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The last few weeks have seen a slight improvement in some trading announcements from various retail companies throughout the UK. However, a report by the CBI today has highlighted the fact that 63% of their retail members are reporting reduced sales in th

As the UK economy continues to head downwards and pension liabilities continue to increase many of the U.K.'s remaining defined benefit pension schemes (otherwise known as final salary schemes) appear to be under threat. There is concern that 2009 will see the number of defined benefit schemes reduced significantly.

The last few months has seen a number of UK companies looking to encourage members to transfer out of defined benefit schemes by offering enhanced transfer values and "bonus payments" as an incentive. Many people have taken the opportunity for this short-term gain while perhaps not as much consideration is given to the long-term implications, as the situation merits. In effect transferring away from a defined benefit pension scheme to a money purchase pension arrangement takes away any certainty of your future pension level.

As many will be aware, annuity rates have fallen dramatically over the last few years although changes in the pension regulation have made the system more flexible with drawdown now an option for many. However, it is vital that you take professional advice regarding your pension arrangements if you are considering a change or have indeed been offered an improved transfer value as an incentive to transfer away from a defined benefit scheme.

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