14 November 2019
New pension scam warning sounded
The Pensions Regulator along with the Financial Conduct Authority have used the findings of some recent research to reiterate four simple steps that individuals should take to protect themselves from pension scams – reject unexpected offers, check who you are dealing with, don’t be rushed and consider getting impartial information and advice.
The research findings are truly shocking with 63% of people trusting someone offering pensions advice out of the blue. And having a university degree seems to make you more prone to falling victim – graduates being 40% more likely to accept a free pension review from a company they’ve not dealt with before and 21% more likely to take up the offer of early access to their pension pot.
The research also finds that 24% of people admit to taking no more than 24 hours to decide on a pension offer.
Both sets of Regulators are right to push this topic once more, but it would appear that the ScamSmart campaign is not proving to be effective. More needs to be done by policymakers to protect not only the vulnerable in this “freedom and choice” world, but those who think they know what they are doing.
ACA calls for greater flexibility in savings and pensions products
The Association of Consulting Actuaries is calling for greater flexibility in savings and pensions products to make them more attractive to younger workers, such as to allow individuals to draw down some of their pension savings in order to help with a house deposit.
This is in response to the ACA’s latest report on its 2019 Pension trends survey which found that 53% of employers say aggregate savings would increase if there was greater flexibility in vehicles available to younger workers.
The survey also reveals that:
- 52% of employers engage ‘gig economy’ workers for whom no pension provision must be made, with 21% engaging upwards of 5% of their workforce in this way; and
- 65% of employers expect the typical retirement age in their business to increase to age 66-67 by the end of 2021, compared to 14% retiring at these ages at present
There have been calls for greater flexibility before, including from the ACA, which has been met with reluctance from Government. It may be a topic whose time has yet to come, but in order for such flexibility to be provided there will need to be a joined-up approach from both the DWP and HMRC.
DB transfers – experience update with a focus on partial DB transfers
LCP continues to monitor the pattern of transfer quotations for the DB schemes we administer. The number of transfer quotations in Q3 2019 was down 9% from Q2 2019, with 1.5% of deferred members receiving a quotation this quarter. This decrease is consistent with the general fall off in transfer quotation activity since its peak in 2017, back to the rates experienced in late 2018 and early 2019. More details of the transfer experience of the schemes we administer can be found in our latest bulletin.
In our report, we have also focused on one of the key questions asked by the FCA in its recent consultation on DB pension transfer advice, whether all schemes should be required to offer partial DB transfers. We look at the number of schemes currently offering members the option of taking a partial transfer, and also the experience of those schemes that do, in terms of the typical partial DB transfer members take as a proportion of the total transfer amount. We then consider the pros and cons of offering members a partial DB transfer option, and outline a possible streamlined approach which addresses many of the downsides.
This Pensions Bulletin does not constitute advice, nor should it be taken as an authoritative statement of the law. For further help, please contact David Everett at our London office or the partner who normally advises you.