Guest: Mike Lewis
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Overview: IVCM Regional Sales Manager, Mike Lewis joins the program to talk about their company’s pension solutions, where they primarily help their clients manage their retirement plans and funds.
Mike Lewis is the current Regional Sales Manager of IVCM. He has focused on customer experience in financial services for over 18 years. He has been the Administration Manager of IVCM for the last 2 years. IVCM is an international UK pension specialist. They were the first multi-jurisdictional QROPS scheme provider as it enters the market in 2006 at the commencement of the QROPS legislation. IVCM continues to be the market leader, providing solutions in four jurisdictions. They also have an IVCM Pty in Australia, which is set up with a superannuation fund that can take in UK pension money.
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Business Radio Talkers.FM. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today, my guest is Mike Lewis. Mike is a Business and Sales Development Manager for IVCM. IVCM is the firm and we’ll talk to him in just a moment about that. But before I do that, can I just remind our listeners that this and all our interviews are for entertainment purpose only. If you require advice, please seek your own professional advice from an appropriate agency and don’t rely on information here on the program for actions that you might take whether that be in regard to finance or anything else. Mike, welcome to the show.
Mike Lewis: Good morning to everybody.
Wayne: Mike, sometimes I interview people from Bob’s Garage and I know exactly what they’re gonna talk about before they start. But IVCM doesn’t tell me what it is you do or who you do it for. So fill me in. What does IVCM do and who do you do it for?
Mike: IVCM basically is an international company that deals with the QROPS market which is allowing people to bring UK pension funds into different jurisdictions globally. We choose jurisdictions that got very good compliance and we have IVCM PTY in Australia which is set up with a superannuation fund that can take in UK pension money.
Wayne: Now, this is a heavily regulated sector just from my ignorant point of view. Once you talk superannuation, there are always rules. I had kind of had the impression that moving UK funds to Australia had become difficult or impossible.
Mike: Yes, that’s correct. In 2015, there was the Pension Schemes Act. Basically, there was a shake up. So there’s had a problems in 2015, we basically looked at the scheme, we step the HMRC poster, we apply them and became the first retail QROPS back on to the HMRC QROPS List and as far as I’m aware, we’re the only one to date who’s done that.
Wayne: Now, given that the word got out that you couldn’t do this, has the world equally got out that you’re in the market and now, it can’t be done?
Mike: No. I think what’s happened is everybody sort of focus on the fact that they couldn’t do it anymore and everybody was being told they couldn’t do it. It seems that everybody is still dwelling on that. I’m giving out they’re seeing financial advisers, obviously people need to take appropriate advice on whether this is right for them. However, the word is now spreading out there but it seems to have been in a bit of a slow process. I guess if you’re the only one in the retail space, then obviously there’s not a wide amount of publicity going on for this. Whereas, a few and a hundred people in the market, then people will know about it. But as we’re the only one, we’re astound to us to get out there and make people aware that this opportunity is available with them.
Wayne: Yes, and sometimes being the only ones means you’ve got to do the market education and it’s a difficult push to get the word out. But I guess getting advisors aware of the options that you bring to the market is your mission at the stage.
Mike: Yes, 100% that’s my mission at the stage. I’m trying to speak to advisors Australia-wide. So I’m in Perth at the moment, doing a bit of training and just some education that some advisors don’t give. I’m heading up to Brisbane tonight – I’ve got a few meeting up there. Basically, I will speak to people over Skype; we do Skype meetings, we could do training sessions over Skype or Zoom or whatever medium suits, and just put people back in the picture.
Wayne: Yes, the internet has made the world a much smaller place and if you’re going to pick somewhere nice in Australia to be, Perth and Brisbane are very high on my list of pleasant places to spend some time. But the Southern-Eastern states claim some credit there as well I guess in terms of Sydney and Brisbane. Do you find advisors to be receptive to what you bring to the market?
Mike: Yes, absolutely because at the end of the day, it should be in every advisor’s best interest to do the best for their client. And if somebody is sitting with something like a UK pension that they really want to get out of the UK and over to Australia because they’ve settled here, it’s a route for them to be able to satisfy that need. If advisers really, really want to look to do everything they can for their clients then, we have a solution that may fit part of that.
