Revealed: UK's DB transfer advice hot spots

We counted the number of designated specialists in the UK's towns and cities, to see where you're most likely to find someone with the power to advise a defined benefit pension transfer.

It has been apparent for some time that there is somewhat of 'bottleneck' in financial advice on defined benefit (DB) pension transfers. 

Demand has outstripped supply after the freedoms came into force. Among the factors driving demand seemingly large transfer values have made controlling one's own money look increasingly attractive, while some members have worried their scheme sponsor might not last the course.  

Pension transfer specialists play an integral role here, not just because they can advice on the transfers themselves, but also check the work done by firms without a pension transfer specialist in employment.

Nationwide, the number of advice firms with the power to advise on pension transfers has increased by 30% since 2015

In this gallery we have looked at the numbers of individual DB transfer specialists listed as such by the Financial Conduct Authority register.

It reveals some clear hot spots in terms of specialist numbers, and some surprises including one town well known for transfer activity that appears relatively underserved. 

Click on to read more. 

It has been apparent for some time that there is somewhat of 'bottleneck' in financial advice on defined benefit (DB) pension transfers. 

Demand has outstripped supply after the freedoms came into force. Among the factors driving demand seemingly large transfer values have made controlling one's own money look increasingly attractive, while some members have worried their scheme sponsor might not last the course.  

Pension transfer specialists play an integral role here, not just because they can advice on the transfers themselves, but also check the work done by firms without a pension transfer specialist in employment.

Nationwide, the number of advice firms with the power to advise on pension transfers has increased by 30% since 2015

In this gallery we have looked at the numbers of individual DB transfer specialists listed as such by the Financial Conduct Authority register.

It reveals some clear hot spots in terms of specialist numbers, and some surprises including one town well known for transfer activity that appears relatively underserved. 

Click on to read more. 

20

City: Norwich 

Number of pension transfer specialists: 9

With big DB pension schemes in the viscinity (Aviva, formerly Norwich Union), it may surprise readers to see Norwich come 20th in this list. According to Financial Conduct Authority data, there are 77 active CF30 permissions in the East Anglian capital, with just nine pension transfer specialists. Our own experience of visiting advice firms in Norwich is that they are receiving a steady supply of DB transfer work, and - as one adviser claimed - substantially stimulating the local economy. 

19

City: Chester

Number of pension transfer specialists: 10

The 2011 cencus revealed that the Roman city of Chester was 118,200, made up of 48% men and 52% women. The city is also home to 69 active CF30 permissions. There are just 10 pension transfer specialists in the city. NMA star profile firm Chadwicks is based in Chester. It is also home to firms such as Chester Financial Wealth Management and Innes Reid Investments. 

18

City: Worcester

Number of pension transfer specialists: 10

FCA data shows that there are 28 CF30 permissions active in Worcester, and just 10 pension transfer specialists to boot. The major advice presences in the city include Alexander House Financial Services and Temple Bar. 

17

City: Edinburgh

Number of pension transfer specialists: 12

Edinburgh is not only the Scottish capital, but also Scotland's financial powerhouse. Home to several of the UK's biggest insurance brands - Aviva, Standard Life and Royal London all have offices in the city - the city has a population of just under half a million, with a projected headcount of over 600,000 by 2025. However, those numbers dwarf the 12 pension transfer specialists available. 2Plan Wealth Management, Lycetts Financial, and former NMA star profile firm AAB Wealth all have bases in the city. 

16

City: Belfast

Number of pension transfer specialists: 12

Belfast boasts a whole 112 active CF30 permissions, but, again, the pension transfer specialist element of that seems to be on or around 10%. According to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 286,168 live in the city, of which a whopping 42,122 are over the age of 65. NMA star profile firm Navigator Financial Planning appeared on our cover in 2012.

15

City: Manchester

Number of pension transfer specialists: 12

Manchester made its name as a hotbed in the industrial revolution, as a cultural and music capital in the early post-industrial era, and is now carving out its own mini-niche for solid financial advice. The city has around 190 active CF30 permissions, with just 12 pension transfer specialists. Manchester-based Adroit Financial Planning featured on our cover last year. 

14

City: Wolverhampton

Number of pension transfer specialists: 13

Wolverhampton, home to Wolverhampton Wanderers (whose stadium is pictured above), and around 48 active CF30 approved indiviuals. 13 advisers in the city are pension transfer specialists. Top local firms include Newell Palmer, and Howard Wright Financial Planning

13

City: Cambridge

Number of pension transfer specialists: 13

Britain's second best university town features stunning architechture, cobbled back streets and 51 active CF30 permissions. 13 IFAs in the city are pension transfer specialists. Long-time NMA contributor Tony Larkins is managing director of Cambridgeshire-based Beacon Wealth Management, which appeared as a star profile firm on the cover of our magazine in 2013. 

