The government’s consultation on 'freedom and choice in pensions' was launched on 19 March 2014 alongside its announcements about new flexibility for defined contribution (DC) pensions. The consultation closed on 11 June and we expect the government’s response to the consultation to be published on Monday (21 July), which is the last day before Parliament’s summer recess.
"Our prediction is that there will not be any restrictions imposed."
The big question is whether the government will decide to impose any restrictions on transfers out of private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes. Transfers out are key to benefit flexibility for scheme members and to liability management opportunities for sponsoring employers.
Our prediction is that there will not be any restrictions imposed and we hope to be left with a clear playing field to help employers progress exercises that have been on hold for the last few months. In particular, we believe that the establishment of 'Retirement Transfer Options' as a standard member option at the point of retirement will become commonplace. Related options are also in the pipeline to help members make the very most of their benefits in terms of meeting their needs through retirement. Employers assisting members to make retirement choices that are right for them (through the provision of suitable information, guidance, or access to independent financial advice) is key to this type of liability management tool.