Training and consultancy services for:

There are many different areas in which Pension Solutions for Lawyers can help. Depending on your requirements, we can tailor our service to fit you, delivering a comprehensive solution to your needs.

We are fully committed to providing you with the best possible service. We offer training and consultancy for four key services:

Initial pension-case assessments

For £99 we will prepare an initial assessment of the pensions involved in the case, providing comments on the issues that need to be addressed, the questions that need to be asked and the potential problems that may be encountered.

CETV revaluations

An initial assessment can be made of the CETV based on the benefits provided to give an indication of whether it is a fair representation of value. A recommendation is then made as to whether a full actuarial report would be required.

Joint expert reports

There are two options here:

a) A pension-sharing report can be produced where final salary schemes are not involved, which will include a recommendation as to the percentage split.

b) Where Final Salary Schemes are involved or for other complex arrangements, we will instruct an actuary to produce the report. We will work with you to ensure all the correct questions are asked that are specific to your case and then help explain the actuary's findings. Where necessary we are available to attend court as an expert witness.

Pension-sharing implementation

Trustees can often be difficult with implementation, and IFAs who set up the new pensions are sometimes not experienced in matrimonial matters. Their costs also vary tremendously, and can be based on their practice set up and experience.

I use a number of different IFAs depending on the client's post-divorce requirements, working closely with them to ensure all legal aspects relating to the implementation are adhered to.

Within these four key services, we can help you with the following:

Civil partnerships - Same-sex couples

Some company pension schemes do not recognise civil partners as legal spouses for dependents' benefits and death-in-service payments. It may be possible to set up a spousal bypass trust to receive benefits if this is the case. Pension trustees will value these benefits even when they are not payable when producing the CETV, so consideration needs to be given to this in divorce.

Pre-nuptial agreements

If couples have individual pensions then they may simply choose to keep their own. An assessment can help them decide.

Is an actuary necessary?

Actuarial reports can represent value for a client; however they can cost over £1,000. An assessment can help decide whether it is worth spending the money.

Financial settlements on divorce and separation

Whether working on a joint-instruction basis or for one party, we can provide a proper understanding of the implications of decisions made about pensions. Although an actuary can work out the percentage pension share, especially where final salary schemes are involved, there are often personal factors that could generate more income. These include tax position, health, smoking habits and the option of income drawdown.

Maintenance insurance

Maintenance payments can suddenly stop if an ex partner falls ill or dies. A life assurance policy can be put in place to help, but which one? Level term, family income benefit, written in trust or life of another? Similarly, critical illness insurance and income protection can protect payments against sickness, but which policy is best? Who pays the premium and what about inflation? How long should the policy be for? All these aspects need to be considered to ensure the children and resident parent are financially protected.

Separation agreements

Although a pension-sharing order cannot be implemented until a couple divorce, they can be given information to help them better understand their options and help avoid potential problems. Click here to see some of our case studies.


Couples in mediation are often unaware of the complexity of the pension funds involved and struggle to get impartial advice and information as to how pensions should be split in the divorce. By working on a joint-instruction basis, a clear understanding can be given to the couple and mediator to enable them to reach a fair conclusion.

Collaborative cases

Similar to mediation, the couple is often unaware of the complexity of pensions and the impact on the financial settlement. Again by working on a joint-instruction basis, clear advice can be given to the couple and lawyers on how to ensure the pensions are assessed and understood to ensure a fair settlement.

CETV revaluations

CETVs often don't reflect the true value of the benefits in the scheme. The main reason for this is that trustees assume the member is leaving employment (which they often aren't) when they produce a CETV. The trustees loyalty is to the scheme and not the 'leaving member' so they will often quite legitimately quote a lower pension value. Other factors can also cause the CETV to be undervalued, especially with the police and other Public Sector schemes.

Initial pension-case assessment for just £99

It is difficult to know what issues you may encounter when divorcing couples have pensions. Pension Solutions for Lawyers offers an assessment service giving a preliminary view of anticipated issues. These include:

- Whether you need an actuarial report and if so, what kind
- What questions to ask the actuary
- The best pensions to share based on enhanced benefits not shown in the CETV

Pension-sharing orders

Internal transfers

All public sector schemes offer internal transfers. However some of these can be at the discretion of the trustees so this needs to be confirmed from the outset. Occasionally the external option is better for the client as they can access the benefits from the age of 55.

External transfers

There are many factors beyond the mere implementation of a pension-sharing order for a client. Make the wrong choice from the host of options available and the client will suffer the consequences when they retire.

It is important that the client's current and future needs are considered - for example, they may be able to release tax-free cash now to help with their current needs whilst deferring an income until they retire. The pension needs to be looked after and serviced like anything of value, and initial and ongoing costs need to be considered as well as the financial strength of the pension company. It may be the pension share can be added to their existing company scheme to buy better guaranteed benefits than that on offer from a private pension.

Pension Solutions for Lawyers works with a number of different IFAs and will bring in the one they believe is best suited for the client. This will be based on a number of factors including cost, personality, ongoing service proposition and experience.

As in all professions, IFAs have different costs and it is pointless using one who is Chartered for work that can be undertaken by an IFA. They will charge less but be more than capable of transacting the business if it is not complex. The same works in reverse and sometimes a client will need an IFA with greater experience.

Having been a financial adviser for over 20 years and run his own business as an IFA for the last 12, Barry Browning is able to ensure each client receives the very best service for their needs. He works closely with the chosen IFA and helps with the administration of the implementation of the pension-sharing order, using his experience to preempt any issues and fix problems if and when they arise, especially with un-cooperative pension trustees.

Assessment of actuarial reports

Reports from actuaries will vary in how comprehensible they are, and in most situations a simple number showing the share is all that is required. These reports are often used as a starting point for negotiation and there may be offset issues brought in as well.

The reports may not often seem fair to a client and an explanation as to how the actuary has worked them out in this way can be explained to both client and lawyer alike. Actuaries, with the greatest respect, are not known for their ability to write in the plainest of English and are of course governed by the need to ensure factual language is used.

Pension Solutions for Lawyers will help compose the questions sent to the actuary and discuss with them the answers, translating them into plain English and explaining the result simply to lawyers, thus avoiding unnecessary time delays in agreeing a settlement.

At Pension Solutions for Lawyers, we are here to help. Our aim is to provide you with the professional advice and support that you need, helping you to run your case as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

To find out more about our services, or to discuss your requirements, contact us today to see how we can help.

Pension Solutions for Lawyers

Making the Complex Simple