Contents For Are QROPS A Good Idea

Are QROPS A Good Idea

QROPS Guide QROPS Pension Transferring UK Pension Transfers For British Expats To Avoid UK Taxes FREE QROPS Guide QROPS Pension Transferring UK Pension Transfers For British Expats To Avoid UK Taxes

QROPS Pensions Transferring UK Pension Transfers

FREE QROPS Guide

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We will be pleased to forward to you your FREE QROPS GUIDE (please check your email), in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us.

Are You Looking To Transfer Your UK Pension To A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme a QROPS Pension 

We are contacted by many people throughout the world, who have a UK Pension and who would like to explore their options about transferring their UK Pensions to a QROPS usually for one of the following reasons.

  1. To Secure YOUR pension (money); because of UK Pensions Deficits YOUR pension (money) is at risk.
  2. To Reduce YOUR Tax and increase your pension income for you to spend as you wish during your lifetime.
  3. To Secure the MAXIMUM benefits for your loved ones; on your premature death.

Firstly, its all about securing your pension as many pension schemes for example Occupational Pension Schemes (Final Salary, Salary Related, and Money Purchase Defined Contribution) are in deficit (UK Pensions Deficits Retirement Income Risk). This means that you may lose your pension (money) and not receive any pension income at all.

Secondly, its all about reducing your taxation so that you increase your pension income to spend as you wish in your lifetime.

Finally, lets secure the maximum benefits for your dependents (beneficiaries) your wife or husband, children, or for example chosen charities on your premature death.

UK Pension QROPS Pension Transfer

UK pension transfers for people with UK pensions offer substantial QROPS Benefits by transferring your UK pension to a QROPS Pension

Importantly a UK pension transfer means that your pension scheme will not be liable for any UK Tax while you remain a non UK resident for tax purposes.

So you can have your UK pension wherever you are in the world and also move your pension monies from third parties (your current pension providers) and remove your UK pension from the Pension Death Tax from age 75 in the UK at up to 45% all through a transfer UK pension to Australia QROPS.

QROPS UK Pension Transfers Worldwide  FREE Guide QROPS UK Pension Transfers

We are the go to QROPS UK Pensions Transfer Specialists with UK advisers providing UK pension transfer advice no matter where you are in the world.

If you would like to explore your Pension Options further please look through our website and download your FREE QROPS Pension Guide.

Get Started Here By Downloading Your FREE QROPS Pension Guide

FREE QROPS Guide

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We will be pleased to forward to you your FREE QROPS GUIDE (please check your email), in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us.

Or

Do You Have An Existing QROPS Pension

QROPS Pension Review – Free QROPS Pension Review Check Up From The Worldwide QROPS Pension Experts

Lets Begin With A Question: Is Your QROPS Pension Right For YOU?

We are contacted by many people throughout the world who have a QROPS pension, and would like to explore their options to get the most out of their QROPS pension (reduce their taxes and increase their pension income; while maintaining HMRC QROPS status).

You see many people have transferred their UK pension overseas into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). This has many positive attributes, if done correctly; and if it is properly maintained overtime through correct UK pension specialist advice (this is because a QROPS pension is country specific, and must also be tailored to a person’s changing specific circumstances); to achieve this, the financial adviser client relationship and the corresponding servicing levels must be high for example regular QROPS pension reviews.

We are therefore coming across clients who, unknowingly, have been poorly advised and/or have poorly maintained schemes; and very poor financial adviser client relationships and/or corresponding servicing levels. This can result in increased taxes, loss in pension fund value, reduced pension income, and heavy penalties from HMRC; which can be as much as 55% of your fund value.

Pension transfer rules and the various solutions (country and client specific) is a complex, ever changing environment (for example at the time of (2016) writing HMRC QROPS List has removed QROPS status from many provider in Australia and New Zealand). We therefore highly recommend that you should receive advice from UK qualified advisers.

So due to your personal changing circumstances, or country of residence changes, or QROPS legislation changes, or poor investment returns, or poor financial advice and /or service levels; you can see that it is vital to regularly review your QROPS pension with qualified UK advisers.

We are the go to QROPS UK Pensions Transfer Specialists with UK advisers providing UK pension transfer advice throughout the world.

As a result of the growing demand for ongoing QROPS advice; we offer a FREE QROPS Review check-up service. Should you wish to take advantage of this FREE QROPS Review service or simply ask us a question regarding your QROPS pension then please get in touch using our contact form.

