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£15bn sexism case puts UK pension transfers on hold

OK so there’s been a big and boring legal stoush going on in the UK… the upshot of which is that UK pension schemes trustees are now in a quandary and stopping lots of pension transfers. That can suck if you, through no fault of your own, are caught in the cross-fire.
Basically the case is about a £15bn sexism allegation (well its not really, but it is kind of). It appears some women’s benefits (called a guaranteed minimum pension – GMP) have been accruing quicker than men’s, because back in the old days their retirement age was set at 60 and men’s at 65. Can you imagine that retirement at 60…
Now people are arguing that this is unfair for men, because pensions should be equalised, but they are not (and there are a few side arguments as well).
Obviously, this whole notion of retirement at 60 is a fairly dated concept in fact it stopped being relevant in 1997 when the GMP accrual was abolished.
But the problem is that heaps of pensions have members that might have benefits that accrued under this olden day policy. So even if you are a decent god fearing citizen who joined your pension after 1997 you could be snookered. Why because the people that run your pension, the trustees, could suddenly find that the pension scheme is not as funded as they thought it was (because they owe the older men more – collectively it is thought to be £15bn that needs to be funded). If the scheme isn’t fully funded as first thought, your pension might not be as funded as you thought as well, ouch!
Most of the schemes haven’t even started to work out the consequences, neither for them or their members and so everything has simply ground to a halt. That means that many schemes have put active transfers on hold, have stopped issuing transfer valuations, and their front line staff are ducking for cover under their desks every time someone calls for an update.
We’re guessing that means that there are going to be plenty of busy UK trustees over the Xmas break. If you are thinking about a pension transfer or find yourself unable to transfer contact us to see how we can help. Because if this carries on much longer there could be plenty of trustees facing legal claims from members whose tax bills might go up on a pension transfer, who lose out on investment gains, or simply cannot transfer out in a timely fashion.
If you are interested in the boring legal bits, here is a good summary

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very stress free

Thank you Cambel for your help and guidance throughout this process in getting my pension transferred (very stress free for me). It is greatly appreciated and I would certainly recommend you and Charter Square to others who are interested in transferring their pension.

David R, New Zealand

You guys rock!

I just wanted to say a great big thank you to you and your team. You are all totally awesome. I received a cheque yesterday from the Prudential to apologise for the ‘recent inconvenience’ that I had experienced. Thank you for doing this for me. You guys rock!

Noelle B, New Zealand

professional, insightful

Charter Square were professional, insightful and a pleasure to work with. They rose to the challenge of consolidating my overseas pensions and bringing them home with minimum fuss for me and maximum effort on their part.

Jens H, New Zealand

thorough, professional and prompt

Very thorough, professional and prompt service from the team at Charter Square. Thanks for making the bewildering world of pension transfers super simple.

Jules T, New Zealand

Best party to deal with

Thank you kindly for keeping in touch with me. For now, I will not be moving my pension. I will however be keeping your details and referring back to you when I wish to pursue. You by far are the best party to deal with, no nonsense, professional and in my opinion genuine. I do sincerely thank you for your advice to date.

GE, New Zealand


Securing the freedom to use savings that are actually ours to work with has been stressful in the extreme. While I never planned on giving up there were many times when the current (UK) holder made the whole process seem well beyond my determination and ability. It’s easy to look at the 36 month history of this claim with the benefit of hindsight, but the conclusion is that employing Charter Square in the first instance would have been wise had I been able to anticipate the red-tape that appears to have been deliberately created to stall access.

CP, Auckland
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