Continuing their valiant efforts to make pensions and pension sharing more accessible to all, the Pension Advisory Group – made up of lawyers, academics and finance professionals – has released further resources to assist the general public.
The Group is best known for its seminal report, ‘Guidance on the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce’, which was published in July 2019. The report has been well-received and has been cited in a number of authorities, including W v. H (divorce financial remedies)  EWFC B10 (see also the article by Nicole Jennings of Chambers).
To assist lay persons in this difficult area, a 3-minute video has been created to simplify the topic. Animations make the video accessible, and the content is clear and concise. It covers the concept of sharing and why a spouse with no pension in their name might be entitled to some or all of that acquired by their spouse, whether it was acquired during or before the marriage.
Credit: University of Manchester, Cognitive Media, ESRC
The video is the latest in a range of resources available to assist litigants. It can be useful to sign-post clients to what is available, to help them to understand the advice being given and the options available to the court. The creators hope that the video will be widely disseminated so that those acting in person are also able to benefit from it.
Helpful guidance can also be found in the following documents:
- The PAG report: https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Guide_To_The_Treatment_of_Pensions_on_Divorce-Digital1.pdf
- Executive summary of the PAG report (14 pages): https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Guide_To_The_Treatment_of_Pensions_on_Divorce-Executive_Summary.pdf
- A Survival Guide to Pensions on Divorce, published with AdviceNow: www.advicenow.org.uk/pensions
The importance of pension sharing within the division of matrimonial assets has been further emphasised by a recent piece of research. The report by Dr Jennifer Buckley and Professor Debora Price from the University of Manchester, in collaboration with the Pensions Policy Institute, looked at the demographics of those who do and do not have pensions. The data reinforces the need to carefully explore pensions within matrimonial proceedings. Inter alia it found that:
- Men aged 45-54 have median pension wealth of more than double that of women (£86,000 compared to £40,000);
- That disparity only increases with age; for those aged 55-64 the median was £185,000 for men compared with £55,800 for women;
- For those couples where each spouse has a pension, in around half of those relationships one party has more than 90% of the pension wealth; and
- “the analysis shows that there remains considerable potential for pension sharing within couples. Women only have on average about 25 per cent of a couples’ accumulated pension wealth, and this varies little by age or by position on the pension wealth distribution”.
Professor Debora Price said “There is a lack of data about pension outcomes after divorce and the potential for pension sharing. We are very pleased to have produced this analysis, which shows that pensions must be taken into consideration in every case”.
The report can be found at http://man.ac.uk/FhpI0W: Buckley, Jennifer and Price, Debora (2021) Pensions and Divorce: Exploratory Analysis of Quantithttp://man.ac.uk/FhpI0Wative Data, Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing, Manchester.
The Becket Chambers Finance Team runs regular training and seminars on all topics including pensions. Please contact the clerks at firstname.lastname@example.org for details of forthcoming events.