Section 32 buy-out policies
Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP

The following Pensions practice note produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Section 32 buy-out policies
  • What is a section 32 buy-out policy?
  • When might a section 32 buy-out policy be used?
  • The position before 6 April 2006
  • The position after 6 April 2006
  • Section 32 buy-out policies and taking benefits
  • Section 32 buy-out policies and block transfers

What is a section 32 buy-out policy?

A term which may be often heard within the pensions arena is that of the ‘section 32 buy-out policy’—also sometimes referred to as a section 32 policy or buy-out policy. Its name derives from the legislation which originally applied in respect of such policies, namely section 32 of the Finance Act 1981 (FA 1981), and which has now been repealed.

A section 32 buy-out policy is a deferred annuity contract bought from an insurance company and as the name suggests, is used to ‘buy-out’ a member’s deferred benefit entitlements (including, where applicable, deferred contracted-out benefits) held under a pension scheme, so that the benefits are transferred from the scheme to be held under the policy. They are ‘one member’ arrangements. The policy will be distinct from the pension scheme which originally held the member’s benefit entitlement and is designed to pay the transferred benefits to, or in respect of, the member at some date in the future. The benefits will always be deferred at the date the policy is acquired. Following the purchase of the policy and the transfer of the deferred benefits, the pension scheme from which they derived ceases to have any liability in respect of those benefits.

A member’s deferred benefits may be secured by the purchase of more than one policy, or from more than one insurance

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