Posted April 1st, 2011
In the last few weeks an increasing number of clients have approached with pension sharing orders which need implementing as the existing scheme is not prepared to offer an internal transfer and they do not know what to do.
They themselves are members of final salary pension schemes (usually Public Sector) and have found out at the last moment of the divorce that their existing pension scheme will not allow their pension share to be transferred in.
So what next? - The pension transfer has to go somewhere and it is up to the client to set up a new pension arrangement to accept the transfer.
If this is you and you would like advice from a Resolution Accredited Independent Financial Adviser on how best to approach the implementation of your pension sharing order then call me on 01204 663904 or email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted March 7th, 2011
“As a result of divorce, I have a pension sharing order and will have £123,000 to transfer into a pension fund. I do already have a Standard Life Personal Pension with just a few hundred pounds in it. I’ve now got the next 3 months to set up a pension fund so I want to ensure that I find the right pension.”
Following on from my previous blog this is an example of why checking – what type of pension scheme is involved and finding out what the pension sharing options are – is so important. The client was under the impression that she had to transfer the benefits externally and was worrying about investments, charges, etc.
Once I had established that the scheme involved was the Police Pension Scheme I was able to advise her that the only option available was an internal transfer. The decision making was over and it was a relatively simple exercise implementing the pension credit within the Police Pension Scheme.
Why wait until the pension sharing order has been agreed before finding out what your options are?
If you would welcome some assistance on your pension sharing options, please feel free to contact me on 0800 092 1229 or email me email@example.com
Posted March 4th, 2011
“I am about to receive a pension sharing order and need advice about investment”
This is a very popular question and the first thing I always do is to double check the information provided on the pension sharing options with the existing pension scheme. The reason I double check is often the information provided to the spouse is appalling and it is often incorrect. I see misinformation provided on a daily basis!
Internal transfer or external transfer?
Sometimes the pension scheme will offer an internal transfer of benefits and you can remain in the scheme. Often the benefits on offer to you are good and worth staying in the scheme for. You should be looking for true shadow membership.
But if you have to exit the scheme (and this is very common) it is necessary to check what schemes are available for the pension credit to go into. Questions to consider are:
• Do you have any personal pensions already?
• Do you have a works scheme? And can this take the transfer?
• If not, what is on offer from the market.
Advice on the most suitable pension to transfer your pension credit should be taken. Ensure your adviser is suitably qualified. The Financial Services Authority insists on a certain level of qualification to undertake this work.
On an external transfer the investment of the pension will be important because you will be taking on two new risks – how it performs between now and your retirement and how much income you will eventually draw out at retirement.
If you are a long time from retirement you could consider investing in growth assets (equities/property) which tend to be more risky or if it is a short time to retirement more defensive assets (cash / gilts) to protect your capital value. Setting a goal in terms of retirement income is also advisable.
When working with my clients I undertake a thorough review of their attitude to risk and tolerance to risk, their options in terms of pension sharing and from this provide advice on the most suitable pension arrangement and investment strategy to meet their goals.
If you would welcome some assistance on your pension sharing order, your options and how to get it implemented, please feel free to contact me on 0800 092 1229 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted December 10th, 2010
Do you know what the default option is when considering pension sharing?
In my previous blog I detailed the difference between an internal transfer and an external transfer. The default option is the underlying option that the pension scheme will implement should the pension credit member not decide how to implement the pension sharing order.
Sometimes, this can be an internal transfer or more often, it is an external transfer to a pension arrangement of the pension scheme / trustees choosing.
So, to avoid having your pension sharing order implemented by someone else or receiving a poor pension by default it is important to check your options first and let the trustees/pension scheme know what you want. It really is a case of taking the bull by the horns!
I keep a check on which pension scheme offers what. If you would like to know more about default options and pension sharing, please contact me on 0800 092 1220 or send me an email – email@example.com
Posted December 3rd, 2010
Do you know the difference between an internal transfer and an external transfer in relation to pension sharing?
It is important that you do because the consequences of choosing the wrong one can be expensive.
Internal transfer – this is where the pension scheme deals with the pension share by way of an internal transfer of benefits between one party and the other (no benefits transfer away from the original pension scheme).
