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Case study: Drawing funds from an occupational pension

The client

Our client approached us as she had received a pre-retirement pack from an old company occupational pension scheme, from a well known high street name.

This was for a relatively small plan value, and the pension offered was only £70 a year. Our client asked if we could arrange for her to draw the whole fund as cash. Alternatively she wondered if we could transfer the fund to add to her existing sizeable pension benefits that we manage.

Our solution: drawing funds from an occupational pension

We examined the data and advised that it was in her best interests to draw the fund. There was quite a sizeable penalty on making a transfer, but not on drawing the funds directly from the scheme. The latter option was clearly preferable. The transfer would only be a last resort.

The retirement paperwork gave options for drawing the fund as a one-off payment under the triviality rules. However our client did not qualify to use these as her overall pension savings were too high.

We therefore considered drawing the benefits under the small pot rules, where you can draw plans of up to £10,000 as one off payments. There are various versions of these rules depending on the type of scheme, but they are quite straightforward for occupational schemes.

The challenge: changing the rules

There was no option for this in the paperwork, so we contacted the scheme administrators to ask for this.

The administrators confirmed our understanding that we could use these rules, but they then advised that the scheme have chosen not to adopt the rules that actually allow this. They also advised that they thought the scheme had a lot of members in a similar situation, with small pots, who would probably prefer, or have preferred, to draw the funds as cash.

We thought this was worth challenging, as it would actually cost our client quite a sum of money if she transferred her benefits instead. We drafted a letter for her to send to the scheme trustees to ask them to change their stance.

The occupational pension administrators then advised us that they had reviewed our data. As a result they chose to adopt the rules which would benefit our client.

This decision meant our client was better off. But crucially it also opened up this option for other members of the scheme.

Please note though, drawing a cash payment rather than a pension is often not the right choice. Advice is important, as shown by this case, where we were able to provide an option our client would have not known was even available.

 

If you would like advice on your occupational pension please contact us on 01543 410 512 or email us on enquiries@acuityfinancial.co.uk

Case study: Mortgage advice at the end of product life

The client

One of our long-standing clients approached us for mortgage advice as his product was ending. He was looking to take out a new 5-year fixed rate product.

Our solution: mortgage advice

We reviewed his options, and looked at suitable products from a number of lenders. The best option for him was to take an offer from his existing high street lender. Our client spoke to the lender, and was offered a competitive rate.

The challenge: changes in rates

A few weeks later we went to apply for this, to find the rate had increased. The client was happy to go ahead with this, but we could see no reason for the change. We therefore suggested he should wait whilst we did a little more digging.
On checking the numbers we found that his loan to value was just under the 80% mark. However on checking the rates we found the rate he was being offered was for loans over 80%. It was possible the lender had changed their recorded property value, but this seemed unlikely.

After much pondering we came up with a possible answer. As the lender charges daily interest, then this is added to the loan every day. This could mean that during the month then he could be pushed over the 80% threshold, and by waiting until his monthly payment was paid, then the original products would become available again. We therefore suggested waiting until the start of the next month, and then re-apply for the product change.

We did this, and were offered the original rate. By waiting a few days and working with us the client saved £1,525.80 over the next 5 years. Had the client gone direct to the lenders website and applied himself he could have ended up with the wrong product without realising.

To ensure you are taking advantage of the right mortgage product, why not call us for on 01543  410512 and make an appointment for a free mortgage advice consultation.

Call us now