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Importantly, Lets Just Remember Why You Took Out Your QROPS Pension:

  1. To Secure YOUR pension (money); from UK Pensions Deficits where you may lose your pension (money).
  2. To Reduce YOUR Tax and increase your pension income for you to spend as you wish during your lifetime.
  3. To Secure the MAXIMUM benefits for your loved ones, on your premature death.

Our QROPS Review Will Answer The Following Questions

Is Your QROPS Pension Right For YOU?

  1. Did you receive the correct advice, is your QROPS the right one for you.
  2. Is a QROPS pension right for you, or would a UK SIPP pension be more suitable.
  3. Has the QROPS jurisdiction altered since you took out your QROPS Pension; or should it be altered now.
  4. Have your personal circumstances changed, and is there any impact on your QROPS.
  5. Have you moved to another country, and is there any impact on your QROPS.
  6. Have you received regular ongoing service from your Financial Adviser; if not this needs to change immediately.
  7. Has your QROPS underlying investments increased in value satisfactory (see our Strategic Dynamic Asset Allocation model).
  8. Are you paying too much Tax, and can we increase your pension income.
  9. What impact will the UK SIPP pension changes mean to you.
  10. What impact will the QROPS Flexi-Access changes mean to you.

In Addition as part of your QROPS Review:

We Will Check Your QROPS Jurisdiction

Each jurisdiction, places like Malta or Gibraltar, has its own key strengths. Aligning these with your own needs and circumstances is crucial.

Misalignment, where left alone, is the number one reason why you will end up paying higher taxes and hefty HMRC penalties.

We Will Check Your Overall Charges

In a low growth environment, every additional percentage point charge has a huge impact on your net investment returns. You may be paying unnecessary fees, especially where there is no/very little ongoing service being provided.

We Will Check Your Investment Performance

Are you happy with your investment returns? We see portfolios that have not been altered since inception, over weight in structured products or student accommodation funds, or comprised of poorly selected “Random” funds. Strategic Dynamic Asset Allocation is needed to ensure lower volatile investment returns, which exceed both charges and inflation (see our investment approach here Strategic Dynamic Asset Allocation models for the ideal pension fund strategy).

We Will Advise On Draw-down Options

Whether you are approaching retirement or already taking benefits, we will recommend the most efficient method to take benefits (income or lump sum withdrawals) from your QROPS. NEW FLASH Flexi Access is now available for Australia QROPS.

QROPS Review In Summary

We are contacted by many people throughout the world who have a QROPS pension, and who, unknowingly, have been poorly advised and/or have poorly maintained QROPS pension scheme (due to a poor client adviser relationship and/or corresponding service levels). This can result in increased taxes, loss in fund value and heavy HMRC penalties, which can be as much as 55% of your fund value.

In addition due to your personal changing circumstances, or country of residence changes, or QROPS legislation changes, or poor investment returns, or poor financial advice and/or corresponding service levels; it is vital to regularly review your QROPS pension with qualified UK advisers (this is because a QROPS pension is country specific and must also be tailored to a person’s specific changing circumstances).

We Would Like To Help You To:

  1. Reduce your taxation.
  2. Increase your investment returns.
  3. Increase your pension income.
  4. Maximise your QROPS performance regarding HMRC changes, and changes to your personal circumstances with our regular review service.

Please use our contact form to get in touch ans  we will answer your QROPS Questions so that you can check and compare your existing QROPS Scheme against QROPS benchmarks – how is your QROPS compared with other worldwide QROPS Schemes?

Summary QROPS

If you have a UK Pension and would like to explore your QROPS Options  please use our contact form or download your FREE QROPS Guide and we will be pleased to help you further and answer any questions that you have

We are established UK Pensions Specialists within the worldwide UK pensions advisory environment; considered the go to advisory worldwide for all UK Pension Transfers to Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pension Schemes QROPS; wherever you are in the world.

Our highly experienced UK advisers will review your UK Pensions or QROPS pension and if appropriate, will work with you to make the relevant changes.

We advise, service, and arrange QROPS UK Pensions for clients from all over the world for example we have clients in Australia with the main enquires coming from Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Queensland, Sydney, and Victoria, New Zealand NZ mainly living in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, United Arab Emirates UAE, Dubai, Bahrain, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, USA, Canada, South Africa from Johannesburg and Cape Town, Brazil, Mexico, Moscow Russia, New Delhi India, Islamabad Pakistan, France, Monaco, Germany, Switzerland, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Costa Rica, and all of Asia; Hong Kong, Macau, Belize, Jakarta Indonesia, Tokyo Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taipei Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Phuket Pattaya Bangkok Thailand, Manila Philippines, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Vietnam, including Beijing, Shanghai and all of China, transferring UK pensions wherever you are in the world.

