As with any asset a pension is generally shared when it comes to matrimonial asset splitting. In this article we explore splitting a UK pension transfer; divorce or separation can lead to the need to the split a UK pension, but unlike some other financial instruments they can be messy to unwind particularly because it is a pension and generally ring-fenced until retirement.
Many lawyers and advisers are not familiar with the process of a UK pension transfer and then for it to be split between the separating parties. So it’s important to have experienced people familiar with the processes involved. Timing is crucial and with the courts required to be part of the process from a compliance perspective timeframes can be long.
We have conducted numerous UK pension transfers for marital splits and our experience and advice saves time and money in legal fees and other costs such as tax (by ensuring that the process is not protracted).
There are several steps in the process so lets get started:
1. Getting the right advice
Understanding the steps required before you start the process. We will provide you and your legal advisers with checklist so you don’t miss any steps in the process, once you get started we provide authorised and regulated advice both at the UK and NZ ends of the transaction regarding the transfer of a UK pension for the purpose of a split.
2. Understanding the value of a UK pension
Understanding the true value of the pension transfer is not easy especially with a defined benefit pension. There may be benefits that exist in a UK pension that may not be fully understood without proper advice and there may or may not be tax to pay on the transfer so it’s crucial these factors are taken in to account before moving to the next step
3. Agreeing on the actual split percentage.
This may be a complicated process when taking into account all the factors regarding the value of the pension in concert with the other assets included in the split, at this stage if necessary your legal advisers will be most useful
4. Getting a court order
A court order is necessary to make the agreement binding. A court order is required in New Zealand before the scheme receiving the pension transfer can allocate funds received from the UK to someone other than the pension owner. A UK court order is not binding in New Zealand and the receiving scheme can’t act on it. The court order will reflect what has been agreed between the parties or where agreement cannot amicably be reached the courts may decide on the amount to be split after considering all the facts of the case.
5. Selecting the right scheme to transfer to
Like any investment it’s important to ensure you are going to the right scheme with the right funds that match your investment preference outcomes and risk profile. Charter Square works with authorised financial advisers with experience in QROPS and specifically advisers that have worked with pension splits. It may be when the funds arrive they don’t stay in the same scheme so ensuring the scheme you transfer to will allow an immediate transfer out to another scheme is critical.
6. Access to the funds
Unfortunately the non pension holder or beneficiary of the split is subject to the same rules as the pension holder and can only access the funds in the same circumstances. For simplicity sake no access until 55 years old. Currently you can access the funds from age 55 (potential rising to age 57 in 2028).
What next? If you are caught up in a pension split or have friends or family that need help navigating the process contact us and ask for our specialist in pension sharing orders.
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Until now I'd imagined my UK pension funds being locked away behind all manner of firewalls and bureaucratic hurdles to access on retirement. Before committing the one surviving official document of my English OE to the bin - a single page detailing my private pension details - I contacted you out of curiosity. The result feels a little like winning lotto.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.