Requirement for appropriate independent advice on DB to DC transfers

The following Pensions practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Requirement for appropriate independent advice on DB to DC transfers
  • Safeguards introduced on 6 April 2015
  • What form does the appropriate independent advice requirement take?
  • The legislative and regulatory framework
  • What constitutes appropriate independent advice?
  • Who does the appropriate independent advice requirement apply to?
  • Exclusion of unfunded public sector schemes
  • Application to safeguarded-flexible benefits
  • Application to pension credit members
  • What to do if the appropriate independent advice requirement applies
  • More...

Requirement for appropriate independent advice on DB to DC transfers

On 6 April 2015, pension freedoms were introduced allowing members with data-ln-csis="393978" data-ln-lnis="5M3D-8H01-F18D-C23F-00000-00">flexible benefits (essentially, money purchase benefits and cash balance benefits) to access their pension pots in more ways than before, including by way of drawdown or by taking one or more lump sums known as uncrystallised funds pension lump sums (UFPLSs).

These pension freedoms do not apply to safeguarded benefits (essentially, defined benefits (DB) and other benefits that are not money purchase or cash balance).

For further information on the pension freedoms, see Practice Note: Pension freedoms—an introduction.

For further information on which benefits constitute a safeguarded benefit and which ones do not, see Practice Note: Flexible benefits vs safeguarded benefits.

Safeguards introduced on 6 April 2015

The government recognised that the appeal of the pension freedoms (in particular the ability to take one's pension pot in one or more UFPLSs) might have led to an increase in transfer-out requests from members with safeguarded benefits to flexible benefit schemes. The government was concerned that such transfer outs could have a detrimental impact not only on the member (who would forgo certain guarantees by transferring into a flexible benefit scheme and thus could end up financially worse off), but also on the wider economy (by forcing trustees at large to liquidate scheme

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