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Brexit – Britons rush to transfer U.K. pensions ahead of Article 50 deadline

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The March 31, 2017 imposition of Article 50 has nervous Britons rushing to transfer their final salary pensions into overseas schemes. According to deVere Group, a large independent financial advisory organization, the percentage of inquiries about transferring pensions has risen 21% since the beginning of December.

While there has been interest since the Brexit vote in June 2016, the surge to transfer pensions overseas intensified during December and promises to continue until Britain starts its negotiations to leave the E.U.. Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, points to three key factors for this:

  • Reduced gilt yields since the Brexit vote have driven up transfer values, which are currently at record highs (gilts are U.K. government bonds);
  • Final salary pension deficits, exacerbated by the reduced gilt yields, are under scrutiny
  • Britain’s pension funding gap, which almost doubled during 2016, could soon reach a trillion and threatens the survival of many pension schemes

“Certainly, many will need to make significant changes to the terms of employees’ pension schemes,” said Green, who noted that while an overseas pension transfer is not suited for everyone, this is an ideal time for those who do qualify to secure transfers before the end of March, 2017.

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