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bouliste

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I receive my pension in France from my UK Drawdown Pension, which is looked after by an  Independant Financial Advisor group in the UK. Unfortunately their handling of  my account has left a lot to be desired and I now have the problem of  moving my pension to a new advisor. As it is not practical for me to find another UK based advisor I was wondering if any members have had dealings with  either Siddalls or Blevins Franks as they seem to be the two major players in this field in France. Maybe there are other options open to me, if so i would be grateful for any advice. One area of concern for me would be the level of regulation a company would be subject to.

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[quote user="bouliste"]I receive my pension in France from my UK Drawdown Pension, which is looked after by an  Independant Financial Advisor group in the UK. Unfortunately their handling of  my account has left a lot to be desired and I now have the problem of  moving my pension to a new advisor. As it is not practical for me to find another UK based advisor I was wondering if any members have had dealings with  either Siddalls or Blevins Franks as they seem to be the two major players in this field in France. Maybe there are other options open to me, if so i would be grateful for any advice. One area of concern for me would be the level of regulation a company would be subject to.

[/quote]

Both companies have websites, where you will find that Blevins is regulated only by the UK's FSA, (irrelevant in France), and the Maltese authorities; while Siddalls is regulated by the FSA in the UK,and both the relevant french bodies. I have always found Siddalls very efficient and friendly. 

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I used Siddalls for other investment advice and found them very satisfactory at the time. However I then found I was paying a "trail commission" of 0.5% of the value of the investments every year, although I didn't need continuing advice. It may not sound much, but was several thousand pounds a year for very little contact and no responsibility.

I suggest that you watch out for this and negotiate your way out of it. I spoke to the Insurance company involved after five years, and they were happy to deal direct with no trail commission. Obviously you're on your own then, so need to understand what you're doing.

The same calculation applies to SIPPs - I was with Winterthur who charged a percentage of the pension fund each year. I switched to Alliance Trust who charge a flat fee and made considerable savings. However the switching process was a nightmare!

I guess the simple rule is: it's your money - make sure you do your sums!

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If your drawdown pension is in the UK, you will need a company that is regulated and authorised by the FSA. If you are receiving advice whilst you are in France, the company must also be registered to "passport", i.e. regulated to give cross border advice. All companies can be viewed on the FSA register to show the levels of permissions they have.
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[quote user="Mikep"]I used Siddalls for other investment advice and found them very satisfactory at the time. However I then found I was paying a "trail commission" of 0.5% of the value of the investments every year, although I didn't need continuing advice. It may not sound much, but was several thousand pounds a year for very little contact and no responsibility.
I suggest that you watch out for this and negotiate your way out of it. I spoke to the Insurance company involved after five years, and they were happy to deal direct with no trail commission. Obviously you're on your own then, so need to understand what you're doing.
The same calculation applies to SIPPs - I was with Winterthur who charged a percentage of the pension fund each year. I switched to Alliance Trust who charge a flat fee and made considerable savings. However the switching process was a nightmare!
I guess the simple rule is: it's your money - make sure you do your sums!
[/quote]

Obviuosly, you did not thoroughly read their Terms of Business, Key Facts Document and illustration which advisors are obliged to give you before you receive advice and transact any business. These have to contain all the costs and charges associated with any investmet and the way the company has agreed its' remuneration with you.

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The commision method of remuneration is so full of traps it should be avoided like the plague! Instead it seems better to negotiate a fee for particular advice/services as they arise. Once locked in to commission "agreements" they continue to rake in unearned revenue if you wish to add to an existing investment originally placed by an FA, but without receiving further advice. One other point, don't expect the FA to highlight the pitfalls/shortcomings, usually in the small print of invesyment literature - it might deter you from investing in that high commission earning product! Some on this forum may recall the CMI Isle of Man bond marketed some years ago & the small print relating to possible imposition of MVAs.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Sometimes it is so evident that many do not know what the European Union is all about, and that despite its shortcomings it has created increased competition in industries that were otherwise quite stale and closed.

This post

"Both companies have websites, where you will find that Blevins is regulated only by the UK's FSA, (irrelevant in France), and the Maltese authorities; while Siddalls is regulated by the FSA in the UK,and both the relevant french bodies. I have always found Siddalls very efficient and friendly"

really says it all.

For a good couple of years the EU has put in place the possibility of “passporting” financial services which had the objective of allowing a financial provider to be able to provide his services in other EU countries with the aim of increasing competition for the benefit of consumers.

The following is an extract from the FSA regulations about passporting:

Any UK firm which wishes to carry on business in another EEA State may do so if it is within the scope of a relevant EU Single Market Directive. This is referred to in FSMA as an EEA right, and the exercise of such rights is known as 'passporting'.

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