From talking with divorce lawyers and mediators, we know that obtaining a Pension Sharing Report can be a lengthy process – potentially adding frustration and delay.
From keeping our ear to the ground, we are pretty certain that BlueSKY produce reports as quickly as anyone else that works in this area – although we want to make the process of getting a report even slicker.
To give you an idea of our current timescales, we are currently turning around reports within six weeks of receiving all the data required.
One of the reasons that reports take longer – sometimes twice as long – is that we are missing some of the data that we need. These delays can be frustrating to all parties involved and means that we spend a lot of time chasing outstanding data when we would much prefer to put all our efforts into speeding up our report-writing timescales.
Essentially, we need to know:
- Basic details of the pensions involved
- The calculations required
- Any other essential details (for example, significant health or Lifetime Allowance issues).
Once we have this information, we can usually produce a quote within 24 hours – or commonly on the same day.
Up-to-date information is vital in a volatile market
We also know that many divorce lawyers and mediators like to use BlueSKY as we do the data gathering from pension schemes on your clients’ behalf.
Getting up-to-date figures and information from pension schemes is essential in these times of volatile markets.
You recently read about how Cash Equivalent Values (CEVs) from private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes had fallen by some 20% this year and how this means obtaining accurate figures is essential.
Reduce time by proactively gathering information
Another development over the last few years is the creation of “web portals” for most pension schemes.
Certainly, for defined contribution (DC) pension schemes (most workplace pensions, personal pensions and SIPPs) nearly everyone has access to online valuations.
DB schemes are somewhat more complex although some schemes do have portals where we can gather relevant information.
We very much encourage your clients to be proactive in data gathering as this can lead to significantly reduced timescales.
A new checklist to speed up your report
After reviewing some cases that have been stuck in the system for some time, we have noticed that there is a common thread, namely that information has been sent to BlueSKY in a piecemeal fashion. This has caused delays as there is much to-ing and fro-ing between BlueSKY, solicitors, and clients.
So, to help tackle this issue, we have created a new Document Checklist to help you and your clients when submitting a case to BlueSKY.
This can be found in the Downloads for Solicitors section of our website.
The idea of the Document Checklist is to help you and your clients provide all the required information at the outset, speeding up the writing of your report. We are hopeful that the checklist (when sent with our email quotation and “next steps”) will be self-explanatory, however here are a few key points:
- If your clients have health problems that may be life-limiting, we need a “Retirement Health Questionnaire” to be completed every time so that they can elaborate on any health problems that they have.
- We need a Letter of Authority for each pension scheme held so that we can ask technical questions if required.
- If your client has access to a pension web portal, encourage them to use it! As you read above, clients with DC schemes are highly likely to have access to their data online and it is here that basic information (transfer values, contribution history, start dates) are available. For some pensions, these are all the details we need as we have an extensive library of pension schemes and many of the details will be generic and familiar to us already.
- If clients have already collected data from their pension schemes in writing, send us copies.
Get in touch
We want to ensure that you receive your report as quickly as possible. With the help of the Document Checklist, if you can collect all the required documents before you send the information to BlueSKY that will really expedite matters.
This will help speed up the process and enable us to produce your report in a timely fashion.
If you have any questions, or you would like to find out more, please email email@example.com or call us on 0118 987 6655.