Wayne: And I understand that getting UK pensions out here, if you’re not part of a program that makes it work, the penalties can be quite high, I think I read 25% in some circumstances.
Mike: Yes, the penalties can be quite high. I wouldn’t pin on any particular number but there are certain rules that you’ve got to follow, and everybody is different so everything is looked at case by case. You’ve got to be very careful that you don’t breach any rules or regulations for both sides really. So the fund is under the Tidswell Master Superannuation Fund in Australia and the HMRC, is also looking on the other side to make sure that you’re not breaking any of the UK rules when you move them in the out.
Wayne: Now, IVCM are specialists in the UK pension solutions and you operate at the number of countries around the world?
Mike: Yes, we have solutions in Gibraltar which obviously can feed into the European market. We’ve also got solutions in New Zealand, and we’re also partnered up with a firm in the UK for UK pensions for expats around the world that are looking for UK options with their pension funds, rather than settled into one country.
Wayne: Mike, it is fascinating to talk to you because it’s one of those business niches that I just had no idea existed. But I guess if you are from the UK and you’ve moved to Australia, getting your pension funds here is a pretty big deal.
Mike: Yeah, and you have to say that it might not be for everybody. But most people who have settled in Australia, they want everything that they’ve got here in Australia. Basically if they take advice from the adviser and he says, “Yes, it is the best thing for you to do,” then we’ll have that route in. Personally from my own personal thoughts, I couldn’t think of wanting to keep assets sitting around the world if I’m settled into one place. I’d like to know where everything is but that’s just my own personal views on my own personal finances.
Wayne: Now, I can concur with your view there and understand why that would be important to people. Now Mike, if there are advisers listening to us, I guess they’re going to be keen to hear from you given that you’ve got a solution that they can offer. How can they reach out to you?
Mike: We’ve constructed a website which has a lot of information on there, they can reach us to through the website, they can reach me via email. I can provide my email to you guys if anybody wants to reach out, I can provide my phone number to you guys if anybody wants to reach out. The website does contain a lot of information and I always say, go there as the first port of call because everything about the compliance, the regulation or the documents are there. There’s a few sort of frequently ask questions and answers there. And then, if you need anymore, then get in touch with me and I’ll either look to set up an interview over Skype or Zoom or if I’m in that particular area, I’ll come up and see you.
Wayne: And that website is www.ivcm.com. Now Mike, what about people who are not advisers but who have an issues with UK pension funds. Should they see their adviser and ask their advice if they can in touch with you?
Mike: There are retail offering, so people who kind of choose to come directly to us. However, a disclaimer in that is I would always say, “Please go and see an advisor and just make sure you know what you’re doing and you know the implications and you know that this is the right thing for you to do. “
Wayne: It sounds a little bit like one of those pharmaceutical ads you hear on the radio you know, “Ask first by name, discuss this with your doctor.” So if you’re interested in what we’ve been talking about and you are not an adviser, then ask your adviser to track down IVCM and find out just what’s an offering. If you are an adviser, head of to that website at ivcm.com. If you’ve got clients who maybe affected and looking for a solution to move UK pension solutions to Australia. Mike, it’s been a pleasure having you with us. I appreciate your time.
Mike: Thank you very much Wayne. It’s been a pleasure being on.
Wayne: And just think closely, let me mention as I did at the outset that this information we’ve provided today and this interview is for entertainment purposes only. Please don’t take it as advice that you can rely on for financial or other reasons. Please seek your own advice independently from experts who are known you. If you just joined us, then you’ve just missed my chat with Mike Lewis of IVCM and we’ve been talking about something near and dear to the hearts of lots of people, that is superannuation and money. But the good news is we have a transcript on our website where you can read the interview. There’s also an audio archive that you can access on YouTube, iTunes and SoundCloud and you can download that as a podcast and listen to it at your leisure. This is Business Radio Talkers.FM, my name is Wayne Bucklar.