Pension liberation—an introduction
Produced in partnership with Natasha Peacock and Rebecca Bennett of Needle Partnership LLP
Pension liberation—an introduction

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Natasha Peacock and Rebecca Bennett of Needle Partnership LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pension liberation—an introduction
  • The rise of pension liberation
  • What is pension liberation?
  • Why does pension liberation fraud happen?
  • Structures and characteristics of pension liberation
  • Considerations for lawyers
  • Considerations for pension savers
  • Considerations for regulated advisers
  • Considerations for scheme trustees, administrators and SIPP providers
  • Issues for unregulated introducers
  • more

This Practice Note provides an introduction to pension liberation, what it is, why it happens, its structures and characteristics, and considerations for the various parties involved.

For further information on the legal considerations that arise in the context of pension liberation, see Practice Note: Pension liberation—legal considerations.

For further information on schemes where pension liberation was suspected and where action was taken by the Pensions Regulator, see Practice Note: Pension liberation—actions taken by the Pensions Regulator.

For further information on complaints that have been determined by the Pensions Ombudsman in relation to transfers of pension funds connected to pension liberation or pension scams, see Practice Note: Pension liberation—Pensions Ombudsman decisions.

The rise of pension liberation

At its most basic, a pension is an arrangement by which an individual, or an employer, pays moneys into a fund that is invested and which aims to provide the individual with an income on retirement. Pensions enjoy generous tax treatments in the UK and, as such, are subject to a complex legislative and regulatory framework.

Wherever there is complexity, there will be loopholes and differing interpretations. These loopholes and differences of opinion, coupled with a mistrust by the general public in the financial services sector and a need for people to access moneys due to the recession that followed the financial crisis in 2008–2009, have created an environment