12

City: Nottingham

Number of pension transfer specialists: 14

Nottingham's substantial student populus makes it the ideal place for young upstart financial planners to get their first big break. Notable advice firms in the midlands city include Balance Wealth Planning, Veracity Financial Planning and Mansion Park. However, though the city's has 120 active CF30 permissions, it only has 14 pension transfer specialists. 

11

City: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Number of pension transfer specialists: 14

Newcastle has become something of a northern hub of financial advice, and is home to a number of larger as well as smaller firms. David Carr and Phil Morris of Gale and Phillipson featured as an New Model Adviser® star profile firm in 2015. The city is also home to Ellis Bates Financial Advisers, Carrick Financial Management, Tilney, True Potential Wealth Management, Lowes Financial Management, and consolidator Fairstone Financial Management. According to FCA data, there are around 28 active CF30 permissions in the city, with just 14 designated pension transfer specialists. 
 

 

10 

City: Coventry

Number of pension transfer specialists: 15

With 62 active CF30 permissions, Coventry has a healthy number of IFAs. Its pension transfer specialist numbers are much lower, however, at just 15. The city is home to Beaufort Wealth Management, Financial Design and Cotswold Independent Financial Services.

9

City: Cardiff

Number of pension transfer specialists: 17

Cardiff has established itself as a bit of a Welsh dragon when it comes to financial advice, with around 136 CF30 permissions active in the city. NMA cover star firms like Penguin Wealth are based in the city. However, the city only has 17 pension transfer specialists. The city's population is growing very rapidly, which obviously raises questions about whether the above numbers can keep up with that. 

8

City: Leicester

Number of pension transfer specialists: 17

Leicester put itself on the map when home team Leicester won the premier league back in 2016. With around 154 active CF30 permissions in the midlands city, it is fair to say that the place is a significant one for advice. Companies like Rowley Turton and Hunter Aitkenhead & Walker are based there, but the city only has 17 pension transfer specialists. 

7

City: Birmingham

Number of pension transfer specialists: 20

The centre of the west midlands is renowned for its bustling student population, its cultural attractions, and indeed an historical network of beautiful canals stretching all the way through the city. It features around 105 active CF30 permissions, with just 20 pension transfer specialists. 

6

City: Liverpool

Number of pension transfer specialists: 20

Liverpool is famous for its football rivalry, its industrial history and - of course - The Beatles, who are its most famous sons. Though Liverpool strike Mo Salah may be failing to hit the mark of late, the city is home to some quality advisers, as our own audience development team found out when they visited the city last year. The city has around 116 active CF30 permissions, and just 20 pension transfer specialists. 

5

City: Bristol 

Number of pension transfer specialists: 22

Bristol is home to more than just financial advice firms. Indeed, with financial giants like Hargreaves Lansdown in town, you would think there would be a great deal of pension transfer activity going on. Whilst, there is a high number of active CF30 permissions (218, fourth highest in the cities of the UK), there are just 22 pension transfer specialists. Look out for one of Bristol's best reviewed and most notable financial advice firms on the cover of an upcoming cover of our magazine...

4

City: Sheffield

Number of pension transfer specialists: 32

Sheffield: famous for steel, cutlery, and the Arctic Monkeys, among other things of course. There are 129 active CF30 permissions in the city, one of which is local Sheffield advice legend Jill Thomas of Future Asset Management, who last year featured in our top financial planning cases, as part of our annual Top 100. The city has just 32 pension transfer specialists, servicing what could be a substantial population of former industrial workers with significant DB entitlements. 

3

City: Leeds

Number of pension transfer specialists: 39

According to the 2011 UK census, Leeds's total population was 751,485, but with a rapidly growing population in the UK generation, it would be easy to assume that the numbers have topped one million, or are about to. There are 309 active CF30 permissions in the city, making it the third most populous city in the UK for financial advisers. However, the number of pension transfer specialists pales in comparison. Notable advice presences in the city include national advice firm Mazars and Integral Financial Planning

2

City: Glasgow

Number of pension transfer specialists: 43

With 171 active CF30 permissions, Glasgow is the seventh most populous city in the UK for financial advisers. However, it has just 43 pension transfer specialists. Glasgow-based advice firms include Just Financial Group, Gilliland Neilson Brown and Murphy Wealth, which appeared as a cover star firm for NMA in 2017.

1

City: London

Number of pension transfer specialists: 155

In terms of overall UK adviser activity, London comes out top, with 3,877 active CF30 permissions, some 3,547 ahead of second place Colchester.

However, the UK capital has just 155 pension transfer specialists, servicing a huge financial services hub, along with the many hundreds of other companies that will have a DB legacy. 

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