Why independent advice matters

Why independent advice matters

KPMG reflects on independence and pension scheme de-risking


Director, Pensions

KPMG in the UK


Also on KPMG.com


This week saw announcement of the first “named life” longevity swap targeted at smaller schemes. The extensive choice on how defined benefits pension schemes can de-risk is good news but this also places a greater responsibility on trustees to make the right choice:

  • Get it right - members’ benefits can be secured earlier and at a lower costs than you though possible
  • Get it wrong - your company could find itself locked into an inappropriate, expensive arrangement which may be impossible to get out of.
  • Do nothing - you could miss opportunities and find yourself moving further away from meeting your objectives

Journey planning and de-risking decisions are so complicated and time consuming that advisers have a position of great power in steering which approach a scheme should adopt. This position comes with a responsibility to do what is right for the client. Even when this isn’t necessarily the best outcome for the adviser.

KPMG always has to consider whether we can demonstrate strict levels of independence and competence before taking on any advisory engagement. We believe that every pension scheme should have this level of confidence. Trustees and sponsors should be considering if their adviser can demonstrate all of the following characteristics:

  • Unbiased – could the choice of which solution to pursue have a material impact on your adviser’s future advisory fees?
  • Independent – are you satisfied that you would not be unduly pushed toward particular solution because your adviser is also a product provider?
  • Competent - does your adviser have the necessary level of hands-on experience over the full range of options to be able to advise on what impact each will have?

KPMG understands that pensions can represent a large and complex financial risk. With our expert advice and unequalled track record, our team of over 400 experts can help you manage your defined contribution or defined benefit pension schemes.


This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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