For those administrators out there on the verge of pulling your hair out, look no further.
We all know how painfully time-consuming chasing life offices and pension providers can be. While we can’t create any miracles here, we do have some hints and tips to ease your stress levels when sending off a letter of authority (LOA).
There are some fundamentals we would recommend including in your LOAs such as the client or clients' name(s), date of birth, address, their plan type/s and plan number/s, and their signature.
Their national insurance number is also required in relation to defined benefit pension schemes, though this is not necessarily required for defined contribution schemes and for investment queries.
You may slip through the net on occasion without a letter headed LOA, but the chances are slim these days. If your letterhead doesn’t include the firm’s company address and FCA number, we would recommend this is included within the main body of the letter. This is always required by providers so shouldn’t be avoided.
No doubt you will have come across situations where a client has no idea what type of plans they have, just a few annual statements stored away from previous years.
Try to find out as much information you can from any documents the client has, particularly the type of plan and relevant plan numbers if you can.
You should then have enough information to confirm with the provider which department to send the LOA to.
It's also worth taking the time to ask them how they would prefer to receive this, and asking them things like whether they require a wet signature or are happy with a scanned copy.
The more groundwork that is done at this stage, the easier it should be once the LOA has been sent off, given that you should have a specific department to chase and confirm turnaround times with. Otherwise, there's a real risk the LOA could disappear into the depths of some corporate giant, never to be found again.
Most providers will only implement LOAs for a certain period of time. Therefore, if your firm is looking to retain ongoing servicing for the client until requested otherwise, it’s worth including a brief sentence stating this.