Defined Benefit Pension review offers an opportunity for full financial planning

Defined Benefit Pension review offers an opportunity for full financial planning


You need to seek the advice of a professional pension specialist in order to consider transferring a defined benefit pension scheme to a defined contribution pension scheme. Therefore whatever end of the spectrum you are, this offers up an opportunity to review your full financial plan with the help and support of a professional adviser.

When considering the suitability of transferring a defined benefit pension scheme our advisers take a holistic view, taking into account all of your assets, liabilities, income and expenditure. Our adviser will be critical and will challenge your thoughts and views on transferring such benefits.

We are advisers not order takers, it would not serve purpose if we allowed clients to make poor, impulsive decisions without warning and challenge.

We will listen to your needs and look at your long term goals and then stress test possible outcomes to ensure you have the good and bad outcomes to help make your decision.

We will also constantly review the plan following transfer to ensure it remains on track to meet your objectives in the future. Mistakes made early on can have devastating consequences on the longevity of your plan and its ability to provide sustainable income for the expected term.

A full advice process obviously comes at a cost. It involves hours of work discussing your needs, collecting data and reviewing your plans going forward. Compared to the cost of a poor outcome however fees can be insignificant.

Critical dependence

At one end of the spectrum are those that are critically dependent on their DB scheme with little or no other sources of income to rely on. In most cases it would not be appropriate to transfer benefits and our advisers will usually indicate this at an initial stage. Unfortunately this means they may be driven down the road of poor advice elsewhere and order taking as they insist on a transfer but wish to keep costs down which may not always be in their best interests.

Strategic Pension Transfer

At the other end of spectrum there are those who have significant other assets and don’t wish to use their pension for income but wish to transfer it for other tax advantages. In this situation a transfer is more likely and they can also afford to pay fees in advance of any transfer and therefore receive full and appropriate advice. These people have perhaps also sought advice in the past and are familiar with using a financial adviser if not actively engaged with one at the time. Their affairs are more complex and full financial planning is a must but often more importantly for their other assets than the pension in isolation.

Somewhere in the middle

For people in the middle whether to transfer or not is less clear. This is where it is most important to seek full and challenging advice from a professional transfer specialist. A lot of hard work lies ahead for the adviser in determining whether a transfer is appropriate for the client. If you find yourself in this space and have the means to pay for advice it is important to find an adviser who does not just process orders. Instead find a pension specialist that takes into consideration the points above, takes time finding out your current assets and liabilities, future goals and likely expenditure, stress tests outcomes and wants to review your plan at least annually to ensure you remain on track. We will tell you if it is appropriate or not for you to transfer benefits and would hope that by demonstrating possible outcomes you will agree with our advice.

If you require more information in how to review your defined benefit pension scheme, time frames, what paper work is required and the options available to you in retirement please contact us now to arrange an initial meeting with one of our pension specialists in Harpenden or Hitchin.

Final Salary Pension Analysis

Final Salary Pension Analysis


If you have a final salary pension scheme (defined benefits pension) you may wish to review this to see how suitable it is to meet your retirement objectives before choosing to take benefits.

In many cases you are able move out of the scheme thus giving up your benefits in return for a one off transfer amount. You can transfer the one off amount to a suitable defined contribution scheme and manage the money yourself going forward.

There are many reasons you may wish to do this as well as many reasons you should not. If a guaranteed income in retirement is important to you and you do not like the idea of investment risk and managing your money then it is unlikely that this will be a suitable solution for you.

However, if you are comfortable with the possibility of fluctuating income and can accept investment risk a transfer to a defined contribution scheme may help you to chose a different shape of retirement income, pass on your pension wealth to nominated beneficiaries other than a spouse in the event of death or take part of your benefits such as tax free cash without the need for a regular income.

Before making any financial decision such as how to take your retirement benefits it is important to understand all your options, benefits risks and disadvantages and seek advice from a professional on the best outcomes for you. If you wish to transfer a defined benefit scheme with a transfer value in excess of £30,000 you must seek and evidence you have received financial advice prior to signing the transfer papers.

Independent financial advice – talk to our pension specialists

If you are looking for independent financial advice on a final salary pension scheme and are able to visit our offices in Harpenden or Hitchin please contact us. We have a number of pension specialists who are able to assist in the analysis of your existing scheme and work with you to see how this fits with your retirement plans or if there is a better solution to help in retirement.