So no matter where you are in the world we can help and advise you with a QROPS Review; and take care of all the arrangements for you so that you can make the most of and get the most out of your QROPS pension.

We have been at the forefront of the development of QROP worldwide since their inception; and we retain strong links with the most respected QROPS providers worldwide. We are the most experienced independent advisory company in the QROPS worldwide market place. Advising not only private clients, but also private bankers at some of the largest institutions such as UBS, HSBC, and Credit Suisse.

Why don’t you Download YOUR FREE QROPS GUIDE;

FREE QROPS Guide

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Your Telephone Number including the country code - preferably mobile (required)

We will never share, sell or pass on your details to anyone else.

Thank you.

We will be pleased to forward to you your FREE QROPS GUIDE (please check your email), in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us.

Should you feel we can help further then please use our contact form; we look forward to being of service to you.

This web page was written in 2016. For the latest information please download the latest FREE QROPS GUIDE.

FREE QROPS Review – Contact Us First and Experience The Difference

Private Wealth Management Since 1993

QROPS Pensions Specialists

This web page and Video was produced in 2016. For the latest information please download the latest QROPS Australia UK Pension Transfers To Australia QROPS Pension Guide; QROPS Information Explained

Still not convinced a QROPS is right for you – here is some more information for you
Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS)
Do you have a UK Pension – Then Read This – it could save you £1,000’s

Are you aware of the tremendous financial planning opportunities that are available to you today by transferring your UK Pensions to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme; a QROPS.

QROPS are available to wide range of people; in fact almost anybody with a UK pension living in Australia can have a QROPS.

So the question is why transfer your UK Pensions to a QROPS.

Well essentially its all about UK Taxation, and hands up if you like paying UK Tax to HMRC.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reduce the income tax payable on your pension income by up to 45%, leaving you with up to 45% more income to spend as you wish.

What about removing the 55% UK Tax rate from your pension fund, would that also be a good idea.

Would you also like to increase your Pension Commencement Lump Sum (Tax FREE Cash) that you can receive.

And of course we all would like to leave 100% of the balance of our pension fund to our loved ones without any liability to UK Inheritance Tax (IHT) payments.

If these are not enough benefits and reasons for you to transfer your UK Pension to a QROPS, then what about the fact that you may not receive a pension at all.

You see many British UK Pensions Schemes Are in Deficit (Technically Bankrupt) which means that you may not receive any pension at all or at best a reduced income.

Now remember this is your pension money (your money) that we are talking about, and I ‘am sure you would agree that it is simply not worth the risk of entrusting your pension to a third party, when you could be in complete control of your pension.

So how can you get your pension money out and secure your pension?

By transferring your UK British Pension to a QROPS.

All of these benefits mentioned are available to you by transferring your UK British Pension to a QROPS.

Sounds too good to be true, well the transfers of UK British Pensions to QROPS are fully supported and agreed in UK law by HMRC and the UK government.

British Expats UK Pension Transfer

We are here to answer your questions, and explore your options together when transferring your British UK Pension we have British Pension Advisors, providing UK Pension Advice.

Transferring your UK Pension to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes a QROPS. If you have a UK British Pension and are living, working, retired, or retiring abroad, you can transfer your UK British Pension to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) to minimize your UK Taxes, and remove your pension from your British UK Pension Schemes RISK of failure (Bankruptcy), getting you back control of your pension; money.

The Benefits Of Transferring Your Expat UK Pension To A QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes)

We are contacted by many people from Australia; who have lived and worked in the UK, asking what if anything can be done regarding their UK British Pensions that remain or are frozen in the UK. And how can they find British UK trained Independent Financial Advisers with the in depth knowledge that they are looking for. Fortunately with regard to the following UK British Pension Schemes we can help:

  • Employee Final Salary Schemes (Salary based Pensions)
  • Employee Salary Related Schemes (Salary Related Pensions)
  • Occupational Pension Schemes (Money Purchase)
  • Occupational Pension Schemes (Defined Benefits)
  • Personal Pension Plans (PPPs)
  • Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPS)
  • Small Self Administered Schemes (SASS)
  • Section 32 Pension Plans

If you have a UK British Pension Scheme or a Frozen UK British Pension Scheme, and are now living, working, retired or retiring to Australia, then there is a lot that can be done with your UK British Pension by Transferring Your UK British Pension to a QROPS.

