Paul Tudgay passed away at the age of 58 in September 2017, just days after he transferred his final salary pension scheme and left a life-changing legacy to his two children, Craig Tudgay, 36, and his sister Lacey Pearce
Lacey, from Cwmbran, says...
My dad was a HGV driver for more than 25 years. When he found out his illness was terminal he decided he wanted to take his entire [final salary] pension. His employer wanted him to take a lump sum and then monthly payments. One advice company tried to help him unsuccessfully.
Ray and his team at Niche IFA took it on and within a matter of weeks had secured a payout. My dad passed away days later. I hadn't realised how fast he'd been deteriorating.
I'm a firm believer that Niche put my dad at rest. He had been fighting to get his pension [transfer value] for a year and a half - from the day he found out he was terminal - and as soon as that money was released he let go.
I can't even begin to express to you how huge it was for my dad. If he didn't get it [the transfer], my brother and I wouldn't have been entitled to anything. He wanted us to be set up for the rest of our lives.
To his employer he was just a number, but to Niche he was much more than that. They took it very seriously and acted very quickly. It's lovely to think that our dad is still remembered even by people who didn't know him for long.
Niche IFA has really touched both me and Craig, and every time I go across the motorway and see the company's dragon logo it brings a smile to my face. Not only did they make things easier for my dad, giving him the comfort he needed when everyone else let him down, but they also helped us through a hard time.
We managed to buy our house from the council. Not having to pay rent has had a massive effect on our finances. We've also been lucky enough to buy a caravan and now go away a lot with our daughter, 13, and two boys, aged seven and ten.
Craig, from Telford, says...
It wasn't about the money; it was about bringing peace to my father before he died. He was angry in a sense, but more than anything he wanted to provide for me and my sister. He was holding on until that money was transferred.
Another adviser said he could help my dad out. He got him to do a lot of the legwork. But it turned out he wasn't qualified [to give advice on defined benefit pension transfers]. Dad felt let down.
Niche came recommended through my brother-in-law. Dad thought he had nothing to lose. They handled it really professionally. They took everything on - dad didn't have to do anything.
We didn't know if they'd pull it off in time. What they did for my dad was fantastic. It was emotional. Even they felt emotional.
After our dad died they were there for us. They handled getting the funds released and didn't pressurise us even though there were still fees outstanding to them.
I worked as a floor manager but was made redundant shortly after dad died - my employer went bust. I was the main breadwinner. The inheritance allowed me to pay off our mortgage with enough left over to give me time to look at my options.
I now have a less stressful job as a factory worker. My wife moved from her job in retail to work for the same company so we have weekends together. We hardly saw each other before. We bought a caravan and spend a lot of time away in it with our three boys, aged ten, 13 and 16. It's changed our lifestyle for the better.
When Ray Adams, chairman of Niche IFA, which has offices in Newport, Cardiff, Llanelli, Bristol and Swindon, met Paul Tudgay, he knew he didn't have long to live...
Ray Adams says...
Paul initially went to another adviser who didn't have the relevant permissions and inadvertently ended up wasting two months. When he came to us, he only had one month left of his guaranteed date.
I took one look at him and thought: 'Goodness, this guy isn't well'. He explained to me that he had a very short life expectancy. He gave me the information he had and we got his pension administrator on the phone straight away to clarify the situation.
The employer was offering a one-off tax-free payment of £48,000 in full and final settlement based on his life expectancy of less than 12 months or a transfer value of £226,000. It didn't add up to me, but we established that the figures were correct with the lower-than-expected settlement being offered on the basis that he was divorced with no dependent children.
The race was on to transfer the assets to a personal pension. Had he died before it went through, the pension would not pay out at all; it would effectively die with him. It was very much a case of having to drop everything else to get this done quickly.
Cases like this take a lot of work, but we agreed a reasonable fixed fee and got to work.
Trudy Jenkins, one of our paraplanners, did a lot of the analysis and checking and chasing. A new pension was set up with a zero balance to accept the transfer and we gave Paul a log-on so he could see for himself when the money arrived. A transfer like this would usually take around eight weeks; we did it in 21 days.
People often say bad things about defined benefit pension transfers. If the person dies within two years the assets can be liable to inheritance tax, but in this case there wasn't a liability. As a divorcee, Paul also wasn't giving up a potentially valuable widow's pension.
Not that long ago advisers had a reputation as insurance salesmen you could not trust. Better regulation and qualifications have changed that to the point that it's mandatory that those with final salary pensions worth more than £30,000 come to advisers for independent advice before going through with a transfer.
Our advice has changed the lives of these adult children and that makes me feel quite special. When people who wouldn't normally consult a financial adviser do so with their hands up their back and subsequently see the value that we bring, that gives me a nice warm feeling. It's not a bad job to do.
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