It is better to contact us before you receive the transfer value as the regulation and detail of reports can mean in order to obtain all the relevant information for the existing scheme can take 8 – 10 weeks and beyond depending on the size of the pension trustees administration team and their ability to respond to information requests.
This is an irreversible decision if you decide to transfer so we want to provide as much advice and thinking time as possible for you to make the decision that suits you. It is quite possible that the existing scheme will meet your requirements and if so our advisers will detail the reasons why you should not transfer in a full report.

You can read a case study here: Defined benefits and defined contribution transfers, new advice equation

Case Study – Pension Sharing on Divorce

Case Study – Pension Sharing on Divorce


Laura came to us during her divorce from her husband. She was 57 and about to be awarded a share of her husband’s pension as part of the divorce settlement. Their children were all grown up and she wanted to be able to start fresh in a new home of her own. She had therefore chosen to give up her share of the family home in exchange for more of her husband’s pension.

We helped Laura set up a suitable pension plan to accept the transfer in from her husband’s pension scheme. Being experienced in the process, we were able to liaise with her solicitor and make sure that the transfer took place quickly and smoothly.

Once she was in receipt of the funds we were able to drawdown what she needed to buy her own home. We were also able to demonstrate to her how she could afford to carry out some home improvements and still have enough funds left over to provide sufficient income in retirement to meet her lifestyle needs.

Case Study – Long Term Care

Case Study – Long Term Care


Mary lives in Spain but came to us when her mother was admitted to a care home in the UK, having been diagnosed with dementia. It was a very difficult time for Mary and her family as not only were they very worried about their mother but they were in the middle of selling the family home to pay for her care home fees.

Mary was particularly concerned that the money made by selling the family home would quickly run out and they wouldn’t be able to pay the care home fees.

We were able to show her how she could secure income for the rest of her mother’s life tax efficiently to make sure that her care fees would always be taken care of by purchasing a long term care bond.

By doing this it also meant that the surplus could be invested for growth until her and her siblings would inherit, guaranteeing that there will be something for each of them, even though the family home had to be sold.

We were able to overcome the difficult money laundering procedures involved with the investments due to her living outside of the UK and investing on her mother’s behalf via a lasting power of attorney.

Case Study – Bereavement and Pensions

Case Study – Bereavement and Pensions


Catherine came to us following the death of her husband. At the time she was only 56 and still working full time in a high pressure job she no longer enjoyed.

She had an outstanding mortgage on the family home and had recently received lump sum payments from John’s pension and life insurance policies.

She wanted to know if she could afford to pay off the mortgage in full and still maintain her and her daughter’s standard of living on her single wage.

We were able to show her that not only could she pay off her mortgage but she could transfer her pension, go into drawdown, and produce enough income to maintain her lifestyle and resign from her high pressure job that she no longer enjoyed.

She is now able to focus on her family and spend more time doing the things she loves. She has since taken on work part time in the local jewellery shop. And is enjoying every minute!

Case Study – Business Owner and Property in Pensions

Case Study – Business Owner and Property in Pensions


Charlotte is a successful business owner. We had been helping her invest and plan for her retirement for many years when she asked for some advice when commercial premises her company was leasing went up for sale. She was concerned that the business would potentially have to move and the detrimental impact this could have.

We were able to show her how she could purchase the property herself.

She could do this tax efficiently by using her SIPP to purchase the property, and we were able to advise her on this, guiding her through every step. As a result she has expanding her business, removed the risk of having to move premises and acquired a significant asset in her pension.

Lyndhurst and Hicks merger

Lyndhurst and Hicks merger

The Merger

The directors of Lyndhurst Financial Management Ltd (Lyndhurst) are delighted to announce that they have obtained shareholder approval to acquire the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated financial service business of Hicks and Company (Hicks FS) as of 1st January 2017.

Lyndhurst and Hicks FS share many of the same services today and consequently clients of Hicks FS will notice little change in the way their account is managed. Indeed Steve, Charlotte and Rob from Hicks FS will transfer over to Lyndhurst and continue dealing with their clients in the same office they do today.

The Managing Director’s Thoughts

Commenting on the merger, Lyndhurst Managing Director and Hicks and Company senior partner, Martin Corrie said

“We have run the two businesses in parallel with great success over many years, albeit under different ownership structures. However, to continue to deliver excellent advice and service to our clients we are investing in the next generation of client service technology and it made sense to do this once rather than twice.”