Including the following:

  • Many UK British Pensions Schemes Are in Deficit (Bankrupt) UK Pensions Deficits Retirement Income Risk; so how can I get my pension money out? – by transferring it into a QROPS.
  • Increasing the Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS) (Tax FREE Cash) that you can receive.
  • Reducing the income tax payable on your pension by up to 45%, and therefore increase your pension payments for you to enjoy.
  • Reducing the death tax (45% to HMRC) on your pension.
  • Remove the potential 55% HMRC tax rate from your pension.
  • Removing any IHT liability on your pension.

The transfers of UK British Pensions is fully supported and agreed by HMRC. We help people with UK British Pensions to compare the UK British Pension Transfer Market so that they can make an informed choice of what is available and what their options are.

Understanding The Benefits Of Expat British UK Pension QROPS Schemes

A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme is an overseas pension scheme that has met the requirements of the HMRC, which can receive the transfer of UK Pension Benefits without penalties for unauthorised payments. QROPS were introduced in April 2006 in order to simplify pensions and allow UK Pension Holders to access their funds in their country of residence, and pay local taxes.

A QROPS will broadly mirror the way a UK British Pension Scheme works, meaning you will receive a lump sum and pension when you retire.

We are established UK Pensions specialists within the worldwide UK Pensions advisory environment; considered the go to advisory worldwide for UK Pension Transfers to Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes QROPS wherever you are in the world.

Our highly experienced UK advisers will review your UK Pensions and if appropriate, will work with you to transfer them into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

We advise, service, and arrange QROPS UK Pensions for clients from all over the world for example we have clients in Australia with the main enquires coming from Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Queensland, Sydney, and Victoria, New Zealand NZ mainly living in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, United Arab Emirates UAE, Dubai, Bahrain, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, USA, Canada, South Africa from Johannesburg and Cape Town, Brazil, Mexico, New Delhi India, Islamabad Pakistan, France, Monaco, Germany, Switzerland, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Costa Rica, and all of Asia; Hong Kong, Macau, Belize, Jakarta Indonesia, Tokyo Japan, Singapore, Taipei Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pattaya Bangkok Thailand, Manila Philippines, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Vietnam, including Beijing, Shanghai and all of China.

So no matter where you are in the world we can help and advise you; and should a QROPS pension transfer be the right course of action for you we can make all of the arrangements for you.

We have been at the forefront of the development of QROPS worldwide since their inception; and we retain strong links with the most respected QROPS providers worldwide. We are the most experienced independent advisory company in the QROPS worldwide market place. Advising not only private clients, but also private bankers at some of the largest institutions such as UBS, HSBC, and Credit Suisse.

QROPS Pensions Solve The Following Problems:
  • Many UK British Pensions Schemes Are In Deficit (Bankrupt) UK Pensions Deficits Retirement Income Risk, how can I get my pension money out? – by transferring it into a QROPS.
  • What other taxes can you save?
  • How can you pass 100% onto my loved ones?
  • How to reduce the income tax payable on your pension by up to 45%.
  • And therefore increase your pension payments for you to enjoy.
  • How to remove the death tax (45% to HMRC) on your pension.
  • How to remove the potential 55% HMRC tax rate from your pension.
  • How to remove ALL IHT liability on your pension.
  • How to take investment control of your pension funds?
  • What types of pensions can you transfer?
  • How will the Lifetime Allowance reduction affect you?
  • How will the future government policy pension changes affect you?
As part of the FREE UK Pension review that we offer, we will take into account the following:
  • How much you need to retire?
  • Should you give up the benefits of your final salary scheme?
  • What currency should you hold your pensions in?
  • Where you live for Taxation purposes?
  • How can you keep your costs to a minimum?
  • What are the costs of transferring your pension?
  • What taxes will you have to pay?
  • What is your risk profile?
  • What fund managers give the best pension returns?
What Happens Next?

Should you wish to find out more about these benefits to you, then please contact us by completing the form below. We will be pleased to help you further including forwarding to you our FREE Expat British UK Pension Transfers QROPS GUIDE; QROPS information explained.

One of our UK advisers will then contact you to discuss your objectives, they will then analyse your pensions and help you come to a decision on whether QROPS is right for you.

Get your FREE QROPS GUIDE; before making any financial decisions “To Avoid Making Costly Mistakes”.

