Since the Pensions Freedom Act came into force in the UK, in April 2015, there has been a huge outflow of money from defined benefit pension schemes and personal pensions in the UK. Many people have taken advantage of the new flexibilities by having control of their own pension pots.
However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to transfer from some schemes now, as hurdles have been put in place by some providers. It is true that these hurdles ensure that individuals are not transferring their pots to unauthorised schemes, but they also act as a “double check” that the advice provided about the pension transfer is from a qualified Independent Financial Adviser (IFA).
For you, the pension holder, it is quite an easy process. If you contact a qualified IFA like myself then we can do all the hard work for you, here are the steps that you need to take:
- Contact the IFA
- Complete a letter of authority
- 4 – 8 weeks later the IFA should have all the information available for you to make your decisions.
The IFA should complete various forms with you including a “Fact find and Attitude to Risk” questionnaire, and should be able to provide you with a detailed report on all the pros and cons of transferring your pension. You should be given information on all the options available to you now and at the time you intend to take the benefits.
You should not wait until you are ready to retire to find out what your options are. There are many cases where pension pots built up in the UK years ago are now sitting dormant or invested in old funds which are not being managed as well as some other funds available now. Reviewing your pension pot during the early years on a regular basis can make a huge difference to the size of fund you have when you come to retire.
There is no cost to you to find out about each of your pension pots; normally a provider will allow you to apply for a transfer value once each year free of charge. They often charge for a second or subsequent application within a 12-month period.
I would strongly recommend you find out about your pension pot now, you have nothing to lose and you will be better placed to start planning your retirement. I have been involved with pensions for nearly 30 years and can categorically state keeping on top of your own provision will pay you dividends in the long run.
In today’s financial climate it is essential you do everything you can to make sure your money is safe and secure, so that what you want to transpire in the future has the best chance of happening.