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Scottish unFriendly!

Scottish unFriendly!

Old Apr 30th 2021, 1:59 am
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Default Scottish unFriendly!

The last sixteen months my wife has been trying to activate her private pension with Scottish Friendly. For a fourth time they are asking her to advise them of her selected options.
This seems ridiculous!
It seems they don't want her to start drawing on her pension!
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Old Apr 30th 2021, 2:34 am
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by FenTiger
The last sixteen months my wife has been trying to activate her private pension with Scottish Friendly. For a fourth time they are asking her to advise them of her selected options.
This seems ridiculous!
It seems they don't want her to start drawing on her pension!
16 months!

Maybe try these?

https://www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk/homepage

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Old Apr 30th 2021, 6:28 am
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

This will be our next stop!
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Old May 1st 2021, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

I know your frustration!
I had loads of hassle from two of my pension providers, always wanting more documents or forms. one even requested another scan of my passport because a couple of millimetres of one edge was cut off, I told then I would only do it IF they could tell me exactly what vital information was printed on the missing part, the answer was of course nothing.
I found the best solution is to keep at them until they give you an actual real live person to communicate with. Then get their direct email or phone and only deal with this same person every time for every little thing.
Amazing how much faster they can deal with the various internal departments, often resolving issues that had previously been too-ing and fro-ing for weeks in a matter of just a few hours.

Just bear in mind that some of these people will because of Covid be working from home with the added problems of inter-departmental communication this brings.
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Old May 1st 2021, 9:37 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by duztee
I know your frustration!
I had loads of hassle from two of my pension providers, always wanting more documents or forms. one even requested another scan of my passport because a couple of millimetres of one edge was cut off, I told then I would only do it IF they could tell me exactly what vital information was printed on the missing part, the answer was of course nothing.
I found the best solution is to keep at them until they give you an actual real live person to communicate with. Then get their direct email or phone and only deal with this same person every time for every little thing.
Amazing how much faster they can deal with the various internal departments, often resolving issues that had previously been too-ing and fro-ing for weeks in a matter of just a few hours.

Just bear in mind that some of these people will because of Covid be working from home with the added problems of inter-departmental communication this brings.
We have been dealing with the same person for about six months now. We'll keep at them. Currently we are waiting for his response to an email we sent explaining we have already provided the information.
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Old May 17th 2021, 2:09 am
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

My Hungarian wife received an email today to say they do not deal with "overseas clients"! She lived in UK from 1990 to 2020. They suggests she moves her SF pension fund to another UK pension provider or to a Hungarian one. So I'm going to be looking into her options. If she moves it to Hungary she may not get a tax free allowance or very likely none. She may have to pay tax in Hungary.
I will be getting in touch with PensionWise and also drafting a letter of complaint listing the dates she sent various forms to SF.
I can't wait to move to our house so I can set up a command headquarters with a desk, somewhere for a laptop, printer and multiple monitors so I can flick between various websites, emails, etc.
Worse case scenario it could be that she'd been mis-sold a totally unsuitable pension fund.
I'm not keen to contact the Financial Ombudsman because I've dealt with them before.
​​​​
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Old May 17th 2021, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

First the health warning - I am not an accountant and I would advise getting independent advice on this.

However
If you withdraw all of your wifes pension fund to move it to other than another pension fund (or I believe abroad) then UK tax will be charged on the money because it would have been paid in with tax concessions.

Any pension received in Hungary to a resident of Hungary is free of income tax at the moment. However if it is a UK government work related pension. (Not the OAP) then it is taxed in the UK against which you get a personal allowance to mitigate the tax. This is covered by a bilateral agreement that predates Hungary joining the EU and is still enforce.

I would advise anyone not to move a pension fund to Hungary from the UK because the financial market in Hungary is immature and does not have the safeguards and protections that are enjoyed in the UK.

IMO your wifes pension fund and its resultant payments would be covered by EU rules because it arose whilst the UK was a member and the Brexit agreements cover the treatment of cross boarder pensions of EU citizens.

If SF say they do not deal with "overseas clients" you could ask them what happens to their clients who live in the EU and are covered by the Brexit agreements on pensions

Was your wifes pension a work related pension fund ?

If you have to move your wifes fund to a different pension provider then for what it is worth my pension fund is with Standard Life and they don't mind that I have lived in Hungary for 26 years - but get independent advice.

Do you have an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) ?
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Old May 17th 2021, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

My initial thoughts were that her private pension, not work related, is covered by the bi-lateral arrangements and I'm planning to write to SF on my wife's behalf. I have warned my wife about the tax implications taking out of UK.
When my wife moved to UK her Hungarian passport was stamped .... sorry forget the wording but were to the effect she had the right to live in UK.
I feel sorry for my wife because she is caring for her mother 24/7 7 days a week so she can't keep doing her own admin whenever she likes or needs to respond to something.
Independent financial advice would be difficult to obtain as they don't offer a sign language interpreting service. Will try PensionWise to see what they say. Again no sign language interpreting service but they do have a chat option on their website. Or send an email to 'MoneyMail' whose guy I hope can put them on the spot.
Worse case scenario is I'll have to pay for an online sign language interpreter. If it gives my wife peace of mind I'll do it.
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Old May 17th 2021, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by Peter_in_Hungary
First the health warning - I am not an accountant and I would advise getting independent advice on this.

