What to ask an Independent Financial Adviser

18 April 2024

If you are planning to make some decisions about your pension getting independent financial advice could be a helpful first step. 

Whether you are thinking about transferring out of the RWE Group, planning to retire or if you have had a major life change, consider speaking to an independent financial adviser about your situation. 

They will ask questions about you, your money and your pension. To make the most of your sessions, you will want to make sure you are asking questions too. 

If you are not sure where to start, we have set out some suggestions on the next few pages. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list and you will need to ask questions relevant to your own personal circumstances.

Before you start 

  • How does the advice process work? (Sometimes one session might be enough to get the answers you need). 

  • What are the charges for these sessions? Some advisers will offer the first session for free, so this is a good opportunity to ask lots of questions! 

  • What experience do you have of advising on pensions and advising people in my situation? 

  • Are you regulated with the Financial Conduct Authority to advise on certain providers’ products only, or on pension products across the market? 

Transferring out of the RWE Group 

The RWE Group is what is known as a defined benefits pension arrangement. If your transfer value is more than £30,000 then you must take independent financial advice before the Group Trustees can authorise a transfer. This helps to protect you and your money from scams. 

  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of transferring out? 

  • What fees are associated with transferring out? (These could be administration fees, set up fees etc. so be sure to ask if there are any hidden charges) 

  • What guarantees am I losing by transferring out? 

How would my pension savings be paid when I want to access them? 

Considering when and how to take your pension 

  • What are the different options available for me to take my pension savings and what do they mean? 

  • Does my pension arrangement offer these options? If not, how can I still choose these options? Which options would best suit my personal circumstances and retirement goals? 

  • What do I need to do to reach my goals? Have I got enough pension savings? 

  • How would my pension savings be affected if I decided to take it earlier/later and what risks come with it? 

  • How does tax work with each option? 

Your personal circumstances have changed, or are changing 

  • What is payable to my family through my pension if I were to die? 

  • How do changes in my relationships (i.e. divorce) affect my pension? 

  • If I need to retire early due to ill health, what are my options and the tax implications? Are there provisions for enhanced benefits if my ill-health impacts my ability to work? 

Can I use my pension savings to cover medical expenses related to any serious health conditions?  

You have questions around family circumstances 

  • What benefits does my pension offer for my spouse/partner? 

  • What options do my beneficiaries have for receiving pension savings in the event of my death? 

  • What are the tax implications for my family in relation to my pension savings if I die? 

  • What are my options if I have no beneficiaries? 

Payments, savings and growth 

  • How much do I pay? Can I pay more? If so, what are the advantages for me? Can I stop paying? 

  • Is it worth combining my old workplace pensions? 

  • Do I have enough pension savings for the retirement I am planning? 

  • What drives the performance of a defined benefit pension arrangement, like RWE Group, versus the different types of arrangements? What are the protections/guarantees offered by the various pension arrangements? 

  • What is the company’s legal obligation and financial ability to support the RWE Group now and in the future? 

Find a retirement adviser 

You should make sure your adviser is a specialist in retirement. The Government-backed MoneyHelper website has a tool to help you find one who is regulated, and independent. 

Go to MoneyHelper and search ‘Find a retirement adviser’. 

Where to get more help 

MoneyHelper also offers a list of questions to ask that will help shape your conversations. 

And we have produced a page on LIFETRACK which provides information that an independent financial adviser will find useful.

We've also provided a PDF of this story in the library for you to print and keep.