Defined BenefitAug 8 2017

Defined benefit pension transfer values dip

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Defined benefit pension transfer values dip

Defined benefit transfer values have remained stable during July, falling by less than 1 per cent.

Transfer values fell from £232,000 at the beginning of July to £230,000 at the end of the month.

This figure is based on the Xafinity transfer value index, which showed the difference between maximum and minimum readings over July 2017 was just £6,000 (or around 2.5 per cent).

This follows a period of greater volatility over the second quarter of 2017.

However Sankar Mahalingham, head of defined benefit growth at Xafinity, said it remains to be seen whether this period of relative calm will continue over the remainder of the summer.

The Xafinity transfer value index tracks the transfer value that would be provided by an example DB scheme to a member aged 64 who is currently entitled to a pension of £10,000 each year starting at age 65, increasing each year in line with inflation.

Different schemes calculate transfer values in different ways, however.

A given individual may therefore receive a transfer value from their scheme that is significantly different from that quoted by the Xafinity transfer value index.

Alistair Cunningham, chartered financial planner, at Caterham-based Wingate Financial Planning, said at his firm DB transfer enquiries have "fallen off slightly".

He adds: "These transfer values are poor value in relation to the preserved income and likely to remain so."

Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, added seeking to transfer out of the guaranteed income provided by a defined benefit scheme should bear in mind what they are giving up.

"While transfer values appear relatively stable and the prospects of significant upward movements in interest rates look limited, investors should always be mindful of the downside risks involved in transferring a guaranteed pension into a defined contribution pot," he said.

"We've enjoyed a prolonged equity bill market and investors should always be prepared for the possibility of investment losses."