Ensign selects Punter Southall Aspire to provide at retirement services for its Master Trust members

Ensign, the shipping and maritime pension specialist, has selected Punter Southall Aspire to provide at retirement guidance and regulated advice for its Master Trust members. The service will be offered alongside another exciting new initiative – the Ensign Drawdown Account.

Ensign has launched the new drawdown account to support scheme members and further improve their engagement in effective personal retirement planning.  The company’s research undertaken in March 2018 has highlighted that while people are becoming more financially savvy, many still have big knowledge gaps around pensions. Less than half of employees (42%) know how much they are paying into their pension, 3 out of 4 are in the dark about costs and charges and most have no idea how much money they’ll need to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Andrew Waring, CEO of Ensign, said: “Pensions communications can be full of jargon and overwhelming for even the most financially astute. The new Ensign Drawdown Account and at retirement guidance and advice from Punter Southall Aspire will simplify the customer experience, support them in making informed financial planning decisions and ensure that we prevent a whole generation from financial turmoil at retirement.”

Through the new account, members will be able to fully benefit from the 2015 pension freedoms, without having to go through the hassle of transferring their pension, at the same low charges accessible to them as they save.

Punter Southall Aspire will provide guidance or advice to members on all the options available so they can make informed decisions on how to access their funds in the most appropriate and efficient way.

Punter Southall Aspire has also partnered with VouchedFor, a provider of Pension Advice Vouchers, and this will also be offered as part of the service. Members who use the Pension Advice Vouchers will benefit from tax relief on their financial advice. They will be able to fund the first £500 of pensions advice each year through salary sacrifice, potentially saving them up to £310 in income tax and national insurance, although the actual saving will depend on the member’s earnings and tax and NI rates applicable at the time.

Adam Price, CEO of VouchedFor comments, “It has never been more important for employers to provide their staff with access to good financial advice. It’s vital that younger employees remain engaged with auto enrolment. It’s also vital that those nearing retirement receive sound advice on the increasingly complex range of pension options at their disposal.”

“I’m delighted that Ensign has proactively sought the services of Punter Southall Aspire as they are at-retirement experts. And furthermore, that scheme members will be able to use Pension Advice Vouchers to fund some of the cost through salary sacrifice and save tax.”

Stephen Greenstreet, Managing Director, Proposition Development at Punter Southall Aspire said: “Ensign is a leading maritime pensions specialist with over 80 participating employers to date, 4,450 members and more than £100 million under management. We look forward to offering retirement guidance and advice to these members.  Our experienced team will provide support, guidance and advice to members, enabling them to make informed financial decisions and achieve the best retirement outcomes.”

Ensign’s Master Trust plan is portable, allowing members to move from job to job, or career-to-career, whilst taking their savings with them and its flexible retirement options allow for phased retirement through the new income drawdown account.

Some of the lowest member charges around also mean that more of the member and employer contributions are invested; these low charges can make a big difference to the size of retirement pots over the lifetime of the plan.