Impact of Stock Market Falls on Defined Benefit Transfer Values

Published / Last Updated on 06/03/2020

The key to understanding the risks of defined benefit transfers when compared to flexible pensions and drawdown is that the defined benefit scheme carries all the investment risk, inflationary risk and annuity rate risk.

In short, just because the stock market has fallen and therefore the value of the assets inside your company pension scheme have fallen, your transfer value will not have fallen as they guarantee it for 3 months.  In addition, you are not at any risk from stock markets falls until you have fully transferred your scheme into a private, flexible pension.  It is then that you start to carry all the risks yourself.

Your transfer value is actually affected by actuarial assumptions, within limits, on gilt yields, inflation assumptions, life expectancy and annuity rates, with some allowance for future investment growth.

Annuity rates linked to gilt yields are key to transfer value increases or falls.  Stock market falls do not a any significant impact on your transfer value.  Just because stock markets have fallen does not mean that your transfer value has.

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