Pension body relaxes rules on employee benefits transfer

Employers will have more time to respond to requests by employees who want
to transfer their assets out of their pension schemes.

The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) has relaxed its rules
on the time given to pension funds to transfer employees’ benefits.

Employers normally have to respond to people requesting transfers within
three months, but the drop in pension values over the past 12 months has
prompted a re-think.

Opra has been inundated with calls from trustees worried that because of the
fall in stock values, transfer values may be based on inaccurate figures.

The rules will now allow pension funds more time to release statements, so
employers won’t be penalised for breaching the three month period.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is set to launch new legislation
in July, which should clarify the position in the long-term.

A spokesperson for Opra said the move was a temporary measure until the DWP
issued new regulations.

"Trustees are concerned that the current valuation of transfer funds
may not be accurate. They don’t want to make payments the fund can’t
afford," she added.

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