Posted April 6th, 2010
Clients often worry about whether the cash equivalent transfer value (CETV) they have been quoted represents fair value. It should be noted that there can be two types of challenge to the fairness of the CETV but in many cases, such challenges will have a low chance of success.
1. Does the CETV itself represent fair value
It is important to understand that the CETV may seriously undervalue the total pension benefits due to a variety of reasons (for example, it may not cover all the pension benefits or it may have been discounted due to the state of the scheme’s funding). It is therefore, possible to argue that another (higher) figure should be used which represents a fairer valuation.
The CETV itself cannot be changed and so a higher proportion of pension benefits may be shared or other marital assets may be distributed more favourably.
To prove undervaluation it would be necessary to present expert actuarial opinion and to negotiate strongly on this point. This should not to be confused with..
2. Does the split of the CETV represent fair value
Where equality of outcome is desirable (i.e. both parties want the same income at an agreed retirement age) a 50:50 split of the pension assets may not represent fair value.
Here a split in favour of the wife may be greater than 50% to take account of a number of factors, but mainly that women have a greater life expectancy than men.
Of course, it should be noted that it is likely that the final benefits received will not represent the same values quoted due to the time lag between the valuation date and the valuation day.
If you would like to know whether your CETV represents fair value, please call or email me for a confidential chat.