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DB Transfers Template - A Step in the Right Direction

Two years on from the initial roundtable discussion in July 2017, which O&M attended, we are now close to the point of the first DB Transfers Template being released.

SO, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE TEMPLATE?

The idea is to standardise responses to initial CETV requests so that all statements provide the same fundamental information. The aim is to reduce the number of additional questions directed to scheme administrators from Pension Transfer Specialists, with the result being that that the process of reviewing the member’s Defined Benefit pension can be completed within the three month transfer value guarantee period. This should be a good thing for everyone involved. Will it be enough?

A POSITIVE STEP BUT NOT CONCLUSIVE

As it will be impossible to cover every scheme structure in a single template the positive effects are likely to be limited. That said, whilst it is unlikely to cover everything needed to produce an accurate Pension Transfer Value Analysis, it should reduce the amount of further questions raised with many schemes.

One concern is that for schemes with more than one category/section of membership they will just send a template that reflects the Standard scheme benefits. In this scenario it will not reflect the actual benefits of the member whose pension is being reviewed.  Below are two examples of how a Standard template may fall short in terms of its ultimate purpose:

Example 1: Standard members may have a 50% spouse’s pension entitlement with no increases in payment on their Pre 6/4/97 pension, but the member being reviewed is an Executive member with a 66.6% spouse’s pension.  Additionally, because they were originally in a pension scheme with another company that was taken over by the sponsoring employer, they also get CPI increases capped at 5% on their Pre 6/4/97 pension.  If the details provided are for a Standard member any analysis produced will significantly undervalue the scheme benefits.

Example 2: It is also important to understand how benefits are treated if the age benefits are being taken is: Before GMP Age; After GMP Age; Early Retirement; Late Retirement. We also need to consider the treatment of equalised benefits in these scenarios along with any tranches of benefit that have different normal retirement ages. In addition, full details of tranches that are treated differently in respect to increases before, or after retirement; death benefits; commutation for tax free cash; transferred-in benefits and so on will be required.

THE SOLUTION?

In an ideal world scheme administrators will complete the template and include information regarding all of the scenarios that relate to the member whose DB pension is being reviewed.  Scheme administrators should be aware that the standard template is a starting point only and that they should make sure that the information they provide reflects the actual benefits of the member.

Scheme administrators should also be aware that further queries are still likely to be made by anyone that is trying to understand the scheme’s structure in order to produce an accurate Pension Transfer Analysis.  Therefore, the understanding that the standard template, whilst a step in the right direction, is not the be all and end all of supplying member information is paramount.    

HOW CAN O&M HELP YOU?

Obtaining further information from scheme administrators can be a frustrating and time expensive process.  By using our Transfer Bureau service you defer this responsibility to us allowing you to focus on other tasks, such as producing your client’s APTA.  You simply download your completed report from our secure Case Tracking website once it is ready.

Alternatively, if you do wish to create your own pension transfer analysis reports our Transvas Profiler software can help make it as smooth a process as possible.  The built-in validation and checking feature ensures that any data anomalies and inaccuracies are brought to your attention, allowing you to then contact the scheme administrators with your further queries.  The result is a report underpinned by valid and accurate information.

To discuss your options in more detail please contact us.