One in 20 members request DB transfers, find research

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Almost half (47%) of employers say defined benefit (DB) transfer requests exceed 5% of scheme members, an Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) study has found.

The report also showed a third of these employers reported requests exceeding 10% of scheme members.

These findings are based on responses from around 186 employers providing DB schemes, as part of a wider survey conducted over the summer.

However, the research found completed transfers are at a much lower level, with just under one in five (16%) employers reported completed transfers exceeding 5% of members.

The same survey also showed 61% of employers said members are having difficulty in finding advisers prepared to advise on pension transfers.

ACA chairman Bob Scott said there are concerns about both the availability and appropriateness of the regulated advice available to DB scheme members.

"Other research suggests that only around half of those who took advice to transfer were properly advised. Of the other half, one third of recommendations were unsuitable and the remainder were unclear."

He added this is disappointing but not surprising, as DB pensions are complex and varied and their value is not well understood.

"Comparing a DB pension to uncertain post-transfer investment returns and income choices is fiendishly complex.

"Our survey results confirm the ongoing shortage of independent financial advisers (IFAs) prepared to provide guidance services in this complex area. However, many schemes are additionally noting to our members that where IFAs are providing advice, the questions they pose during the transfer process are varied and time-consuming.

"The quantum of enquiries and differences in approaches is posing difficulties for administrators and pushing up administration costs. Standardisation in the questions asked would seem to be a sensible step and this may be an area where the Financial Conduct Authority could act swiftly to help all concerned."

 

This article was written by Kim Kaveh from Professional Pensions and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.