1. WATCH RESTRICTIONS
Review the policy and governance procedures of the provider/platform to ensure they are appropriate for today’s market.
Since the introduction of pension freedoms, some advisers recommend their clients take income from other sources and tax wrappers as opposed to the pension pot.
The last thing clients need is to find their adviser’s recommendations to be undermined by the level of income to be taken from a tax wrapper being higher than expected and caught by a set of imposed decency limits.
2. CHOOSE WITHDRAWAL SOURCE
Deciding which fund to take money from can be quite involved. Consider the following: capital gains tax; performance of individual funds; if the fund is pushing the boundaries of the desired asset allocation; if the fund is under achieving and therefore needs to be removed.
Whatever the requirement, you need to be able to access and implement an encashment against the fund in question. This can raise some interesting challenges, especially if model portfolios are being utilised. Double check it’s possible to take income or withdrawals from one fund.
3. CONSOLIDATE INTO SINGLE PAYMENT
Receiving a single income payment each month – as most clients will do with their salaries – is a simple way to support them entering retirement.
At a time when income payments can be made from multiple tax wrappers all from the same platform to maximise tax positions, receiving a single payment each month in their bank account maintains the simplicity.
4. CHOOSE INCOME PAYMENT DATE
The need to live within a budget never diminishes and anxiety may be heightened as clients approach or are new to their retirement lifestyle.
The ability to deliver income on the date that supports clients’ needs (just as they enjoyed during their working lives) seem straightforward. Yet this isn’t something all platforms are able to embrace.
5. HAVE A SAFE HAVEN
Make sure there’s a safe haven to help protect clients’ income stream when investment markets become volatile.
If you have been around the block a couple of times, there is nothing to beat a bit of cash.
A simple cash fund can be a highly effective way of sheltering income payments, notwithstanding the rather disappointing interest rates platforms pay.
6. CHECK OUT SPEED OF DELIVERY
Many platforms are slower than older insured-styled solutions to deliver cash to clients.
The need to wait on settlement from the sale of funds has a direct impact on clients and slows the whole process down – sometimes delivering withdrawals at a slower pace than the industry did 20 ago – so find out how long it will take a platform to release funds.
7. MONITOR CASH LEVELS
There is a growing trend of clients holding some of their assets within a drawdown arrangement. As the numbers continue to rise, so does the need to maintain close monitoring of client cash levels. By not doing this, clients are at risk of not receiving the income they expect (and are even likely to receive nothing).
Some platforms will encourage a minimum cash holding, but will not help with the automation of how this is achieved. Others simply leave it up to advisers to check cash levels for each client. Fewer platforms still ensure there is always sufficient cash available and, therefore, the client is always paid.
8. DO IT ONLINE
You’ll be holding the purse strings for your clients’ income of the future. Previously, annuities picked up the bulk of the income payments. So, with more clients likely to have assets invested in a form of drawdown, the need to adjust the level of income they receive from time to time will increase.
Having the ability to position income changes online, without the need for further paper work, is the only way you’ll be able to deliver the speed and efficiency your clients expect.