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We have responded to the Pensions Regulator’s consultation on transfers from defined benefit (DB) pension schemes into defined contribution (DC) schemes. These transfers are expected to become more popular as some members with DB benefits transfer into DC schemes to make use of the new pension freedoms from April 2015.
The Pensions Regulator has set out guidance for trustees of DB schemes on dealing with members’ requests for transfers
The guidance is broadly sensible, although we have asked for more clarity in one area. This is because members need to take independent financial advice if they have an entitlement of £30,000 or more. The guidance is prescriptive about informing members of this requirement. However, the benefit structure of our DB scheme means it is not currently possible to build up an entitlement this big. We think that trustees should not need to inform members of this requirement if the trustee knows that the member cannot have a big enough entitlement to need advice.
We have also raised a related concern about rules affecting employers who wish to switch their workplace pension. Regulations dating from the early 1990s require an actuarial certificate for transfers between trust-based schemes. Today, many trust-based schemes provide DC pensions, but the requirement for an actuarial certificate applies to all trust-based schemes even though DC schemes do not use actuaries. This puts up a needless barrier to pension transfers and makes consolidation into fewer, bigger pension schemes difficult even though the Pensions Regulator believes that this would be in members interests. We believe that these regulations need to be updated to remove the requirement for an actuarial certificate for DC to DC transfers.
You can read our consultation response here: DB-DC Transfers – B&CE response