Transfers away from valuable final salary pension schemes, like some of those on offer from British Airways, are rarely considered to be the right choice. Transferring from a relatively safe final salary pension often exposes former scheme members to much more risk, as they trade the promise of a guaranteed income in retirement, for an often volatile and merciless investment market.
While people who remain in the defined benefit section of a British Airways Pension Scheme, they don’t have to pay any fees, and it is up to the trustees to make sure the money is there to fund their retirement, those who transfer away may have risked their retirement fund, and will likely have to pay annual charges to operate their new pension.
While there are some situations that might make a final salary pension transfer suitable, they are rare, and most people will have been better off staying in their scheme in the long run.
The FCA, who make and enforce the rules about pension transfers, tells advisers to assess every potential move on a case-by-case basis, and to start from the assumption that a transfer is the wrong decision.
But despite this, many people end up transferring away from defined benefit pension schemes like British Airways, and unfortunately, for many this will be the wrong decision.
Often, the reason for the transfer is the individual has received bad or negligent advice from a financial adviser.
Almost every pension transfer away from a final salary scheme means moving retirement benefits from relative safety, and exposing it to risk.
Final salary pensions are a promise of a guaranteed income for the whole of retirement, one that is index-linked, and may pay out as much as 50% to a spouse if the scheme member dies before retirement.
Whereas private pensions can be much riskier. It is not unheard of for a transfer to result in the complete loss of a pension fund as investments fail or turn out to be scams.
If you’ve transferred your British Airways pension, then you may have lost money in the long run, may have been mis-sold, and may be able to make a claim.
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