How advisers are preventing pension transfers

B0989G Mature couple worried, looking at finance statement. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown. Bankruptcy money issues problem
B0989G Mature couple worried, looking at finance statement. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown. Bankruptcy money issues problem

If you believe the news, you probably think that people are transferring out of pensions left right and centre to get their hands on their pension cash, but the truth is a very different story.

Under the new pension freedom rules individuals can take lumps sums out of their pension pots but the problem, as I've written before, is that not all pension schemes are set up to do this.

This means that many savers will have to transfer their pensions. The rules state if you are transferring a pension that has a guaranteed benefit attached (and it's worth more than £30,000) you have to get the OK from a pension transfer specialist.

Similarly, if you want to move your defined benefit (DB) pension to a defined contribution (DC) scheme to use the freedom (and again it's worth more than £30,000), you have to get advice.

But here's the rub: there are only 2,500 specialist pension transfer advisers in the country.

And to further complicate matters, many generalist financial advisers, who would have been able to sign off pension transfers until pension freedom rules came in, don't know they can't give this type of advice.

Unfortunately, this change in the rules means that many pension transfers have been started by non-qualified advisers, who don't realise they're not qualified, that are then being rejected by the pension scheme.

This means the retiree has to go back to square one and start the transfer process over again with a qualified adviser, costing them time and money.

Time to think

We are at a point where we have more people than ever wanting to transfer their pension and fewer advisers being able to do so and even some thinking they can do it when they can't.

Of course, pension freedom is still so new that the wrinkles are being ironed out but in the mean time there are a number of retirees who will be frustrated by the process.

The only good that may come of it is that difficulty transferring may give people time to think about whether raiding their pension pot is a good idea.

Anyone thinking about accessing their pension as cash does need to think long and hard about the future implications of their actions. Yes, you might get a big wad of cash now for a holiday, but you could be giving up a generous future income stream that will be make sure you can heat your home in later life, which holiday memories can't do.

Read more:

Crackdown on rip-off pension freedom fees

Pension freedom chaos: overwhelmed firms fail to answer calls

Pensions freedoms: one in eight will take it all out

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