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  • Retirement savers tempted by increased transfer values
  • MetLife warns on need for guarantees in retirement planning

Nearly one in three retirement savers would consider transferring their guaranteed final salary pension benefits into cash lump sums or defined contribution schemes, new research* from MetLife shows.

Its study among over-40s with defined benefit pension savings found 31% are tempted by rising transfer values offered by schemes enabling them to take transfer values now in return for giving up future payouts.

The numbers tempted to transfer out falls among the over-55s – however, more than one in four (26%) of over-55s questioned said they would consider transferring defined benefit savings into cash or other pension schemes.

Analysis** shows transfer values for defined benefit schemes are now at a record high following the EU Referendum, which saw bond yields at an all-time low.  MetLife’s research shows one in two over-40s savers have some of their pension savings in final salary schemes with around 11 million workers and pensioners still members of private company schemes***.

MetLife highlights that savers are increasingly valuing flexibility over their pension savings, but warns that this is often at the expense of guaranteed income. It has launched a campaign to deliver Real Pension Freedom, supported by advisers, focusing on the valuable role guarantees can play in retirement.

Simon Massey, Wealth Management Director at MetLife UK said: “The record high for final salary transfer values is tempting savers to give up the security of a guaranteed income for non-guaranteed options, but there is a real risk that people will regret their decision.

“Guaranteed income is absolutely vital to ensure that people can have a comfortable standard of living in retirement and final salary schemes, along with other solutions such as guaranteed draw down, provide that certainty.

“Anyone considering transferring out of a final salary scheme should take independent advice, which is why we are encouraging broader retirement conversations looking at the complete range of options savers have, including guarantees.”

MetLife’s research shows men are more likely to have defined benefit schemes than women – 55% of over-40s men have final salary schemes compared with 46% of women. And they are more likely to consider transferring cash as 32% of men said they would look into compared with 29% of women.

MetLife’s range of retirement and investment solutions have been designed to deliver the need for a guaranteed level of income for life in retirement or a guaranteed capital amount at the end of a chosen term.

MetLife’s Retirement Portfolio, which was designed for pension freedoms, and its stocks and shares ISA Portfolio provide a choice of income and capital guarantees.

Customers can choose from a range of investments to build a personalised plan suited to the levels of risk they are willing to take, while having the choice of a valuable guaranteed level of income for life from age 55 or a guaranteed capital sum at the end of their chosen term.

In addition, the plans offer the potential for client’s to increase the value of their guarantee through daily lock-ins of investment gains while enabling savers to start, stop and restart their income to suit their personal needs.

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