Why Have Cash Equivalent Transfer Values Fallen?

Published / Last Updated on 28/06/2022

The video was prompted by news articles today suggesting that cash equivalent transfer values (CETV) of defined benefit pension schemes such as Final Salary or Career Average Salary schemes and other guaranteed/deferred annuity pension schemes have fallen back to 2016 levels after hitting highs in 2020-2021.

It was also prompted by a new enquiry from a prospective client insisting that they wanted to give up their defined benefit scheme and transfer out to an investment linked pension as the CETV had fallen and he was blaming the recent stock market falls for this.

  1. We no longer offer defined benefit transfer/opt out advice.
  2. The caller will find it impossible to find a financial adviser to agree to accepting an insistent investor on defined benefit transfers as the Financial Conduct Authority has banned it.
  3. The fall in transfer values has nothing to do directly with stock market volatility.

Watch our video on How a Transfer Value is Calculated  Calc CETV

Why have Transfer Values Fallen?

The answer is simple, interest rates have increased or more accurately ‘government borrowing’ interest rates i.e., gilt yields have increased.

When a pension trustee guarantees your pension income for life, it quite literally lends money to the government, that borrows £billions every year, for a fixed or inflation linked rate of return.  This means the pension scheme has a guaranteed income from the government to enable them to offer you your guaranteed pension income.  Whn you die or when the Treasury Stock matures (usually 15, 20 or 30 years), the original loan is repaid by the government i.e., the pension scheme gets its capital back.

Think like a banker:

You need a guaranteed income/interest of £100 pa and your capital secure.

  • Bank interest is say 1% pa. 
  • You deposit £10,000 in the bank and at 1% pa, you get £100 pa interest/income.
  • If interest rates increase from 1% to 2% pa, how much do you need do deposit to get £100 pa?  The answer = £5,000.
  • There has been a fall in how much it costs you/deposit to get £100 pa.

It is the same for pensions. 

  • Recently, the Bank of England has increased Interest rates from 0.1% pa to 1.25% pa. 
  • The indirect impact is that gilt yields/interest rates have increased.
  • This means that the cost to trustees to buy your pension has fallen.
  • This is why cash equivlent transfer values have fallen.

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