For many divorcing couples the decision to request a Pension Sharing Report comes some way through an already lengthy and stressful divorce process.
With costly imminent Court Hearing dates, one of the first questions solicitors and clients ask Collins Pension Actuaries is in respect of timescales. In short, how long will it take to prepare a Report?
Once Collins Pension Actuaries has all of the required information to be able to prepare a Report then a Report can usually be completed within a reasonably short time frame. To allow for workflow and unexpected issues we allow 6 weeks, but will prioritise those cases with set deadlines.
However, please note that in reality it can take many weeks and more often than not months before pension schemes provide the information required.
Unfortunately, preparing a Pension Sharing Report is not something that can be rushed through. The bottom line is that a Report cannot be prepared without having all of the required pension information.
As clients you will be paying fees for a Report that is going to impact significantly on your future financial welfare. As a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, our pensions actuary will be held accountable to exceptionally high standards of practice and therefore takes that responsibility extremely seriously.
Divorce legislation is vague with regards to what pensions information should be provided by pension schemes and the quality of information provided by pension schemes is nowhere near as detailed as is required for the Pension Sharing Reports that Collins Pension Actuaries will prepare.
For example, we often receive divorce packs from pension schemes which do not provide retirement ages, do not provide the revalued pension upon which the CEV is based, do not provide accurate descriptions of how the various components revalue in deferment and increase in payment and so on.
Unfortunately, all too often parties believe that simply having a CEV of a pension is sufficient for a Report. It is not.
For your reference, you can see the types of questions Collins Pension Actuaries requests of pension schemes in our Data Collection Template Letters, which are designed to ensure we are aware of any material issues surrounding the pensions being considered.
The extent of information provided varies by pension scheme and so we are not always provided with all of the information needed. In such cases, we will often request that clients to make follow up requests for information from their pension schemes.
In conclusion, we would encourage any parties considering a Pension Sharing Report to use our data collection templates to request the information as soon as possible in order to help speed up the process and avoid unnecessary delays.
If you have not yet created your Data Collection Letters then you can do so below: