Over the past few months, you may have read an increasing number of articles in the press about transferring your final salary pension (or Defined Benefit pension). You may even have work colleagues who have already transferred their pension, are in the process of doing so, or are unsure what all the fuss is about.
The Mail on Sunday (27/08/17) highlighted some of the key issues as to whether you should ‘transfer or hang on to your pot’. The article expands on a report by insurer Royal London and pension consultant Lane Clark & Peacock. They suggest Defined Benefit pension scheme trustees are offering up to 40 times annual income as a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV). Very attractive.
However the article quite rightly points out, there are many considerations when assessing whether a transfer is right for you. Are you in good health? Do you have financial dependants? What is your attitude to investment risk? Can you afford to risk any of your pension income? Is a guaranteed, index linked, income for life a greater priority to you than pension income flexibility? These are just some of the questions. Everyone has slightly different circumstances and points to consider.
Steve Webb (former pension minister now employed by Royal London) encourages you to be proactive and contact your pension provider. But the article doesn’t suggest when it’s the right time to contact them. Or elaborate on what exactly you ask them? Approaching this task in the right way can save you a lot of frustration and delays. I also believe this is where a financial adviser can be of huge benefit to you. Your first task should be to appoint a Financial Adviser and I’ll explain why.
The Timeframes and Deadlines
In the majority of cases, the time to contact your pension provider is right away. Knowing more about your pension scheme can only help you plan in the long run. In our experience, it normally takes 6 to 12 weeks for your pension provider to send the information about your scheme. They do not generally include all the necessary information requested. Chasing missing details can take a further 4 weeks.
Asking a financial adviser to request the information will ensure all the details required will be requested at the outset. Once the information arrives, it will be checked immediately and any missing information will be chased straightaway. This is important because a 3 month transfer window has just opened. If you need to move the pension, the paperwork must be completed and returned to the pension provider by the deadline. Having a financial adviser in place will save you time, and help ensure you keep to the deadline.
Understanding the Information
Defined Benefit pension transfer paperwork is very complicated. Fully understanding and digesting all the information is challenging. I believe, having an expert adviser who can help you understand the options in relation to your personal circumstances and objectives is vital. This will help you determine whether transferring the pension could be an option worth exploring further. If a transfer doesn’t look right for you, then that is fine. At least you know more about the pension scheme, the income it will provide, and you can plan accordingly.
The Requirement to Take Advice
If you do decide to transfer your Defined Benefit pension there is an important rule you need to be aware of. When the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value is greater than £30,000 you are required by law to take financial advice. You cannot transfer your Defined Benefit Pension without taking advice from a qualified Pension Transfer Specialist. We work alongside fellow Intrinsic Network members who can advise on the transfer of your Defined Benefit pension.
Now is probably the right time to investigate your Final Salary Pension. Appointing the right adviser to investigate your options will most likely lead to a better experience and outcome for you in the long run. If it is just information you want, expect this to take up to 3 months. If you ultimately want to transfer the pension, then this could take a total of 9 months.
Now you know how to start the process, let us help you unearth your Final Salary Pension. Contact us today to book your free consultation.