Download YOUR FREE QROPS GUIDE

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Telephone Number including the country code - preferably mobile (required)

We will never share, sell or pass on your details to anyone else.

Thank you.

We will be pleased to forward to you your FREE QROPS GUIDE (please check your email), in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us.

RETIREMENT SEEMS MANY YEARS AWAY SO WHY SHOULD I ADDRESS MY UK PENSION FUND NOW?

Many people have far more money built up over many years in their pension fund than they realise. It is not uncommon for a fifty year old to have built up twenty plus years of contributions into a pension fund often accumulating a “Money pot” in excess of £200,000.

Failure to plan correctly may result in the loss of your money (UK Pensions Deficits Retirement Income Risk). Take control today.

Pension funds will have been built up in many ways and can include anyone with deferred benefits in a company scheme, public sector scheme (including for example, teachers, doctors, nurses, police and members of the Armed Forces) and those with personal pensions.

Now is the ideal opportunity review and to take control of this large investment.

I AM STILL NOT SURE WHY I SHOULD NOT WAIT?

There are various reasons why it may be appropriate to address your pension now. Firstly, your own personal circumstances, and that of your family may change.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, future legislation may change restricting or prohibiting transfers to QROPS and SIPP UK Pensions. HMRC regularly reviews QROPS and in 2008 removed QROPS status from all Singapore schemes, and in 2015 from New Zealand and Australia schemes (HMRC QROPS List).

Please remember; we are only trying to help you achieve the following:

  1. Secure YOUR pension (money)
  2. Reduce YOUR Tax and increase your pension income to spend as you wish in your lifetime.
  3. Secure the MAXIMUM benefits for your loved ones.

Don’t waste your opportunity to achieve all three benefits for yourself and your family; contact us now here on our contact form we are here to help you.

Still Not Convinced, well please read the following independent sourced evidence about the fact that you may not receive a pension at all

You see many British Pensions Schemes Are in Deficit (Technically Bankrupt) which means that you may not receive any pension at all or at best a reduced income.

Now remember this is your pension money (your money) that we are talking about, and I ‘am sure you would agree that it is simply not worth the risk of entrusting your pension to a third party, when you could be in complete control of your pension.

UK Pension Deficits Widen As Contributions Drop

Source: FT.com August 10, 2015

UK companies are paying less towards meeting their pension shortfalls than at any point since 2009, even as aggregate pension deficits reach their highest level in five years.

The widening gap means companies are likely to face pressure this year from scheme trustees to increase payments towards their deficits, according to Barnett Waddingham, a consultancy.

FTSE 350 companies paid £7bn towards their defined benefit pension deficits in 2014, 20 per cent less than the previous year and 40 per cent below the amount each year between 2009 and 2012, the survey found.

At the same time, the aggregate deficits for FTSE 350 companies increased from £53.3bn to £64.7bn during the year, as falls in corporate bond yields pushed down so-called discount rates, which are used to calculate the present value of payments the scheme expects to make.

Most companies have closed their defined benefit schemes to new employees, but some still face heavy liabilities from existing members, who number at least 7m in total.

Market conditions suggest deficits will probably continue widening, with falling bond yields counteracting strong investment performance within many schemes’ portfolios, said Barnett Waddingham.

A code of practice introduced by the Pensions Regulator in 2014 allows employers more flexibility in paying down scheme deficits where this may affect the companies’ growth. BT, which faces a £7bn deficit, said in January it had agreed with scheme trustees a plan to reduce its annual payments.

However, Nick Griggs, head of corporate consulting at Barnett Waddingham, said: “The increase in deficits seen towards the end of 2014 will almost certainly translate into pressure from scheme trustees to reverse, or at very least address, this trend [of lower deficit contributions] in 2015 and beyond.

“If you look at the levels of cash that a lot of companies are holding, there does seem to be potential for increased deficit contributions.”

A small group of companies face the most severe pension deficit risks: 18 have deficits exceeding 10 per cent of the company’s market capitalisation, while seven hold equities within their pension schemes with more than 50 per cent of the company’s market capitalisation.

“This is a recurring problem but it has been acute in recent years. The regulator has to balance the interests of members, employees and shareholders,” said Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown.

An interest rate rise may help by diminishing projected liabilities, he said. “But if those falling liabilities are offset by falling asset values, that could mean they are just running to stand still.”

Companies are shifting rapidly towards defined contribution pension schemes, in which members buy annuities or enter income drawdown based on the total assets in their pension pots, rather than on their final salaries or years worked. The average amount paid into such schemes increased by a fifth in 2014.

