Final Salary Pensions – Stick or Twist?
Until recently, the ‘best bet’ with a final salary pension was to leave it well alone. However, a combination of factors means that the old rules no longer apply. So how should you play your cards when it comes to a potential pension transfer?
These days, a ‘final salary’ pension is a rare and splendid thing. Even so, there’s still an estimated 6.8 million Britons¹ with ‘deferred’ final salary pensions that could now be ripe for transfer.
Final salary pensions got the name because they pay a pension based on a percentage of your salary. Thanks to their generosity, until now it was generally best not to transfer from a final salary to a personal pension where you need to shoulder the investment risk yourself.
But two recent developments have turned conventional wisdom on its head.
The first is the record low yields on UK government gilts, which has pushed the cost of providing a final salary pension to new highs. As a result, the transfer values offered as an alternative to taking your pension have also hit new all-time highs. In some cases, they’re over 200% higher than they were just a few years ago.
Indeed, some schemes are now offering multiples of 50 or more, which means that a modest £10,000 p/a pension can now be worth in excess of £500,000 when transferred.
Freedom of choice
The other factor behind the current boom in final salary transfers is the arrival of the new ‘pension freedoms’. Now, anyone over 55 can access their personal pension whenever they like and take whatever income or cash lump sums they choose (subject to the tax rules).
Critically, the new rules also abolished the 55% ‘death tax’ on pensions, which suddenly made them one of the most tax-efficient ways in which to pass wealth to the next generation.
This is key as it means that the simple act of transferring to a personal pension now transforms a final salary pension from something that ends when you die into a major financial asset that can be managed and then passed on to your loved ones.
Transferring also enables you to keep your pension pot invested for what might be 30 years of retirement as well as presenting the opportunity to reduce your tax bill in retirement.
Because transfers are highly nuanced, it’s also now a legal requirement to seek professional financial advice (which carries a fee) on any pension transfer worth over £30,000.
Before you find an adviser, a good first step is to calculate just how generous your current transfer value might be. That’s why Drewberry built this calculator as a free online tool that does the heavy lifting for you.
Whether a pension transfer is right for you will depend on your circumstances, but with record transfer values and new pension freedoms on offer, it makes good sense to find out.
¹Royal London, data correct as at March 2015. Sources: Purple Book (December) 2015 & LGPS Annual Report 2015.
Neil Adams is Head of Pension Planning
at Drewberry Wealth Management
The contents of this article are for reference purposes only and do not constitute financial or legal advice. Independent financial or legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific matter. Articles are published by us without any knowledge or notice of the circumstances in which you or anyone else may use or rely on articles or any copy of the information, guidance or documents obtained from articles. We operate and publish articles without undertaking or accepting any duty of care or responsibility for articles or their contents, services or facilities. You undertake to rely on them entirely at your own risk, and without recourse to us. No assurance of the quality of articles is given or undertaken (whether as to accuracy, completeness, fitness for any purpose, conformance to any description or sample, or otherwise), or as to the timeliness of the publication.
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Is the constant quest for equality eroding the archetypal gender differences? - July 18, 2017
- Fit for the Beach - July 17, 2017
- Heart Valve Disease Treatment: Minimally Invasive Surgery - July 16, 2017
- Is smartphone dependence a problem or just the way of the future? - July 15, 2017
- Win ONE of FIVE pairs of tickets to Chatsworth House and Garden - July 15, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!