Defined Benefit Pensions 
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Pension Transfer Specialist


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Defined Benefit and Final Salary Pension Transfers


Safeguarded Benefits


Pension Consolidation


Phil Handley


Whichever type of pension scheme you have, I’ll be able to advise you on your best options.

Many of us have a good idea of how we want our retirement to be. We have set goals, planned holidays and dreamed of not having to get up for work. That’s all perfect, but have you got enough money to achieve those goals and will your pension allow you to do them?

Some pension schemes have restrictions on how you access them in favour of guaranteeing a lifetime guaranteed income, which might suit you, but in a few cases, this may not be true.

Transferring a pension is a decision which could have big financial implications if done incorrectly. My commitment to you is to fully understand your existing schemes, situation, and your future plans. I will fully analyse your benefits with future projections, and only then will I make a recommendation.

Get in touch with me today and let’s discuss options for your pension! Let’s get started on achieving those retirement dreams!


What is the Pensions Transfer Gold Standard?

The Pensions Advice Taskforce, a representative industry body set up by the Personal Finance Society, has established a voluntary code of good conduct for Safeguarded and Defined Benefit Pension Transfers advice by DB transfer specialist – the ‘Gold Standard’.

Financial advice firms who adopt and promote this standard adhere to a set of principles. As a result you can be confident that you are dealing with an ethical adviser and professional advice firm that has your best interests at heart when receiving financial advice in relation to whether or not you should transfer your pension.

We have a maximum advice charge of £3,000

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Final Salary Pension

Occupational schemes based on your salary and length of employment.

DB transfer specialist (Defined Benefit)

Occupational schemes, where your pension income benefits are known and not reliant on stock market performance.

Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)

Contracted out, salary related pension benefit.

Guaranteed Annuity Rates (GAR)

Schemes offering a guaranteed income rate, irrespective of current market annuity rates.

Occupational Money Purchase

Occupational schemes with a varying fund value.

Guaranteed Level of Income

e.g. Under a Retirement Annuity Contact (RAC) or deferred annuity

Section 9 2 (b) Rights

i.e. contracted out pension service post 1997 under a scheme that contracts out on the Reference Scheme Test basis


Transferring many pension schemes into a new more cost effective and flexible plan.


