
The report noted that the firm had “clearly adopted a proactive approach towards compliance”, with a “clear shift by the firm both in terms of culture and wider systems and processes”.
ATEB said this resulted in “high-quality file checking outcomes”.
The compliance firm also noted that Holborn “has cooperated fully with both the regulator and ATEB in a positive manner to enhance processes and control”.
Founder and chief executive Robert Parker said the report is proof that over two years of development work with ATEB and the FCA had paid off.
“We remain focused on becoming the number one company for DB pension transfer advice in the UK,” he said.
Chief operating officer Simon Parker added: “The updated process provides a structure for suitable advice and ensures there is step-by-step guidance which all staff members and advisers understand.
“The overall objective of this process is to ensure only suitable advice is provided and that any issues are captured and addresses before the case is finalised.
“We robustly consider all options available to the client before arriving at the final option, and a transfer is only recommended when it is in our client’s best interests.”
What is the gold standard?
The initiative is bestowed by the Pensions Advice Taskforce, an industry body set up by the Personal Financial Society (PFS).
It aims to provide a robust standard that complies with the rules set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
“At Holborn Assets UK, we constantly strive to improve how we deliver our service, meeting the highest standards possible,” said managing director Chris Wicks.
“Our pension transfer gold standard status proves that our team of experiences advisers develop their technical skills to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”