|Transfers to other pension schemes10||RKQR||6,810||6,084||5,363||13,221||12,777||34,245|
The numbers are confirmed by the latest Origo stats, which show an alarming increase in transfers passing through its options service.
So much for the Treasury’s predictions on the impact of Freedom and Choice on Defined Benefit Pension Transfers.
There is , in the FCA’s cast-list , such a person as a “vulnerable investor”, defined as someone unfit to take rational decisions due to mental or physical incapacity.
I am tempted to include those active and deferred members of a DB plan as “vulnerable investors”.
The FCA recommend that vulnerable investors have special protections to ensure that they do not self-harm, when taking life-changing financial decisions. I suggest that special protection be given to those with eye-watering transfer values for whom the word “pension” no longer seems relevant.
Only a few weeks ago, the FTSE100 stood at 7700, today it is below 7000. I was at a session yesterday where we quizzed wealth managers on how they protected clients from major market downturns. The (provisional) £34.2bn that transferred into DC last year is a case in point.
Just how much financial resilience is there? What happens if the market falls below 6000? How will those drawing down units at 20% below purchase price recover from “pounds cost ravaging” AKA sequential risk? I heard no answers to those questions yesterday and I suspect that following a ten year bull run, such a scenario is far from wealth manager’s minds.
Wealth Managers show me charts with money flowing from accumulation, through transition to preservation and then inheritance, as if the point of his service was to avoid the question of income in retirement altogether. Were the generous tax reliefs on offer to these clients – supposed for inheritance tax mitigation?
It would seem that the pensions system established to supplement the state benefits, is being dismantled at a pace that quite outwits the Regulators. This weeks’ white paper earned this comment from LCP
This is a significant development in DB pensions policy, but it will be some time before many of the measures set out in the White Paper pass into law, if at all.
This week saw the Pensions Regulator and FCA issue a joint statement of intent to “work closer together”. LCP saw through that one too.
There is little real meat in this paper, with much of its content taken up in reciting what the two bodies are currently doing separately, before going on to ask what the two bodies could do jointly.
And finally we were treated to the Pensions Regulator’s second DB landscape report. LCP managed a notable hat-rick of put downs , commenting
This report (accompanied by a blog) provides a useful overview of aspects of the DB landscape that will be of interest to policymakers, but one cannot help think that the Regulator has much more detail on the landscape that it is choosing not to make public.
Are we getting the full story on transfers?
While Government fiddles, Rome burns.
Meanwhile, real people are doing real things to limit the damage. Before I had decamped to judge the wealth managers, I had had a pint and a burger with David Neilly. Here he is a few hours later collecting an award on behalf of Chive with his wife Karen.
David, Rich and Stefan were instrumental in bringing the problems at Port Talbot to the public eye. Al Rush, Al Cunningham, David Penny, Darren Cooke and many more great IFAs are now building a restitution service to help trustees and employers manage the problems created by unscrupulous advisers. Above all, this is Al Rush’s award.
It is up to blogs like mine, and their readership, to make it absolutely clear that the current system of transfer advice is failing the ordinary working person in this country.
The tripling of pension transfers over the past year is testament to that. If – as the FCA estimate- 53% of the transfers advised on in 2017 contained questionable advice, we are looking at around £18bn of these transfers, that should not have been made.