The combined business will use the Lyndhurst brand and FCA regulatory permissions and have 24 members of staff looking after 2000 clients across offices in Harpenden and Hitchin.

The accountancy and tax business of Hicks and Company is unaffected by this merger.

Award Winning Website

Award Winning Website

We are delighted that our new website won a 🏆 GOLD award in the responsive website category at the Herts Digital Awards last Thursday evening in Hatfield.


To receive the award were Jeremy Eyre Finance Director and Adam Cook Head of Operations.

digital-awards-1 Herts Digital Awards Gold

We worked in tandem with our website designers Hitchin TV . If you need a website that works on a ‘phone, tablet and PC, talk to James at HitchinTV. Whilst working with James we were able to discuss, develop and evolve our ideas for the site and how our users will benefit most from using it on their mobiles and tablet devices as well as browsing on their computers. We hope you have been enjoying the enhanced user experience.

In the meantime please take a look at the rest of our site

Hamilton Court FX – Morning Report

Hamilton Court FX – Morning Report


Morning Report

Another reasonably quiet day on the markets yesterday, with the FX market trading in fairly tight ranges. The Pound fared reasonably well early on, as the unemployment numbers showed that in the run up to the vote, jobless numbers continued to fall. The data didn’t give too much of an insight into what’s been going on in the labour market post-vote though, so the jury is still out on the immediate impacts and that’s the reason that we didn’t see a larger leg stretch for Sterling.

Ratings Agency Moody’s continues to back the prospects of the UK. They updated their global growth forecasts yesterday and still see the UK dodging a recession over the next 18 months, with growth for this year expected at 1.5% and 1.2% in 2017. They say the fallout within Europe from Brexit will be limited and have kept EU growth forecasts at 1.5% and 1.2% for 2016 and 2017. They say the biggest risk to global growth is the US election and any change of administration that brings in changes to trade pacts and security alliances.

So far, The Donald hasn’t managed to derail his own election campaign to the point of him standing down. In fact, Mr Trump has had a re-jig of his campaign leadership team which, according to the Washington Post, is likely to lead to an even more outrageous strategy to get to the top spot. New campaign CEO Steve Bannon has apparently being talking to Nigel Farage about the role played by left of centre voters in the Brexit outcome.

Over in Germany

Der Reichstag © Jorge Royan /

Politicians have said there’s nothing to regret, after a leaked document alleged that Turkey was a hub for Islamists and that the Turkish president has an ideological affinity with Hamas. For a country so strategically important to Europe, Germany are doing a great job of winding them up (and vice versa) and this continued strain on relations is going to play heavily into the hands of Moscow, where there is a lot of interest in ramping up trade and influence with Turkey. Meanwhile the number of people detained in Turkey following the failed coup last month has breached 40,000.

Last night the Fed released the minutes of their last meeting, which show a divided committee. There are those that want to hike now and those that want even more data and evidence that inflation is heading back towards target. There’s concern that low rates is going to have a negative impact on financial stability, but not the impetus to want to change things just yet. We’re of the opinion that this can only mean that rates are staying lower for longer.

An interesting article in the FT written by Bill Gross this morning on low rates in the long term and how they actually weigh on productivity. It’s a great opinion piece and we’d definitely suggest reading it. If you can’t our take away on the productivity dilemma is; “Most central bankers dismiss this fact as a short-term aberration. But the Japanese economy provides an example of what interest rates at near zero can do to a large, developed economy. The answer is not much: not much real growth; not much inflation – and, together, not enough nominal GDP growth to repay historic debt should yields on sovereign debt ever return to normal”.

Looking to today

UK retail sales will be an interesting read and could knock the Pound off its recently found perch. These numbers are from July and will be a test of the uncertainty of the consumer in the few weeks following the vote. US jobless claims and European inflation might also give us some moves.

George will be writing the morning report tomorrow, as I go and take on the South Downs Way in the Great British Summer in a bid to help a friend. As such, I’ll say ‘have a great weekend’ now, safe in the knowledge that whatever you’re doing, you’ll be having more fun than I will!

Have a great day


This article originally appeared in the morning report email newsletter by Hamilton Court Fx on the 18th August 2016.