Defined Benefit  

Consolidators to offer higher transfer values

Consolidators to offer higher transfer values

Defined benefit (DB) consolidators are expecting to offer members higher transfer values than they are offered by their current schemes.

Adam Saron, chief executive officer of Clara Pensions – one of the two consolidators already in the market – told FTAdviser the way the fund was structured meant pension transfer values would increase.

He said: "[It's] Clara’s intention that a section should not profit from any option or decision taken by a member.

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"We will base all our factors on ‘cost neutral’ terms relative to the Clara technical provisions.

"Our technical provisions are intended to be conservative (higher), so we would expect the transfer paid to be higher than the average scheme."

Though he added: "This is a highly technical area and will not necessarily be the case for every scheme."

Luke Webster, chief executive of The Pension Superfund, has similar expectations.

He told FTAdviser the consolidator would replicate the factors and features members had in their previous scheme, including pension transfer arrangements, as they join the Superfund.

He said: "This is something our trustees are considering at the minute, it's a matter for them ultimately. But our expectation is the values are likely to be slightly more generous than most schemes'."

Since the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, the number of people transferring out of their final salary pensions has soared, as savers sought to take advantage of sky-high transfer values and to move their nest eggs into defined contribution schemes in order to access their cash.

According to data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), pension transfers increased 587 per cent in two years and XPS Pensions data showed transfer values stood at £235,000 in December 2018.

Mr Saron said maintaining pension freedom rights for members would be an important part of the negotiation of moving into a consolidator.

He said: "It is something to discuss with the transferring trustees to make sure members aren't being disadvantaged.

"I suspect this is one of the things that trustees will want to be very clear about, and rightfully so."

Mr Saron hopes all consolidators will take advantage of their scale to build better transfer systems for members.

He added: "So when members are looking to take advantage of their rights, the price of those transfers is fair, and that the process is smooth and supportive."

DB consolidation has been the topic of a consultation paper published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in December, which closed last week.

The consultation followed a DB white paper published in March, in which the government revealed plans to promote consolidation in the DB pension market, in which two thirds of the 5,600 schemes have funding shortfalls.

The Pension Superfund was created in March but has already seen a reshuffle of its leadership team after CEO Alan Rubenstein, and one of its main investors, Warburg Pincus, announced their departure