Pensions 

Pension biggest asset in millionaires' divorces

Pension biggest asset in millionaires' divorces

Private pension wealth is the biggest value asset in millionaires' divorces, according to new research from Succession Wealth.

The advice consolidator analysed the Office for National Statistics Wealth and Assets Survey data and the number of divorces in England and Wales, concluding that 550 couples with net financial wealth of £1m or more each will divorce this year. 

Succession Wealth’s research estimates that collectively these individuals have around £1.91bn of net wealth, or £3.48m per couple.

In terms of how this wealth is broken down between different assets, the analysis suggests that 43 per cent is held in private pensions, followed by 31 per cent in property wealth.

 Assets

Percentage breakdown of net financial assets belonging to divorcing couples with net assets of £1m or more

 Estimated collective value of net assets belonging to divorcing couples with net assets of £1m or more

Estimated average value of net assets belonging to typical divorcing couple with net assets of £1m or more

Financial wealth

20%

£390,694,631

£712,291

Property wealth

31%

£589,709,104

£1,075,122

Physical wealth

5%

£102,309,363

£186,524

Private pension wealth

43%

£825,966,500

£1,505,853

According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, 18 per cent of divorces where financial awards were make involved pension splitting or attachment orders

Age UK has called for private pensions to be made a "proper" part of the divorce process for those who don't settle their divorce through the courts.

The charity stated divorce settlements in court normally feature private pensions but outside of the courts this does not happen automatically, with many couples routinely considering how to divide up the value of their homes but not their pensions.

Mark Stokes, head of communications at Succession Wealth, argued that “divorce is a traumatic experience and is often very expensive”.

He said: “We look to partner with clients during this challenging period to confidently develop clear step by step plans which help them create the lives they want and ensure their finances stay in order.”

maria.espadinha@ft.com