Professional on all levels
     I have recently transferred my works pension into a SIPP and utilised Phil's expertise to provide me with financial advice, independently of my own Financial Advisor. This advice included a telephone interview and culminated in the production of a detailed report into my current and forecasted future financial status. Throughout the process, I found Phil to be professional on all levels and would recommend his services to anyone going through the same process.
Paul R
Phil is very professional and explains everything in minor detail
     I retired early at the age of 55 last year, there was a lot of talk at work about the benefits and risks of leaving a final salary pension scheme. I needed to get some professional advice, and I was given Phil Handley’s details by a colleague at work. I met with Phil and discussed what I wanted to do with my pension. After researching the industry, he advised on a scheme that was similar to the one I had been looking at, only this scheme was better. He sent me a bespoke report, with his analysis, which showed the best scheme that would fit with my needs. I decided to transfer my company pension into a low risk investment drawdown scheme. Phil is very professional and explains everything in minor detail, there are no up-front fees and he is very thorough in making sure you are in full control of your decisions through his advice. It’s one of the best decisions of my life, I can now plan and manage my pension to suit my needs Phil is a genuine good guy and would definitively recommend him to anyone seeking similar advice on one of the most important decisions of your life. I am still able to call on him with any questions I might have about my scheme and he is happy to help. I have already recommended him to other colleagues at work and friends who are seeking similar advice
Dean E
Would recommend to anybody who is thinking of transferring
     Was very unsure about the process of transferring my pension. Went to see Phil and he explained the process which removed any doubts that I had. Would recommend to anybody who is thinking of transferring. Myself and 2 colleagues transferred at the same time and since then Phil has helped several more colleagues. The fees are reasonable too. No hesitation in recommending Phil.
Martin W
Phil's over extensive conversations covered all avenues.
     I found myself looking at options to migrate my pension pot to Income Drawdown. During this process I had discovered the pitfalls of going it alone, some fund holders and trustees are not content to proceed without professional advise, even the government guidance schemes are not seen as acceptable. Phil Handley, through his patience and experience guided me through all possible avenues until we ended up with a plan that I was happy with and he was happy to recommend. Yes, I now have have a plan I am very comfortable with and one that I fully understand.
Paul B
Phil investigated all the options and ultimately presented me with clear, workable proposals for me to consider.
     Having been diagnosed with a terminal disease close to my 61st birthday. I wanted to see if I could retire now (5 years prior to my state pension age) so I could do all those things I had been delaying till my retirement whilst my health is still good. I would also add that I was one of those unfortunate women whose state pension date was moved on twice from 60 ultimately to 66. So the extra 6 years of work was not really part of my life plan. Phil patiently explained the terminology and the recent changes to the pension legislation. I outlined my 5 year plan to see if my private pensions could fund early retirement but with an acceptable level of income. Phil investigated all the options and ultimately presented me with clear, workable proposals for me to consider. I have just retired. Phil is handling the arrangements for the proposal I instructed him to proceed with. I have achieved, with sound financial advice from Phil, my aim of retiring early and to maintain my quality of lifestyle. I would add that at every step my family checked and vetted the advice given and been wholeheartedly in favour of Phils proposals. I would not hesitate to recommend Phil Handley to anyone seeking pension/retirement advice.
Kim E
The advice given was well researched and fine-tuned for my risk level
     I initially approached Phil for assistance in the Private Pensions selection process a couple of years ago and although the initial advice was good I didn't proceed. I then came back a year later and to speak with Phil again. The advice given was well researched and fine-tuned for my risk level, my security and peace of mind. I chose to wait until I felt the market was right, during which I was contacted by Phil for updates without feeling pressurised. Once ready I went with the agreed proposal and I feel that not only have I saved money due to this informed advice and explanation of how the markets work, but also due to the timing. I would certainly recommend Phil to friends.
Marie M

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Should I transfer my DB pension to a DC pension?

Transferring a DB/Final Salary Pension to a DC scheme should only be considered where the existing DB/Final Salary scheme isn’t suitable to meet the needs of pension requirements in retirement. There is no best answer as each individual’s circumstances is different. Always seek advice from a qualified Pension Transfer Specialist when looking for Final Salary Transfer Advivce.

What is a DB transfer?

A DB transfer is where a final salary pension/defined benefit pension, which has a guaranteed income, is swapped for a pre-agreed lump sum. The transfer effectively removes any rights to a guaranteed income in exchange for a lump sum.

Define final salary pension transfers.

A final salary pension transfer is the phrase used to describe the process of transferring a guaranteed defined benefit final salary pension into a more flexible defined contribution pension or flexible drawdown arrangement.

What is a Pension Transfer Specialist?

A Pension Transfer Specialist is a Financial Adviser who has gained additional, higher-level qualifications in order to provide advice on defined benefit and final salary pension transfers. These types of pensions can be complex and need detailed analysis and explanation to determine whether a transfer is in the best interest of a client.

Stages Of Defined Benefit Advice


Taking advice on a defined benefit scheme is both important and mandatory if the scheme is valued at over £30,000. It’s important because schemes can be highly complex and consist of many different elements, which make up the benefit.

Often, a scheme is accumulated over a number of years and has ‘sections’ of benefits that are treated differently in accumulation and payment. These sections can accumulate at totally different inflationary rates, some at CPI, some at RPI, some capped, some uncapped, and some are event adjusted on a fixed annual basis such as GMP.

This complexity often makes it hard to understand what benefits someone has and are entitled to.

The aim of professional financial advice through a pension transfer specialist aims to help translate these often overwhelming pension statements into a more digestible medium.

When taking financial advice, there are several steps to the process.

Initial engagement:

This is where you would find a Pension Transfer Specialist. These are advisers who have special permissions, over and above that of a standard financial adviser. They have both the qualification and permission to provide advice in this area. You should also seek a Pension Transfer Specialist with experience as some advisers only do one or two of these types of transfers in a year and may be out of touch with best practices.


