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Peter Hurst

Hi, I’m Peter Hurst, and I’ve been a client of Simple Financial Advice since October 2021. My client advisor is Mark Thewlis.

We got in touch with Simple because we were considering whether we should move our direct benefit (DB) pension schemes to self-administered schemes. In effect, should we stay with those DB schemes or move out? And that was the core thing that was kind of promoted just ahead of retirement.

Bearing in mind the amounts of money we’ve got in our pension funds, our biggest amount of savings, the main thing we wanted to consider was what’s the right thing to do with that pot of money? Is it right to stay with the low-risk option of our DB schemes? Or is it right to take a higher-risk option with more alternatives, and moving money into a self-administered scheme?

When we were looking for a financial adviser, the first thing we did was look on government websites to work out how to find one. This made us aware which kind was authorised, so that we weren’t just looking at random marketing. We found Simple Financial Advice on one such government website. We also found some particular firms that had a gold standard for pension transfers. Given what we were interested in, that was quite important to us. Also, given that we’re based overseas currently but eventually returning to the UK, we needed a financial adviser that could cope with that kind of dynamic. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending which way you look at it.

We got comfortable with the people we were talking to. There wasn’t much for us to differentiate in terms of what was coming back, but the conversation we had was in very simple, straightforward language that we could understand. And we feel connected to the advisors that we were talking to. For us, that was really quite important.

Mark at Simple helped us to understand all the things that we need to consider for our longer-term financial future. This process was broken down into a number of shorter meetings, as if we met in just one chunk, it would have been six or seven hours long, which would be far too long. The meetings took us nicely through every step of Mark’s process, which in our heads were just some vague steps that we needed to take to get to our goals. But his process meant we could outline what we wanted to do and listen to his recommendations. That was a very nice feeling, certainly for me, to be able to go through the journey in that way.

I actually feel really confident about my financial future. Maybe I’m in quite a lucky position, I don’t know. But I feel even better about that financial future having spoken to Mark compared to before we talked. I’m fairly confident about the future, to be frank.

Three words or phrases that would describe working with Mark at Simple would be “simple,” as in they use simple language. I think also “unambiguous,” which I think is an important quality. As a result, we were clear about the process and how long it would take. Mark was clear about the number of steps, costs and so on. And finally, we were just happy with the outcome. The final write-up is that working with Mark and Simple was pretty clear, and we are quite happy with the outcome as well.

The best thing about working with Mark so far has been the simplicity and reliability of the service. There haven’t been any surprises either, so that’s great.

The best piece of advice that Mark has given to me while working with him is to stay with my defined benefit scheme for now. We will need to reconsider my partner’s scheme in two years’ time. If things don’t change, we will probably take the money out of that scheme. I think that’s the core advice. That’s the best advice really, just getting the right results for our financial circumstances.

If somebody is looking for a financial advisor who can be very straightforward, and break things down into simple steps and use simple language to help you understand some of the complexities, then I would definitely recommend Mark at Simple. It’s been a lovely and easy experience.