Allow partial transfers, schemes told

Three quarters of trustees and employers believe that all schemes should offer partial transfers, according to a new survey from consultancy XPS Pensions Group.

At its conference yesterday, the firm polled more than 450 trustees and employees, with 75 per cent saying that would back making all schemes allow partial transfers.

More than half said they would like to see access to independent advice for pension scheme members paid for by employers or trustees, as 43 per cent felt that they are not doing enough to stop members being scammed.

Nearly three quarters think that low cost default options should be put forward by employers.

XPS chief executive Paul Cuff says: “Pension schemes are aware more needs to be done to ensure members have the right information to make informed decisions with what is likely to be the biggest pot of money they will ever own. When presented with some of the remedies suggested in our recent member options research report, it is obvious pension schemes are willing to take action and make practical changes to ensure better member outcomes, they just need the support to do it.”

Also speaking at the conference, The Pensions Regulator executive director for regulatory policy, analysis and advice David Fairs noted that pension scheme governance, particularly in small schemes, “is not where we would like it to be”, and that TPR would continue to work with trustees on communication and service to members.

Yesterday, the FCA released a flagship policy statement on defined benefit transfer advice. As part of its findings, it urged advisers not to provide a transfer value comparator to clients at the triage stage because this could be interpreted as financial advice.

However, in a recent report, Royal London called for trustees to show members transfer values, even if they did not ask for them, to provide impartial information to aid decisions which should not constitute advice.

In XPS’ survey, 81 per cent said they believe appropriate education and support should be provided when transfer values are publicised on member statements.

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