However, about 170 FTSE 350 companies still have a defined benefit scheme; in total, these are expected to pay out £970bn in the next 30 years.

“It is remarkable to consider the level of resources that UK businesses are having to contribute towards legacy benefits,” Barnett Waddingham said.

Lower deficit payments contributed to a more positive picture for investors in companies with defined benefit schemes: net dividend payouts have risen steadily as deficit payments declined since Barnett Waddingham began its surveys in 2009.

Dividend payouts reached £56.9bn in 2014, up from £47.3bn in 2009, but in 2014 there were still 24 companies that paid more in pension deficit contributions than they handed to investors via dividends.

Funding Shortfall For Final Salary Pensions Worsens

Source: FT.com May 22, 2015 Josephine Cumbo; Pensions Correspondent

Funding shortfalls in many defined benefit pension schemes have worsened despite £44bn of extra contributions, prompting the regulator to remind employers of the options they have to deal with the deficits.

The aggregate deficit of more than 6,000 private sector defined benefit schemes covered by the Pension Protection Fund soared to a record £375bn in January this year, compared with £215bn the same time three years ago. Market movements had reduced this figure to an estimated £242.3bn at the end of April but the deficits remain stubbornly high.

The Pensions Regulator said trustees and employers sponsoring some schemes could consider taking longer to eliminate the deficits, or change their assumptions about future investment returns to help mitigate the problem.

The regulator said in a statement on Friday that persistently low interest rates and falling gilt yields had created a “very challenging environment” for schemes conducting their regular statutory three-yearly check on financial health.

“Despite all major asset classes having performed well and schemes having paid £44bn in deficit repair contributions over the past three years, our analysis suggests that many schemes with 2015 valuations will have larger funding deficits due to the impact of falling interest rates and schemes not being fully hedged against this risk,” said the regulator.

“The extent of the impact of market conditions will depend on a scheme’s specific circumstances such as the exact dates of valuations, asset allocations and interest rate and inflation-hedging strategies.”

Towers Watson, the pension consultants, said the regulator‘s analysis showed that, for the median scheme, deficit contributions would need to rise 66 per cent if the timetable for eliminating the shortfall were not pushed back.

“For most schemes, the deficit recovery period would need to be extended by more than three years if contributions stayed the same,” said Towers Watson.

“The regulator no longer says that deficits should be cleared as quickly as employers can reasonably afford; companies who don’t want to put their hands in their pockets are very conscious of that.”

During the scheme valuation process, trustees acting on behalf of members of final salary schemes and the employer sponsoring the scheme agree on ways to plug any funding gap.

Last year, the regulator set a new objective allowing for business growth to be taken into account when determining how much cash should be set aside for shortfalls.

On Friday the regulator suggested that schemes with “capacity to take additional risks” could look to “modest extension to their recovery plans, a modest increase in deficit repair contributions and/or changing their assumptions relating to investment returns.” Other schemes with “less capacity to take risk” should seek higher contributions, it added.

The statement came as industry observers noted an increasing trend for employers to push out their recovery plans.

A survey by PWC, the consultancy published in March found more than half of 200 company pension funds had lengthened their recovery plans by three years or more.

“It’s concerning that while the economy is recovering, pensions deficits are still increasing and employer deficit contributions are falling,” said Lincoln Pensions, which advises trustees.

“Our experience is that sponsors regularly cite the regulator’s sustainable growth objective as a reason to propose lower deficit contributions even when deficits increase. In doing so they are increasing risk for both the company and for members.”

The National Association of Pension Funds, which represents workplace pension schemes, welcomed the regulator’s statement saying it reiterated the need for scheme trustees to “manage, rather than eliminate”, risk.

Final Salary Pension? Your retirement income is at risk

Source: The Telegraph February 21, 2015

These ‘gold-plated’ schemes are supposed to be guaranteed – but savers are being misled, a top pension’s official has warned.

Savers in their forties and fifties are being “misled” over the safety of their final salary pensions and could suffer a 10 per cent cut to their retirement incomes, a senior official has warned.

In a stark warning, the head of the government’s pension’s lifeboat said five in six final salary schemes had fallen into the red and faced a struggle to pay savers a full pension.

Alan Rubenstein, chief executive of the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF), said that many of the 11 million people with a supposedly guaranteed, inflation-linked pension were being led to believe their pension was safe, when “for many that isn’t the case”.

