HM Treasury and HMRC quietly launched additional proposals on 11/02/2021 with the potential to have a much greater effect on retirement planning over the coming years.
The main proposal is this: anyone who was a member of a registered pension scheme on 11 February 2021 (the date of the consultation) and had a right to take pension benefits before age 57 on that date, would keep that right as a protected pension age. That protected pension age (which in most cases would be 55) would be scheme specific and work similarly to existing protected pension ages. This would mean:
- Anyone joining a new pension scheme from 12 February 2021 onwards would have an NMPA of 57 from 2028 for that scheme, although they may have other pensions that they could still access before age 57.
- From 12 February 2021, anyone who transfers to a new scheme would lose the right to take benefits from that pension before age 57 (assuming the original scheme offered that right), unless they completed a block transfer.
One key difference highlighted between the rules for existing protected pension ages and these proposals, is that clients would not need to crystallise all the benefits within a scheme on the same date in order to keep their protected pension age.
The timing of proposals like these is always difficult. The consultation doesn’t close until 22 April, and we don’t expect to see draft legislation from the Treasury until the summer. However, if the proposals do go ahead as they stand, transfers that take place from today could affect when clients are able to take benefits. While many people may not expect to retire at 55 or 56 (and until yesterday might have assumed it simply wouldn’t be an option), it still adds an additional consideration into people’s pension planning.
It’s still early days, and I’m sure you’ll see more about the industry’s thoughts about the proposals over the coming weeks. What seemed like a very straight forward upcoming pension change has suddenly become something to keep a keen eye on.
We need to see what the outcome is in the summer, but this is one to watch for those who are considering retiring early at age 55 or if you thought you might access your pension benefits, typically tax free cash, early at age 55 from 2028.
In real terms this will only be a few people, most in the UK haven’t got the pension assets they need for early retirement and shouldn’t access their pension funds too early either.
However, if you are one of the few that may have a plan to retire early or access your pension benefits early, at age 55, from 2028 you now need to be careful about any pension switching or consolidation. Let’s see what we get at the end of the consultation, hopefully draft legislation in the summer. Watch this space.
Technical content cut and pasted from Curtis Banks Technical Update.