A pension credit is created and this will either be dealt with by offering shadow membership (i.e. matched benefits with the existing scheme – final salary for example) or alternative benefits will be offered. Sometimes these can be significantly less valuable than exact shadow membership and so it is worth checking first. Sometimes you have a choice other times you don’t.
The other route is an external transfer – this is where the pension scheme involved deals with pension sharing by way of an external transfer. i.e. they insist that the pension credit be transferred out to a new arrangement of the pension credit holder’s choosing. Therefore, these benefits are automatically different to the existing (final salary) scheme but which scheme should you transfer to?
So it pays to check what is on offer when pension sharing before entering negotiations. If you know that shadow membership is available this can be very valuable. But what if you have to transfer out would you know what to do?
I keep a check on which pension scheme offers what. If you would like to know more about internal and external transfers when pension sharing, please contact me on 0800 092 1220 or send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted September 10th, 2010
In one of my previous blogs I covered the delays that can happen at the start of the process and lead to a postponement of implementation notice being issued. This blog covers the problems caused when the four month implementation period is breached and details what you can do about it.
The regulations set the timescale for implementing a pension sharing order at four months which you would expect is plenty time for the trustees of any pension scheme to organise the internal transfer or external transfer of pension assets. But it is not the trustees who usually arrange the implementation of a pension sharing order but the pension scheme administrator. Unfortunately, this can mean delays because the standard of pension administration differs hugely between administration providers and pension schemes.
Part II of the Pension Sharing (Implementation and Discharge) Regulations 2000/1053 sets out the requirements in terms of notifying the Pension Regulator of failure of the trustees to implement the share within the 4 months. This section also sets out the circumstances in which the trustees may seek an extension and penalties which may be applied (maximum £1,000 for individuals, £10,000 otherwise). Making the trustees aware of their duties to report to the Regulator should be enough to scare them into action.
In fact, in such cases it is usually the threat of going to the Regulator about delays which really gets things moving.
If you are suffering delays in the implementation of your pension sharing order or you are looking to avoid such problems, please contact me on 0800 092 1229 or email email@example.com
Posted September 6th, 2010
Pension sharing is a confusing and complicated part of any divorce settlement and there are many issues to be aware of before proceeding. Some examples include:
- The fairness of a cash equivalent transfer values (CETV).
- Internal transfer or external transfer?
- Moving target syndrome?
- Default options.
Therefore, it was a refreshing change to be contacted by a client this week who had received notification from her pension provider (Prudential) that she HAD to take financial advice before they would agree to accept the pension sharing order.
To avoid the pitfalls above it is important to take financial advice from a competent adviser, preferably one who is a Resolution Accredited Independent Financial Adviser (See link here). You may also wish to employ the services of an actuary that advises on pension and divorce cases.
If this is you and you are looking for financial advice on a pension sharing matter or if you require further information, please contact me on 0800 092 1229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted February 8th, 2010
In many occupational schemes (especially the statutory ones – e.g. Police, Armed Forces) there has been a disparity between the normal retirement age of the member and that given to a pension credit member (the ex spouse). For example, the member can retire from the pension scheme at age 52 but the ex spouse cannot retire until age 60.
In addition, where the pension is in payment, there will be an immediate reduction of benefit for the member but the ex spouse’s pension will not kick in until age 60 (which could be many years away).
This issue has been neatly termed as “income gap syndrome” and it has been found not to go against the anti discrimination provisions of European Law.
Of course, this assumes that the ex spouse decides upon an internal transfer as the means to facilitate the pension share. There may be many reasons why the other option (an external transfer) is appropriate, but there will many situations where the only choice available is an internal transfer.
Regulations which came into force in April 2009 made provision for a partial solution to this issue which some of the statutory schemes are now starting to implement. The NHS scheme will now permit pension credit members to draw benefits after age 50 (or 55 from 6 April 2010) whilst an Armed Forces (2005) pension credit member can draw benefits at age 55. It should be noted that actuarial reductions will apply for early payment.
From a financial planning point of view it is wise to review the drawing of a pension credit benefit in line with your overall goals and objectives to ensure that any reduction is understood and budgeted for.
For more information on this please contact me on 0800 092 1229 or contact me by email, email@example.com