To help answer this tough question Ginkgo Financial would like to offer you a free initial, no-obligation consultation with our certified pension transfer specialist and Chartered Financial Adviser.
We'll help you discover if transferring out of your final salary (defined benefit) pension scheme would be in your best interest.
For most members of final salary pension schemes transferring isn't in their best interest due to the loss of guarantees and likeliness that they'll be worse off in retirement.
The value of pensions and investments, and the income they provide, can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.
Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstances and is subject to change.
Final salary pension schemes (otherwise known as defined benefit pension schemes) are a luxury from a bygone era. The guaranteed pension benefits are almost unmatchable by more modern investment-based pension schemes.
Whilst a few people are still active members of a final salary scheme, millions of people are deferred members of historic employers' schemes.
If you are a deferred member, the decision to transfer out is one of the most important decisions of your life.
It is vital to seek expert advice from a fully qualified and experienced adviser who you can trust to help you decide what's right for you.
In April 2015, government reforms were introduced allowing greater flexibility and control to personal pensions, this reform does not extend to final salary schemes. The effects since the reforms have been astounding.
As noted by Josephine Cumbo, Pension Correspondent for the Financial Times up to £50 billion has been pulled from final salary pension plans by 80,000 people, in order to benefit from the increased flexibility offered by personal pensions.
Generally, unless you need access to the tax-free cash and/or an income within the next 12 months you are probably best to do nothing. A personal pension comes with an investment risk and the estimated future returns very rarely outperform the guaranteed annual increases of a deferred final salary scheme.
However, if you are looking at retiring now, (in full or part), need access to your tax-free pension cash, or are in poor health, then a transfer is something that you should at least consider.
The government has placed strict requirements on anyone with a final salary pension transfer value above £30k to seek regulated financial advice to protect against making a decision that could be detrimental to their future.
Below, we've outlined a few considerations.
Opportunity to withdraw a tax-free lump sum with the choice of deferring the income until required. Additionally, freedom to take out what you need when you need it.
Freedom to pass the pension fund to anyone of your choosing (potentially tax-free) in the event of your death
Those of declining health can choose to enjoy the fruits of their pension while they can.
A final salary pension is guaranteed for life (and the life of your spouse) and will have at least some inflation protection.
You would have to accept the risks such as fluctuating investment returns, inflation, interest rates and longevity which could mean you are worse off in retirement. In a final salary scheme these risks are borne by your employer.
Transfer might not be suitable if you plan to rely solely on the scheme for your retirement income.
For people with large benefits there is the added complication of the Lifetime Allowance, which requires very specific and detailed advice.
These are but a few of the factors that are taken into consideration when advising on a final salary transfer.
Ginkgo Financial is a boutique wealth management company specialising in final salary (defined benefit) pension advice. We've been at the forefront of final salary pension transfers, working on cases since the introduction of pension freedoms legislation in April 2015.
Our small team is led by Daren Wallbank, Chartered Financial Planner, who has over 25 years' experience and out of all financial advisers that are members of the CII, he is one of the few (less than 1 in 10) to be a fellow of The Personal Finance Society.
Daren also holds the new and most appropriate qualification regarding up-to date final salary pension transfer advice (Unit AF7 of the Chartered Insurance Institute's "Certificate in Pension Transfer Advice").
Ginkgo Financial is fully regulated by the FCA with the added assurance of being part of the Quilter Financial Planning network.
Your final salary pension transfer consultation will be with Daren Wallbank, Chartered Financial Planner and certified pension transfer specialist. The telephone consultation will last approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
During your consultation we will discuss with you:
Your reasons for considering a transfer out of your current final salary scheme.
The consequences of transferring and the arguments for and against doing so.
The key differences to you should you decide to transfer.
How transfer values are calculated and what we envisage yours could be.
how the transfer process, including timelines and requirements.
the answers to any questions you might have.
At the end of your consultation we will let you know whether or not we believe that a transfer would be in your best interest.
If you feel that you are not quite ready to discuss your pension in this way, or if you simply have a few questions that you'd like to ask, please do feel free to call us at your convenience and we will do our best to help you.
The Ginkgo team will be in touch by the next working day to arrange a time for your consultation.
Daren has impressed me with his knowledge and competence levels, but also with his 'can do' approach and personable nature
Wayne Tucker DipFA MLIBF BA(Hons) Kind Wealth Ltd
To the uninitiated, the world of pensions is complex and confusing, so when a friend recommended Daren and the Ginkgo team, we found more than we had hoped. They are professional, knowledgeable, friendly and approachable.
Daren is very personable, knowledgeable and professional in explaining the advantages and risks with regard to moving our pensions and we were very happy with the advice provided.
John & Gill Potter - Horsham