Have you transferred away from a workplace pension scheme?
Since George Osborne’s Pension Freedom initiative was introduced in 2015, companies all over the UK have seen large numbers of employees, both past and present, transferring away from their defined benefit (DB) pension schemes. These individuals have been persuaded to trade the safety and security of their existing schemes for the offer of a better deal elsewhere.
Unfortunately for many, this decision has ended in disaster. These schemes promising so much have repeatedly turned out to deliver very little, leaving scores of pension holders facing a financially insecure retirement.
Transfers suitable for only a few, sold to many
Moving from a DB pension was made a regulated activity in July 1988. Since this point onwards, each and every Regulator has been at pains to point out that transferring away from a DB scheme is likely to be suitable for only a select few people.
Despite these warnings, a vast number of DB members have been convinced by IFA’s that there are better deals available from other schemes, commonly Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS).
In the late eighties and early nineties, there was a huge upsurge in DB transfer activity. During this period, the moment an established business or industry announced it was closing, downsizing or moving location, financial advisors (and sometimes banks too) swooped in. Not content with hoovering up large redundancy payments, they had their sights set on pensions too.
DB pension holders were convinced by slick salespeople that their schemes were performing poorly, and were assured better results could be found elsewhere. In some cases, they even wrongly suggested their pensions could be lost if they didn’t move. One of the first pension schemes to be targeted in this way by unscrupulous advisers was the Miners Pension Scheme (MPS), and it was a similar story for Rosyth Dockyard too.
History repeating itself
The arrival of Pension Freedom in April 2015 once more saw an enormous increase in transfers away from DB schemes – close to £100 billion has been moved to date. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are hugely concerned by the volume of transfers, the quality of the advice given and cases of inappropriate levels of charging.
Commonly, pension holders decide to move because they like the idea of leaving a pension pot for their loved ones upon death, or due to the appeal of a lump sum in advance of their scheme’s retiral age. DB pension transfers are often recommended as the only way to achieve these aims, but this is not the case.
Find out more about the facts and fiction of DB pension transfers.
Worryingly, a substantial number of companies are seeing their pension scheme members transferring on the advice of a single IFA or firm offering a one size fits all solution, such as Royal London or the Prudential with their Pru Fund Growth. This is despite the FCA’s warnings that DB transfers are an incredibly complex area and therefore a blanket solution simply does not exist.
The factory gating of British Steel workers saw 11 firms stripped by the FCA of their pension transfer permissions due to their predatory behaviour and inappropriate advice. In Scotland, huge numbers have also been persuaded to move from DB schemes including, but not limited to:
If you have been persuaded to leave a defined benefit pension scheme like these on the promise of a better deal, it’s possible you may have been the victim of faulty or negligent pension advice.
Our team of claims experts can reconstruct any DB transfer advice taken since April 2015 to establish if poor advice has been given. We can then help you through the claims process to collect any compensation you may be entitled to.
Take the first step to getting your future financial security back on track and call our team on 01382 200474 for a free, no-obligation chat about your situation.