However
If you withdraw all of your wifes pension fund to move it to other than another pension fund (or I believe abroad) then UK tax will be charged on the money because it would have been paid in with tax concessions.

Any pension received in Hungary to a resident of Hungary is free of income tax at the moment. However if it is a UK government work related pension. (Not the OAP) then it is taxed in the UK against which you get a personal allowance to mitigate the tax. This is covered by a bilateral agreement that predates Hungary joining the EU and is still enforce.

I would advise anyone not to move a pension fund to Hungary from the UK because the financial market in Hungary is immature and does not have the safeguards and protections that are enjoyed in the UK.

IMO your wifes pension fund and its resultant payments would be covered by EU rules because it arose whilst the UK was a member and the Brexit agreements cover the treatment of cross boarder pensions of EU citizens.

If SF say they do not deal with "overseas clients" you could ask them what happens to their clients who live in the EU and are covered by the Brexit agreements on pensions

Was your wifes pension a work related pension fund ?

If you have to move your wifes fund to a different pension provider then for what it is worth my pension fund is with Standard Life and they don't mind that I have lived in Hungary for 26 years - but get independent advice.

Do you have an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) ?
Peter, can't Mrs FT buy an annuity from another provider without tax implications?
I had a small pension with Legal & General. My IFA in the UK took this out & purchased an annuity with another provider (Nick, I will provide the names by PM). Admittedly this was done while in the throes of moving here but my provider has no problem with us being overseas.

ETA: I meant buy an annuity in the UK, not Hungary.

Last edited by scrubbedexpat142; May 17th 2021 at 7:22 pm.
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Old May 17th 2021, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by Expatrick
Peter, can't Mrs FT buy an annuity from another provider without tax implications?
I had a small pension with Legal & General. My IFA in the UK took this out & purchased an annuity with another provider (Nick, I will provide the names by PM). Admittedly this was done while in the throes of moving here but my provider has no problem with us being overseas.

ETA: I meant buy an annuity in the UK, not Hungary.
Will look into buying annuity from different provider. SF don't seem to be up to the job. I'm wary of moving to another because some start increasing management fees.
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Old May 17th 2021, 9:44 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by FenTiger
Will look into buying annuity from different provider. SF don't seem to be up to the job. I'm wary of moving to another because some start increasing management fees.
I am not aware of any management fees from my annuity provider, they did pay my IFA a small commission. Maybe there's a hidden fee, I don't know!
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Old May 17th 2021, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by FenTiger
My Hungarian wife received an email today to say they do not deal with "overseas clients"! She lived in UK from 1990 to 2020. They suggests she moves her SF pension fund to another UK pension provider or to a Hungarian one. So I'm going to be looking into her options. If she moves it to Hungary she may not get a tax free allowance or very likely none. She may have to pay tax in Hungary.
I will be getting in touch with PensionWise and also drafting a letter of complaint listing the dates she sent various forms to SF.
I can't wait to move to our house so I can set up a command headquarters with a desk, somewhere for a laptop, printer and multiple monitors so I can flick between various websites, emails, etc.
Worse case scenario it could be that she'd been mis-sold a totally unsuitable pension fund.
I'm not keen to contact the Financial Ombudsman because I've dealt with them before.
​​​​
Not totally clear on the problem.
Will SF not deal with you because you live abroad period, or are the saying they will only pay the monies to a UK bank account?
Two of my providers are in the latter camp, they are not bothered where I live but they will only pay my monthly pension into a UK bank, which is not a difficult problem to circumvent.
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Old May 17th 2021, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by duztee
Not totally clear on the problem.
Will SF not deal with you because you live abroad period, or are the saying they will only pay the monies to a UK bank account?
Two of my providers are in the latter camp, they are not bothered where I live but they will only pay my monthly pension into a UK bank, which is not a difficult problem to circumvent.
Good point, the same applies to me.
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Old May 18th 2021, 1:39 am
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Duztee - my wife paid all contributions via UK bank account. All that time she lived in UK. Her Hungarian passport was stamped to the effect she had the right to live in UK via marriage to another UK guy. She has asked for her pension to be paid into her UK bank account. So it's pretty confusing what the problem is so I will have to help her draft a letter. They actually said 'But unfortunately Scottish Friendly do not hold a licence to accommodate overseas clients'. It makes no sense at all.
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Old May 18th 2021, 2:08 am
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Default Re: Scottish unFriendly!

Originally Posted by FenTiger
Duztee - my wife paid all contributions via UK bank account. All that time she lived in UK. Her Hungarian passport was stamped to the effect she had the right to live in UK via marriage to another UK guy. She has asked for her pension to be paid into her UK bank account. So it's pretty confusing what the problem is so I will have to help her draft a letter. They actually said 'But unfortunately Scottish Friendly do not hold a licence to accommodate overseas clients'. It makes no sense at all.
I maybe misreading this but is their issue that your wife is Hungarian or that she is now "overseas", or both?
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