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Reviews for Scottish Widows

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Service Rating
3.0
Value Rating
2.0
Overall Rating
2.0
Recommend?
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Service: Pension (Stakeholder) Product: Stakeholder Pension

Review by hdeakin299 submitted on 20 July 2012

Likes: The pre retirement pack explains annuities well : Good complaints department : Good choice of funds with some external funds available : also apparently interesting "passive" funds :

Dislikes: Fund switches paper based only:Difficult to get amended/deferred vesting dates to show up quickly on website : Income Drawdown does not appear to be available with this plan : The limit on how much can be put in "external " funds can cause problem

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I have had a Scottish Widows Stakeholder since 2005 .This re-write offers me the opportunity focussing more on the 2nd stage of pensions : this is the "drawing the income bit" as distinct from the first phase which is the "growing the fund bit".

To me it appears that facilities like Income Drawdown are going to cost the providers money and this was born out by the literature in their pre-retirement " pack" they sent : this information was largely based on ANNUITIES : Income Drawdown is just briefly mentioned in their "Jargon Buster": so they give a nod to it without dealing with it properly . To be fair the booklet is quite good on explaining some of the technicalities of annuities . In some ways it is excellent (about annuities only) but it does not deal with the new options . The leaflet says :- Under the Heading "Other Retirement Choices" :- "Some are only suitable if you have a large pension fund or other sources of income , and are comfortable taking some risk with your fund. For advice based on your own circumstances , talk to a professional adviser" What do we think of that? I am going to be circumspect and not comment.

So why have I put it back a year? :- 1) Well I don't want an annuity 2) Markets are down 3) I need to keep pension vehicles (in first phase mode) to receive transfers in from my existing occupational scheme 4) I need a pension vehicle to receive the last years contributions from Contacting -Out (although I am using another Stakeholder for this).5) I also need more time to think about SIPPS : for various reasons I think the charges my fall .

As per above I sent the retirement deferral form in the post several weeks ago: I checked today on their website to see if my retirement date had been adjusted to reflect the deferral sent to them. It had not as the original retirement date was still there . So posting a form off does not appear to work very quickly . I will have to ring back to see what has happened.

I checked again today 30/9/2011 to see if my retirement date on their website had been amended to 2013 as per my deferral form sent in awhile ago. It has not.Then I had another go with deferral forms but it appears that they do not acknowledge the change in vesting date until after the new chosen vesting date. I found this out early in 2012 .By early 2012 I had not heard anything from Scottish Widows so I decided to check the website to see if the vesting date had been changed from age 60 to 61:it had been: so all I had to do was wait and keep an eye on the website.

This year 2012 I did the deferment again putting it back another year before I finally decided on a SIPP . This time I did get a reply from Scottish Widows in a letter dated 13 07 12 they said "Please note that this will not take effect until ..... as our system does not recognise the change until your original RETRIAL date. You may still receive retiral information and I would ask that this is disregarded."

Is this " RETRIAL" just a typo or an apt unintended comment ? Perhaps something like the NEST arrangement is long overdue as it should help to consolidate pension arrangements into something more effective. Small pension arrangements ,if not a TRIAL exactly , are nevertheless labour intensive and shortly after doing this I decided to transfer to a SIPP




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