Savers who tried to cash in their final salary pots early, by using the new pension freedoms due in April, face losing up to 40 per cent of the value of the pension they’ve built up, he said.

The comments, in an interview with The Telegraph, represented the most overt warning from a government-backed organisation since the crisis in the early 2000s when thousands of workers faced the loss of their pensions as companies collapsed with deficits in their schemes.

Mr Rubenstein, whose organisation was set up in the wake of that scandal to rescue final salary plans when they fail, said: “It is misleading to allow people to expect promised pensions when in fact there is only money enough to pay about 60 per cent of those pensions [should they be cashed in today] and where nothing is being done about the shortfall.”

Final salary pensions are typically worth a maximum two-thirds of a worker’s wages on retirement depending on their years of service, with payouts rising with inflation and half going to a spouse on death.

The pensions are more generous than schemes where the size of the pot is linked to the stock market.

George Osborne’s pension freedoms will arrive as the health of final salary pensions is deteriorating dramatically. Around 5,000 pension schemes face a funding shortfall of at least £300 billion, the largest since 2012, figures show. Low interest rates and the fears over Greece’s exit from the Eurozone have conspired to increase funding costs for firms that offer final salary pensions.

A customer seeking to transfer their entitlements out so they can cash in the pension would typically get just £6 for every £10 in their name, Mr Rubenstein said, because schemes were so far in deficit.

If the company behind the pension was unable to meet its promises, it would have to be taken over by the protection fund. In such cases, most members are given 90 per cent of their predicted retirement payments each year. Wealthier savers stand to lose more as annual payouts are capped at approximately £30,000.

Those already retired will be protected, leaving those in their forties and fifties, who will claim benefits in future years, most at risk.

It is unclear how many schemes would fail, Mr Rubenstein said, because companies were hiding the scale of the problem.

“We should be having this conversation now, rather than leaving people under the impression they will have a pension as promised,” he said.

Mr Rubenstein added that while pension schemes with large holes in their finances were required to have “recovery plans”, some were unlikely to work, having been stretched over a nine-year period on average. Recovery plans are easily derailed if returns fall below expectations. Many companies were “travelling in hope”, he said.

Stephen Soper, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator, which oversees the funds, said:

“We are prepared to work with [struggling schemes] to try to deliver a solution that balances the interests of the members, PPF and employer.”

Many final salary schemes have closed as a result of long-term funding problems, with just 8 per cent open to new members, according to the National Association of Pension Funds.

The gap between the money held in such schemes and the pensions they have pledged to pay is widening dramatically.

While such pensions hold £1,200bn of investments, the most conservative valuation of their pension promises is closer to £1,500bn. This £300bn gulf has grown from almost nothing in just 12 months (see graph, below). The shortfall highlighted in this data, however, is not the real extent of the gap. The £300bn figure is based on the reduced pensions that workers would be paid if their scheme collapsed and had to be taken over by the PPF.

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In broad terms, if your scheme fails – in most cases because your current or former employer goes bust – the PPF will step in, paying 90pc of promised pensions up to an annual cap of £30,000. For most workers the cap is high enough to mean they receive 90pc of their promised income. But for higher earners, with big pension entitlements, the cap can inflict a brutal loss of retirement income.

The gap between pension schemes’ investments and the value of actual promises made to pensioners is therefore far higher than the £300bn that would deliver the PPF level of payouts. One independent estimate, by Citigroup, put the real gap at £850bn.

Even figures from the Pensions Regulator, the body charged with monitoring schemes’ solvency; suggest that if schemes had to pay all their pensions as promised today, they would be 45% short.

It is possible that shortfalls could shrink in time if investment returns grew and companies contributed more. Mr Rubenstein said: “You shouldn’t be scared by one month’s numbers. But companies need realistic recovery plans. Many are on life support at the moment, kept alive by cheap loans.”

Actuary Henry Tapper, of consultant First Actuarial, said: “There is no silver bullet. There is no obvious factor that will induce growth. The only guarantee is what the PPF would pay if it had to take over your pension.”

The PPF expects to bail out twice the value of pensions in the coming year as in the previous one. This increase is not due to a rise in insolvencies, but to the growth of the shortfalls in the funds that fail.

Pilot’s pension cut from £47,000 to £26,500

The Pension Protection Fund, the lifeboat scheme for savers in stricken salary-linked pension schemes, is able to guarantee most people 90pc of their promised pension.

But for bigger pensions the scheme has a cap. The most you can receive is £36,000 per year – less if you retire before you are 65.

