Meet our colleagues – Chris Howerd, Pensions Technical Adviser

Each month we are introducing you to one of our colleagues at Chase de Vere. We’ll tell you a bit about their background, what they do and how their work helps us to provide you with a better overall service. This month we would like to introduce you to Chris Howerd, who is a Pensions Technical Adviser and is based in our Bath office.

Chris’s role

Chris works in our Technical Advisory Support team. This is a team of technical experts who support our financial advisers to ensure they are giving the best advice to our clients. They keep advisers up to date with the latest tax and legislative changes and they assess financial products so that we are only recommending the most appropriate options to our clients.

Chris is a pensions and retirement planning expert, and his expertise helps us to provide better outcomes for our clients, whether that is saving them money in tax, ensuring they have a sustainable income in retirement, or simply making sure that their retirement plans are structured in the most suitable way and that everything is on track.

His responsibilities fall into three main areas. They are:

  • Technical support for Advisers

Chris and his team answer technical pensions questions from our Advisers. This could be questions on pension rules or specific questions on a client’s circumstances or their policies. Having this in-house technical resource means we’re able to provide a quick, efficient and expert service to our clients, even on more complex pension issues.

  • Pre-advice checks

Chris reviews all non-standard pension and retirement planning recommendations which meet certain criteria, to ensure that there is a second pair of eyes reviewing the advice given to our clients. This includes complex pension arrangements, clients who have a particularly large, or small, pension pot and are looking to take their benefits, and those who want to move into pension drawdown and take a higher level of income than usual.

  • NHS Pension Taxation Analysis

The NHS Pension is an excellent scheme. However, it can also be quite complicated, where members who make the wrong choices, higher earners in particular, could find themselves being liable for a significant tax bill. Chris and his team assess the position of individual members, producing a report which allows them to have a clear overview of their pension benefits and any potential tax liabilities. This report can run through a number of different retirement options/scenarios that the member wishes to consider and provides recommendations on the most appropriate route. This analysis allows the member, in conjunction with their Chase de Vere Adviser, to determine the best course of action to take.

His professional background

Chris entered the industry in 2002 when he joined an independent financial adviser firm based in Bristol in an Administration role. He gained experience and passed professional qualifications before moving into their compliance team, where he was responsible for checking the financial advice of their advisers to ensure it was appropriate and compliant.

In 2009 he moved to another financial adviser firm as a Pension Transfer Specialist. His role was to review all of their pension transfer and pension switching activity, to ensure that any changes proposed were in their clients’ best interests.

Chris joined Chase de Vere in 2013 as a Pension Transfer Specialist providing support to our Independent Financial Advisers. The scope of his role has increased, and he is now involved in all technical areas relating to pensions advice.

He has attained the Diploma in Financial Planning and has passed many pension related qualifications including JO4 – pension funding options, J05 – pension income options, RO4 – pensions and retirement planning, AF3 – pension planning, AF7 – pension transfers and AF8 – retirement income planning.

How Chris and his team help our clients

The technical support and checking which Chris provides for our Advisers gives an additional level of protection for our clients, especially those with more complicated scenarios where an additional level of expertise may be required.

In addition to the three main areas of responsibility listed above, Chris keeps on top of any legislative or rules changes and how this should translate into the pensions advice we give to our clients. He is involved in setting out training to ensure that our Advisers are fully up-to-speed with any updates and in determining how any changes can be utilised for the benefit of our clients.

Outside of work

Chris is married with two daughters, Harper aged 8 and Maddison who is 5. He enjoys playing golf with Harper and is incredibly proud that she has been accepted to play in the world junior golf championship in Portugal in February 2023.

Chris and his family love to travel and particularly enjoy skiing, now that his children are old enough to join in. Very conveniently, Chris’s wife, Amy, is a travel agent.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.

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