News & Insights

FCA Publishes Retirement Transfer Data

Back in 2018 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported that advice was suitable in fewer than 50% of pension transfer cases – a figure that fell significantly short of the 90% mark recorded in other areas of the consumer financial advice sector.*

Pension Transfer Advice Still Lacking

As a result of the 2018 findings the FCA carried out analysis of a significant amount of data to help it comprehend the defined benefit pension transfer advice market more clearly.

The FCA has now published details of pensions advice carried out by 3,015 advisory firms between April 2015 and September 2018 on pensions worth a total of £82.8 billion, with an average of individual pension value of £352,303. Interestingly, the watchdog found that 162,047 individuals – accounting for nearly 70% of clients – were advised to transfer out.*

Curiously this figure includes not only UK expat retirement transfers, but also those that relate to UK residents, a demographic that may be less likely to benefit from a transfer into a QROPS or a SIPP.

“We have said repeatedly that, when advising on DB transfers, advisers should start from the position that a transfer is not suitable,” commented Megan Butler, the executive director of supervision, wholesale and specialists at the FCA.*

Butler added that it is deeply concerning and disappointing to see that transfers are still being recommended at similar levels.

Reliable advice for one of life’s most important financial decisions

Choosing whether to undertake an expat retirement transfer is one of the most important, yet complex, financial decisions you will ever have to make. As such, it is essential that you receive reliable, regulated and impartial advice which takes full account of your cashflow needs, retirement goals, time horizon and cross-border situation.

Blacktower Financial Management provides clients with world class and independent financial advice, to help them determine whether an expat retirement transfer really is in their best interests.

We always work with our clients’ best interests in mind and are committed to providing a transparent, professional and attentive service, whatever your financial advice requirements.

For more information about how we may be able to help you achieve your retirement goals, contact your local Blacktower Financial Management office today.


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The reforms promised that over 55’s would have access to their pension cash as they pleased whether it was the full amount or in small payments. Or indeed it could be left invested. The choices on offer appeared staggering, always bearing in mind that there are tax implications for taking large sums.

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Whoever you are, wherever you have settled in Europe and whatever the nature of your pension scheme – final salary or defined contribution – it is essential that you get advice regarding both your expat regular savings and your pension scheme; it can mean the difference between uncertainty and security.

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