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Wealth Management

SIMPLIFYING THE RETIREMENT FUND DEATH CLAIMS PROCESS

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By Dolana Conco, Regional Executive at Alexander Forbes

 

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through, and during this difficult time, you don’t want your loved ones to have to worry about finances.

Your family will receive a share of your retirement savings and a life insurance pay-out if you die while being a member of a retirement fund. The trustees of the fund have a legal responsibility to make sure that death benefits from the fund are paid to those who are financially dependent on you.

If your death benefit is through a policy that is separate to the fund, then the trustees will not be involved and this benefit will be paid out according to the nomination of beneficiaries’ form that you’ve completed with that specific insurer, or else your employer will decide.

 

What retirement fund members need to do

  1. Keep your ‘Who needs financial support when I die?’ form up to date

This form is so much more important than anyone thinks – even though it is not a last will and testament. The trustees must, by law, find all the people who are financially dependent on you, as well as those whom you love and would want to leave a portion of your death benefit to when you die. Those who depend on you for financial survival are called your dependants. Examples are your spouse or life partner, children (of any age), parents, people you need to pay maintenance to or anyone else in your life who depends on you financially.

If no one is financially dependent on you in any way, you can choose someone else as a beneficiary (family, friend, or even a charity). If you choose to give your death benefit to a charity when you die, the money will first be paid to your estate and then paid over to the charity of your choice. If this form is not up to date, it could take the trustees much longer to identify who should receive a share of your death benefit from the fund.

 

  1. Submit the correct documents

The most common reason for delays in paying an insured death claim is that there are missing, incomplete or incorrect documents submitted with the claim. Your employer can assist with what is needed and can check that the form has been completed fully and correctly before submission. In general, the following information is needed:

  • a certified copy of the death certificate
  • the identity document or passport of the deceased member
  • a copy of a pension-backed housing loan (if applicable)
  • proof of the extent of any financial dependency of the beneficiaries

What your retirement fund needs to do

The trustees of your fund have a legal duty when you die to distribute your death benefit from and through the fund. The trustees must find all dependants and nominees to decide how to share the retirement savings and life insurance pay-out fairly. To make a fair decision, the trustees will consider the following factors, among others:

  1. Age of the beneficiaries
  2. Relationship to the deceased
  3. How financially dependent they were on the deceased
  4. Their financial affairs
  5. Their future earning potential and prospects
  6. The total amount of the retirement saving to be distributed

The trustees can choose to give a beneficiary no pay-out, as the law doesn’t say that every beneficiary must get some money. However, they must consider the needs of each beneficiary and the amount available for distribution.

If there’s information that the trustees may not have considered when they made their decision and the draft resolution has already been prepared, your family needs to contact the trustees urgently. The fund’s administrators will pay the death claim once they get a response from all beneficiaries, or if no response has been received within 30 days of sending the draft resolution document.

There are various reasons for delays in paying a death claim from or through the fund, including the employer not completing the claim form in full, missing or incorrect documents, investigations for the trustee resolution taking longer than expected, outstanding tax issues and beneficiaries not providing their bank account details.

Make sure your family knows what can go wrong and what to do to make the process run smoothly – it all plays a part in leaving a legacy that you can be proud of.

 

Wealth Management

WHAT WILL TRADING FLOORS OF A POST-COVID WORLD LOOK LIKE?

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By

Ganesh Iyer, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, IPC

 

The last year brought around a monumental change to the way most people work due to the impact of the pandemic, and the financial services industry was no exception. The last few months, though, have provided hope that life could very soon return to ‘normal’ with the strong vaccination efforts around the world.

This time provides the perfect opportunity for all of us to consider the best aspects of remote working in a bid to create a new concept of what a healthy work-life balance should look like. One way financial firms could achieve this is through developing distributed hub-and-spoke offices or putting in place the infrastructure so people can work on a longer-term basis from remote locations. But for this to happen, the financial services community needs to overcome the challenges of ensuring security, reliability, resilience, compliance, all while adhering to strict regulatory requirements.

 

Importance of flexibility

As we look towards the future, banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have recently informed their employees that they should be prepared to return to offices again in the coming weeks. News like this may seem like the financial services sector is keen to return to pre-pandemic ways of working, but this is not necessarily an outlook supported by the whole industry.

For example, the Financial Times reported that there are differences between North America and Europe over the speed at which bankers should return to their desks, with some US executives calling for a swift return to pre-pandemic normality while many European banks – such as London-based HSBC and France’s Société Générale – are taking a different approach. These variations demonstrate a need for banks to remain flexible to the ever-changing circumstances and differing views, especially as the sector has been quite effective in working productively away from the trading floor.

