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Pension offsetting: a question for the Family Court, or for an actuary?

Date:12 FEB 2016
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In ancillary relief litigation whose responsibility is it to quantify the value of future pension benefits and their non-pension substitutes if offsetting is being considered? What method should be applied to any comparison of pension and non-pension assets?

My summary of WS v WS [2015] EWHC 3941 (Fam) a decision of HHJ Lord Meston QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court judge) who had to consider this very point has just been published here.

The problem in WS v WS

Neither spouse after their long marriage wanted a pension sharing order. Each was a high-earner and both sought equality of asset division overall with a clean break.

The pensions had crystallised and both parties had taken tax-free lump sums:
  • H's defined contribution pension had a CEV of £917k; and
  • W's final salary pension (ie a defined benefit scheme) had a CE value of circa £3.1m. W's pension was in payment providing her with £50.6k pa net.
'[H had] available funds equivalent to cash which he can extract without difficulty. [W had] a guaranteed but non-transferable income stream' (para [55]).

The parties both believed that...

Read the full article here.