The Services provided by
Collins Actuaries for
Pensions Advice on Divorce in Scotland
and our Objective
The objective of
Collins Actuaries Pensions Advice on Divorce is a simple one.
We wish to assist solicitors in giving their clients
the best possible advice regarding pension sharing and
pensions generally in the circumstances of divorce.
For many years now
pensions have been growing in importance.
In many cases the pension is the most valuable asset in
a marriage, frequently being of much greater value than the
family home. Because of the complicated nature of pensions,
pension sharing is fraught with potential pitfalls.
Using an external pensions specialist such as Collins
Actuaries ensures that the client receives sound advice.
Our experience is
that pension scheme members vary enormously in their knowledge
and record keeping concerning their pensions.
At one extreme there is the type of person who has kept
nothing and understands very little about his/her pension. At
the other extreme there is the type of person who has kept all
the documents he/she has been given and is well aware of the
benefits that he/she is entitled to under the pensions
Our service is
flexible enough to cope with both these extremes and, of
course, the in-between situations.
One of the risks is that pension entitlements from
possibly long-past employments are forgotten.
We have found that the safest way to ensure that no
pensions are omitted is to start from an employment record.
Naturally, any documents that the person has kept are
always useful in addition.
In order to use
our service all that needs to be done is to complete, as far
as possible, one of our "information collection
forms". It is also helpful to have any additional documents that the
client can provide regarding pension arrangements.
We also need
letters of the authority from the client to enable us to
obtain the information from the pension scheme or pension
provider and the Pensions Agency. Where the client is the spouse of the pension scheme
member ideally we would also like a letter of authority from
the person with the pension rights.
of our Advice
We first contact
all the pension schemes and/or pension providers. Usually, as long as we know who the employer is, we can make
contact with the pension scheme.
We will obtain
details of the following from the pension scheme or pension
Determine the type of pension
arrangements involved, for example final salary schemes, money
purchase schemes or personal pension policies.
Information about the benefits that
the member is entitled to, for example the pension earned to
date, spouse’s benefits, retirement ages, service dates, and
pension contribution histories.
A valuation of the pension on the
pension scheme's own basis, ie the Cash Equivalent Transfer
Value (CETV) and the basis on which the CETV has been
The options that are available to the
former spouse, that is whether the internal option is
available, and whether or not it is the only option.
If the external option is available which company has
the pension scheme selected as its default provider, and the
terms that the default provider offers.
The pension sharing charges made by
the pension scheme.
Whether or not the scheme is
Details of any Guaranteed Annuity
Advice Before the Decision Regarding Sharing
We will then write
to the solicitor and provide him/her with detailed guidance on
the process that needs to be followed.
Attached to this letter will be a Report, which will
contain the following:
A schedule detailing the rights under
the pension schemes and policies.
Details of the methods of settlement
open to the client, and what the effect of each will be; this
will enable the solicitor to advise the client in the context
of the couple's general situation and the other assets in the
Clear advice regarding any special
features of the pension scheme rights or the calculation basis
that should be taken into account in giving advice to the
An analysis of the different methods
of pension sharing that are available to the client,
explaining what the result of each would be.
The costs of pension sharing and the
options regarding the means by which these costs can be met.
Service After a Decision to Share is made
Collins Actuaries finds that some solicitors themselves are
happy to carry out the implementation of the pension share.
Others prefer Collins Actuaries to help in providing
draft wordings for the necessary order pension scheme and
dealing with any questions.
Collins Actuaries will also check the result of the
implementation to ensure that the relevant scheme has
implemented the share in accordance with the Pension Sharing