Getting information and help with pensions
General information about pensions is available free from some organisations where advisers can explain your pension options. For advice specific to what you need, you could speak to an authorised financial adviser, but you may have to pay for their advice.
General pension information is available from the Pensions Advisory Service, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), The Pension Service and charities.
The Pensions Advisory Service
The Pensions Advisory Service provides free, confidential information about personal and workplace pension schemes. The Pensions Advisory Service is particularly useful if you have a complaint about your pension arrangement and need help dealing with it.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA regulates financial services in the UK. It also produces free, easy-to-understand information on a wide range of topics including pensions.
Northern Ireland Pension Centre
The Northern Ireland Pension Centre provides information on State Pension and other benefits you may be eligible for on retirement.
Pension Wise is a free and impartial government service, but one that only provides guidance on defined contribution pensions.
You can find out what you can do with your pension pot, how to shop around and what to look out for with taxes and fees.
It explains how to avoid pension scams and the importance of taking your time to make sure your money lasts as long as you do.
Money Advice Service
The Money Advice website offers free and impartial money advice. It provides advice on retirement and retirement income and information on types of pension and automatic enrolment.
Advice NI has offices throughout Northern Ireland, which you can visit or telephone for advice. Age NI also offer information about pensions and other benefits in retirement
Finding out more about your State Pension
A State Pension statement will give you an estimate of how much State Pension you may get, based on your National Insurance contribution records up to now. It will also help you understand how any future National Insurance contributions might increase the amounts shown.
Finding out more about your workplace or personal pensions
Your workplace pension scheme will be run by administrators or trustees. If you want to know more about who they are contact your HR department. Personal pension schemes, including stakeholder pension schemes, are provided by insurance companies, banks and building societies.
In both cases, the administrators of your workplace or personal pension can provide you with specific information about your scheme. They can also provide you with a pension forecast, which will give you an estimate of how much your pension is likely to be when you retire.
Most pension schemes of which you’ve been a member must send you a statement each year. They may also be able to provide you with an estimate of what you will get from your State Pension.
Find a lost pension
If you have lost details of a personal or workplace pension, you can find out more about how to trace it at the following nidirect page.
Complain about a pension
If you are unhappy with the services offered by a pension provider you can find out more at the following nidirect page.
Authorised pensions advisers
For advice specific to your needs, you should speak to an authorised financial adviser. Some advisers charge a fee; others receive commission from the pension provider.
Often, people use financial advisers when they are considering buying a personal or stakeholder pension. A personal pension is one that you take out yourself, for example if you're self-employed.
A financial adviser should ask about the workplace pension scheme offered by your employer and whether you have been enrolled before suggesting a personal pension. If you are eligible to join your work place pension scheme it's usually a good idea to join, especially as your employer must make contributions.
To find out more about workplace and personal pensions, visit the following nidirect page.
Getting pensions advice
Firms must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to advise on financial products such as personal pensions. They must follow certain rules and standards when dealing with you.
How to check whether a firm is authorised
If you want to check whether a firm you're dealing with is authorised you can use the online FCA Register or telephone the FCA Consumer Helpline:
Finding and using a financial adviser
There are several ways you can find a financial adviser. You can:
- search online
- check specialist investment publications
- talk to your accountant or solicitor
- check the investment pages in major newspapers
- contact trade bodies, like IFA Promotion or the Personal Finance Society