However, even for larger institutions, the balance between flexibility, security, reliability, and scalability is a challenging task. There are many firms that are still experiencing significant pressure on costs and resources, and there is still uncertainty around what the future will bring. It is important that firms consider whether there needs to be an even split between homes and offices, or if some employees will prefer to permanently work remotely, as well as prepare for any future scenarios that may require remote working at scale again. The list of questions goes on and they may be difficult to answer, but they are fundamental to the choices that financial firms will make regarding the vendors they work with and the technologies they implement.

Fortunately, many of the elements that address these concerns already exist – it is just a matter of implementing them in a way that is right for firm-specific needs. In the last 10 years, there has been a growing trend towards firms utilising the cloud and taking advantage of the subscription model, which has enabled technology vendors to create solutions that combine flexibility with reliability, and scalability with certainty. The subscription model benefits firms of all sizes and ensures everyone has access to the same state-of-the-art technology as their competitors.

There are also several well-proven benefits of leveraging technology solutions through a subscription, or software-as-a-service (SaaS). As most businesses adopting a cloud-native environment will know, subscriptions mean companies only pay for the solutions they need, while also having the choice to expand and consume more as the business grows. A subscription model also means firms will not be implementing aging technologies, as SaaS is evergreen given it can be seamlessly updated and upgraded in the background, with new delivery channels, access mechanisms and markets added and made available on-demand.

 

Adaptable trading environment

Being able to trade at any time, from anywhere and from any device in a way that is secure and compliant is a huge competitive advantage during this uncertain climate.

For example, a newly established firm requires a solutions provider that can offer the latest, most efficient, and affordable technology that is scalable. Additionally, all businesses are now very much aware of the importance of resilience – both now and for the future – and require a solution that offers an element of futureproofing, enabling them to adapt and maintain their competitive edge for any unforeseen events or challenges that may come their way. This means technology and infrastructure providers need to provide a higher standard of service and constantly evolve, update, and upgrade their tech so that it operates seamlessly and transparently for clients.

 

Supporting the post-COVID trading world

There are many unknowns and uncertainties about what our post-COVID world will look like, but one thing that is certain is that there will be change. Regardless of whether firms choose to revert to pre-pandemic ways of working or not, almost every industry has learned valuable lessons based on the experiences of the last year of the vital need to be flexible and adaptive in order to be able to pivot in whatever direction the business needs to take to thrive and maintain resilience. By leveraging the right technologies, adopting a cloud-native environment, and using the subscription model, financial firms can ensure they are ready to embrace the working environment of the post-COVID world in whatever form it takes.

 

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Finance

A BRIEF GUIDE TO TRADING IN CRYPTOCURRENCY SECURELY

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Trading in cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly popular in the financial world. Crypto’s huge rises in value over recent months has encouraged many to consider it a valid and important way to invest their money. However, it can be tricky for someone new to the world of crypto to know how to start. The process of setting up can take a few days, but once you’re ready to go, it can be fairly simple to start trading.

 

Find A Crypto Wallet

To store crypto, you will need a cryptocurrency wallet. There are many wallets out there to choose from, in both software and hardware forms. You could choose a free to use software wallet, to begin with, and then invest in a more secure hardware wallet if you plan to hold amounts of crypto for the medium to long term. Hardware wallets typically cost anywhere from £50 to £150, so it is worth doing your homework and finding the right wallet for your needs.

 

Sign Up With A Brokerage

You will need an account with a brokerage service to begin trading. It would be best if you looked for brokerages that offer good security, an easy-to-use interface and plenty of cryptocurrencies to choose from.

You will need to provide some identification to open an account with a reputable brokerage, and it may take a few days to get your account verified. Therefore, it is vital to do your research and ensure that the brokerage you choose is legit before providing any personal information.

 

Get Help From Experts

Once you have your account up and running don’t rush to buy your first Bitcoin. As a beginner to the world of crypto trading, there are plenty of potential pitfalls, and talking to experts can go a long way to reducing the risks.

Check out Traders Of Crypto, a cryptocurrency community that provides expert, collective knowledge to those starting out with crypto trading. There you can find plenty of free guides to help you on your trading journey.

 

Choose Your Crypto

The next step is to decide on the crypto you want to trade in. There are thousands out there to choose from, with the most well-known being Bitcoin. The more popular the crypto, the more likely it is to remain stable, so it may help to start with Bitcoin for your first transactions.

Once you have some experience, you could branch out to smaller altcoins, though it is often wisest to keep most of your trades to the bigger coins.

 

Make Sure You Have The Capital

You will need sufficient capital to buy and trade cryptocurrency. You can add this to your brokerage account, typically by bank transfer or debit card payment. It is crucial to keep in mind that the value of crypto frequently changes, so ensure that you are spending only what you can afford.

 

Start Trading

You can start by either trading cash for crypto or crypto for crypto. However, keep in mind that there may be brokerage costs for each trade, so you should choose your trades wisely.

 

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