The pension scheme of Monarch Airlines is currently being taken over by the PPF following a restructuring of the company. There was not enough money in the fund to meet all the pension promises made in earlier years. While most staff’s pension will fall below the cap, meaning they will get 90pc of their entitlements, some high-earning pilots will see drastic cuts.

One Monarch pilot, 51, who did not want to be named, planned to use his generous promised pension of £47,000 per year to help his children and pay off his mortgage. But he and his wife have been forced to rethink their plans because under the PPF they will get a maximum of £26,500. “I’m still in a state of shock,” he said. “It’s like a grieving process. There’s this sense of injustice. My pension is something I’ve paid into over the years and it’s something I was promised. I was paying around £1,000 a month from my salary, excluding the company contribution, and I’ve always regarded my pension as deferred pay. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was in a position to do something about it, but for me the time available is short.”

UK Pension Deficits Double To More Than £100bn

Source: FT.com January 6, 2015

Pension deficits at the UK’s largest companies nearly doubled over the past year to exceed £100bn, as record low interest rates continued to take a toll.

The combined accounting deficits for FTSE 350 companies with final salary pension schemes ballooned from £98bn to £107bn between November and December, compared with £56bn a year ago, a survey published on Tuesday by pension consultants Mercer found.

Consequently, funding levels — or the ability of schemes to make payments as promised to members of final salary plans — reduced from 86 per cent to 85 per cent over the same period.

Mercer said the deterioration was “substantially” driven by a further fall in corporate bond yields, which are used to measure the pension liabilities reported in company accounts.

“The sharp fall in both corporate and government bond yields to historic lows during the second half of the year has resulted in a sharp rise in pension scheme deficits,” said Ali Tayyebi, a senior partner at Mercer.

“The accounting deficit is 90 per cent higher at the end of 2014 compared to the position at the end of 2013.”

According to the Mercer estimates, pension assets held by the top 350 UK companies rose £2bn to reach £608bn between November and December last year. But over the same period liability values rose £11bn to £715bn.

Mercer said a “huge variety” of financial and economic factors worldwide had affected yields in 2014 but it expected continued volatility in 2015.

“Whilst the recent fall in yields may cause many pension schemes to review the hedging of their interest rates, schemes should be open to the opportunities that volatility provides,” added Mr Tayyebi. “Companies and trustees should be prepared.”

With UK pension scheme deficits continuing to soar, some commentators are calling for a review of the Bank of England’s Quantitative Easing policy, or asset purchase program, which is designed to revive economic growth but depresses bond yields.

Ros Altmann, an independent pension expert and investment adviser, said: “The impact of Quantitative Easing on corporate pensions and annuities has not been properly appreciated and is one of the dangerous unintended consequences of this policy experiment.

“The stronger economy and sharply falling unemployment would normally have heralded rising interest rates and equity prices. Instead, interest rates remained low and gilts became increasingly expensive as long yields fell to record lows towards the end of the year.”

In recent years pension funds have switched away from equity investment towards gilt and bonds, making them much more sensitive to movements in bond yields.

In 2006, more than 60 per cent of pension fund assets were in equities, but this fell to 35 per cent in 2014. In contrast, holdings of gilts and bonds have risen from 28 per cent to 44 per cent over the same period.

Pensions Black Hole Rockets To £250 billion

FINAL salary pension scheme deficits have soared by two-thirds in just 12 months, leaving a £249billion shortfall.

Source: The Express January 3, 2015

The black hole of all UK private sector schemes – where assets are outstripped by liabilities – rose from £150billion at the end of 2013 as a result of plummeting bond yields, new figures revealed yesterday.

The funding level – the proportion of payouts covered by a scheme’s assets – dropped from 88 to 83 per cent.

Charles Cowling, director of pension advisers JLT Employee Benefits, blamed the sharp rise on stalled UK equity markets and continuing low interest rates.

He said that the Bank of England’s suggestion that interest rates could normalise at an eventual 3 per cent ruled out any respite in the short to medium term.

Deficits of firms in the FTSE 350 rose by 59 per cent to £97billion while their funding level fell from 90 to 86 per cent, according to JLT.

FTSE 100 schemes also suffered, with deficits rising to £85billion from £54billion, pushing down their funding level to 87 from 90 per cent.

Last month it emerged Tesco has a £3billion hole in its scheme.

Other companies struggling in 2014 to fill the gap included Royal Bank of Scotland and BT.

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