Defined Benefit 

Adviser faces defined benefit transfers head on with event

Adviser faces defined benefit transfers head on with event

A financial adviser has organised a discussion day on defined benefit pension transfers to improve understanding of the suitability issues they raise.

Al Rush, of Rutland-based Echelon Wealthcare, has had interest from more than 100 financial advisers after proposing the event on Twitter.

He has managed to secure the attendance of former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, former FCA technical specialist Rory Percival and Henry Tapper of Pension Playpen.

Mr Rush said: “I wanted to get a greater understanding of the DB transfer process. Obviously because transfer values are so high it is much more to the fore.

“This year I have had five requests for a DB transfer and it has been appropriate for one of them.

“I never used to conduct that business. It wasn’t something I was associated with and I never advertised the service but these were new clients who approached me about it.”

Mr Rush said he was surprised at the level of interest for the event he has organised, saying it was “well into three figures”.

He has booked a room at the Peterborough Marriott Hotel on 19 June and said it had capacity for 300 people.

Mr Rush said he was attempting to secure attendance from Mr Percival's successor, Chris Hewitt.

The event comes during a surge of interest in DB to DC transfers, as people look to take advantage of the flexibility, and in particular the inheritance tax advantages, of DC in the post-pension freedoms world.

In the first quarter of 2017, Scottish Widows, for example, saw the number of requests for its transfer value analysis report (TVAS)  service increase by 170 per cent on the previous year's figures.

Prudential, meanwhile, has seen an eightfold increase in demand for its TVAS report service over the last two years.

Demand has also been driven by record transfer values, which have been soaring in the 10 months since the EU referendum thanks to plummeting gilt yields.

According to Xafinity's most recent figures, average transfer values now stand at around £235,000 for a pension worth £10,000 a year at age 65.

That's £25,000 more than the same pension was worth on 1 June 2016, before the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Transfer values have been hovering around that level now since January, after peaking at almost £245,000 in October.

The all-day event is free to attend but Mr Rush said this would mean advisers would have to provide their own notepads and pens, and chip in up to £15 for the cost of providing a lunch.

Advisers can sign up to the event by visiting this Eventbrite page.