The Previous Pension Minefield - A Survivors Guide

In today's modern workplace individuals change employer ever more frequently so that an individual may change employer numerous times during his/her working life. The days of a 'job for life' that the previous generations enjoyed are long gone.

In most cases, individuals moving employer have pension benefits with their former employers.

With pension transfers becoming more common, employees with benefits in old pension schemes from former employers may decide to transfer these benefits to pension schemes run by their current employer. This can serve to eliminate the additional administration that can result on an employee’s retirement. In recent years, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator have heavily scrutinised the area of pension transfers and have especially highlighted the need for good quality advice in this area.

Mindful of this need for greater transparency, many of today’s pension providers will not consider the transfer of benefits for any employee until they receive financial advice from an independent financial adviser. Others will not allow transfers without employer consent. Employees may be unaware of the value of their pension ‘pots’ and the potential minefield that they may be stepping into when seeking to transfer benefits. Many previous pension schemes may have additional (hidden) benefits that may be lost on transfer to their current employer’s scheme.

As advisers, it is important for us to be mindful of these benefits when reviewing the previous pension arrangement of a corporate employee and understand when a line is crossed from providing mere factual information and explanation and veering into the area of individual ‘advice’.

Robert Simmons

Corporate Pensions Administrator