£50bn liberated from defined benefit pensions since introduction of freedoms

New research has revealed that £50bn worth of defined benefit (DB) transfers have taken place since changes to pension freedoms were first introduced in April 2015.

The data, which was recently highlighted in the Financial Times, claims that there has been a total of 210,000 DB transfers since pension freedoms were made available.

The surprising figure is far higher than previous data released by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) earlier this year following a freedom of information request.

According to TPR, 80,000 DB transfers took place between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.

Separate research carried out ahead of the Great Pension Transfer Debate in Peterborough last month found that DB transfers appear to be soaring in popularity.

At the event, findings were presented from a survey of 240 financial advisers – in which one in five respondents claimed that more than a quarter of their business now comes from DB transfers.

The news comes shortly after The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced an upcoming overhaul to the way in which the DB transfer market is regulated – which will include revisions to the existing transfer value analysis (TVAS) system.

Currently, the FCA operates under the assumption that advisers will typically tell most clients that a transfer is unsuitable for them.

However, in a consultation paper on DB transfer advice, the watchdog has said it will be introducing a ‘handbook statement’ to advisers, which will state that it is most likely in the best interest of clients to keep their existing DB pensions.

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