This is where you would speak to a Pension Transfer Specialist, and they would educate you on the merits and disadvantages of your current scheme. A final salary/defined benefit/GMP pension is often referred to as one with safeguarded benefits. This is because they have some form of guarantee to their income. Triage aims to help you understand these guarantees so that you can decide whether to proceed with pension transfer advice. Triage isn’t a form of advice, and you won’t discuss your personal situation with the adviser. It’s aimed to be a sense check, so the adviser is clear you understand your scheme and the repercussions of transferring it. Triage should be a free service. You won’t get any report or recommendation at the end.

Abridged Advice:

If you decide to go down the advice route and want to commit a pension transfer specialist to look at your case, abridged advice is a relatively new stage in the process. It aims to provide a less time-consuming check on your situation and provide an outcome that ultimately might save you time and money. However, if you have your heart set on a transfer and go through the full advice process only to get a recommendation to stay in your scheme, you will also have an advice fee to pay. This can often leave a sour taste in your mouth as you’re paying for something you’re not getting (a transfer). Abridged advice is designed to give you an idea of how a file assessment might go but for less cost (sometimes free).

The outcome of an assessment in the abridged advice stage is either:

  • Not to transfer, or
  • Full advice is needed to assess if a transfer is suitable.

In the case of advice not to transfer, a personal recommendation will detail the reasons why. This saves the client from going through full advice (and paying the full advice fee) to get the same result. It can often be evident from a few facts about a client’s situation that a transfer wouldn’t be suitable. Abridged advice uses these red flags to decline the case at the first possible point.

The other outcome from abridged advice is to tell the client it is unclear whether advice to transfer is suitable or not. This is based on the facts provided up to this point, and the only way to give a definitive recommendation is to gather further, more in-depth information through the full advice process.

Abridge advice is an optional service a Pension Transfer Specialist may offer; they don’t need to offer this service, so you should always check before proceeding.

Full advice:

This is both a lengthy and time-consuming process but absolutely essential to providing advice on pensions with safeguarded benefits. Full advice will entail a full investigation into the clients financial and personal circumstances. This will cover:

  • Income/outgoings both pre and post-retirement.
  • Assets and liabilities. ISA, other pensions, cash, National Savings, Investment Property etc. Liabilities need to be accurate regarding the amount outstanding, term left on loan/mortgage and the interest rate payable.
  • Objectives – why do you want flexibility, if it’s for a large purchase, how much is this, and when do you expect to buy it. If gifting money to children, how much and when.
  • Other Pension – How many other pensions are there? Where are they, and what is their value. If you have an existing workplace pension, can it accept a defined benefit transfer in? A workplace pension will often be a scheme with subsidised charges and might be a good option to transfer your scheme into.
  • Are you married/divorced/ have dependents
  • Do you have any investment experience? How long has this been for, and what did you invest in shares/funds/property etc

The above is just some of the information you would need to supply to a Pension Transfer Specialist to help assess the suitability of a transfer.

Outside of you providing information, the Pension Transfer Specialist would need to fully understand the scheme(s) you are looking to transfer. This is done by giving the adviser permission to speak to your scheme on your behalf. They can then ask all the necessary questions and complete analysis through the Transfer Value Comparator (TVC) analysis report.

The client attitude to investment risk is also assessed, often through a multi-choice questionnaire. This is to determine the level of risk a portfolio should be if the advice were to transfer.

At the end of the process, the client will be asked to complete a number of questions in their own words to understand if they’ve understood the advice, the implications of transferring in terms of loss of guarantees and their ability to accept investment risk.

As a pension transfer specialist, I offer tailored advice to those looking for guidance on their defined-benefit pensions. Whether you’re searching for a defined benefit advisor near me or seeking the expertise of my pensions expert, I’m here to help you navigate the complexities of the pension transfer process. In addition to providing advice on pension transfers, I will take into account tax credits, welfare benefits, and universal credit, ensuring that you have a comprehensive understanding of your financial options.


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