In this episode Tamsin speaks to actuary Richard Nobbs about PODEs (Pensions on Divorce Experts). They discuss when a PODE might be needed, and when they might not, along with how to instruct them and what questions to ask.
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Richard is an actuary and the owner and a director of Excalibur Actuaries Limited, one of the leading pensions on divorce expert firms, with a team of over 20 including 6 actuaries. He is a member of the Pensions Advisory Group – colloquially known as PAG, comprising judges, barristers, solicitors and pension experts and who have provided extensive guidance on how to deal with pensions on divorce. He is chair of the PAG valuation working committee.
Richard is also a member of the Academy of Experts and Expert Witness Institute.
On a lighter note, he is married with two daughters and in his spare time Richard is an expert skier and an enthusiastic, if less accomplished golfer and photographer.
Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.
You can contact Tamsin at firstname.lastname@example.org or arrange a free initial meeting using https://bit.ly/SmDiv15min. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK
Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd
P.S. I am the co-author of “My Divorce Handbook – It’s What You Do Next That Counts”, written by divorce specialists and lawyers writing about their area of expertise to help walk you through the divorce process. You can buy it by scanning the QR code…
(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)
Tamsin Caine 0:06
In this week’s episode, I speak to actuary Richard Nobbs. We talk all about Pensions on Divorce Experts or you might have heard them called PODEs. We talk all about whether you might need to report what are examples of instances where you will be needing one, where you might not need one. We talk all about how to instruct PODEs yourself and what questions that you should think about asking. I hope you enjoye the episode. Let’s jump right in. Hello, and welcome to this episode of The Smart divorce podcast. I am absolutely delighted to be joined today by Richard Nobbs. Myself and Richard met, I guess about 18 months ago, virtually but I think we’ve actually ever met in person. But Richard is one of my go to people as a pensions on divorce expert. I’ll let him introduce himself properly in just a second. But Richard, welcome. Thank you for joining me today.
Richard Nobbs 1:07
Thanks very much. Looking forward to this. I’ve not done a podcast before so quite excited. Bit nervous
Tamsin Caine 1:14
You’ll be absolutely fine. We’ve had lots of first time podcasters on on this podcast over the years I seem to manage the twist a few people say. So do you want to start by telling our listeners a little bit about what you do for work and what that involves?
Richard Nobbs 1:30
So I’m an actuary, and I own a company called Excalibur Actuaries. And we’re one of the leading pension on divorce expert firms. We’ve got a team of over 20, including six qualified actuaries. I’m a member of the Pensions Advisory Group, which is where I think we first sort of met at least sort of over video, and that’s colloquially known as peg a comprises judges, barristers, solicitors, and other pension experts. And we’ve provided extensive guidance to those who work in this area on on how to deal with pensions on divorce. So I’m the current chair of the peg valuation Working Group. I’m, as I say, a qualified actuary, a fellow of the Institute and faculty of Actuaries, a member of the Academy of experts, and a member of the expert witness Institute.
Tamsin Caine 2:34
That’s quite a list.
Richard Nobbs 2:37
Yeah, it is. Actually, the area of working in PODE is quite an unusual area, there aren’t many actuaries, there aren’t many people that actually work in this sort of niche area. And so what I wanted to make sure of is that, you know, along with the work we do for peg to make sure that I’m looking at other areas where experts work and and try and learn from, from wider, wider fields.
Tamsin Caine 3:07
Sure, that makes absolute sense. We had a gentleman on a couple of weeks ago, who was talking about forensic accountancy, and he works in the divorce arena, but also does quite a lot of work in the criminal carrier as well. And, yeah, I mean, you know, if the if it had made sense, we’d have recorded a very long podcast about that. I don’t think it would have really fitted with our topic, so. But yeah, it’s great to have you, um, you are one of my go to pensions on divorce experts that I always recommend when people ask me who they should get their reports from. So it’s great to be able to talk this through with you. I think it’d be a great start to talk about Pag. Because, apart from the fact that the two of us are on the committee, it really is the the seminal piece of work on guiding, not just professionals working in this area, but also also clients as well, although they might find the original peg report quite hard read. Do you want to just set up for us a little bit about what pag is what why the report is so very important, and where our clients can find it other than in our show notes.
Richard Nobbs 4:22
So why why is it important? Yeah, it’s been done by I think it’s the Nuffield Foundation. And I think the origins of it probably come out of one of your previous guests, Reese Taylor. And there was some investigations, I think by Rhys and also Hilary Woodward, where they found that there was a lot of disparity in the reports provided by pension on divorce experts, which will shorten to podes. So given that there was a big variety of results that was being provided, that that meant that you could often end up with quite different outcomes on divorce, depending on which pension expert you went to. And that doesn’t really help anyone. And so they want to make sure that there was greater consistency. Part of this was actually making sure that the questions that you put to the pensions expert, are more consistent. And if you’ve got more consistent questions, and the pension experts are dealing with the more consistently, you’ll still end up with some variation. But you should end up with a much, much tighter sort of range of results. And so hopefully more consistency throughout basically throughout the UK on divorces, or certainly within England and Wales.
Tamsin Caine 6:02
Absolutely. And so the PAG report, as I say, is is available, the link to the the terribly long, original report is in the show notes. And whilst it is written, I guess essentially, for professionals, it is, relatively speaking and fairly in plain English. However, there is a more accessible version, which is called the survival guide for pensions on divorce, which is available and again, we’ll put the link produced by I think it’s last life, it’s it’s an on the advice now website. So we’ll get that on there as well, as well as the video that was also produced at the time, which is on YouTube. And again, the link will be available in there. But you are going to hear us referring to the pack report as we go through this podcast recording so that you we thought it important to tell you what it is before we before we head off into the into the bulk of this conversation that we’re we’re going to have today. So I guess the most important thing is to start off by saying well, what a PODE is.
Speaker 2 7:09
So yeah, PODE is a Pensions on Divorce Expert. And personally, I differentiate between PODEs, you’ve got those that are advising one of the parties, on their finances, typically ifas like yourself, and but it’s not necessarily independent financial advisors, and those that are acting as single joint expert, and single joint experts like Excalibur where we need to be independent of both parties. And we’re often appointed by both parties or their solicitors or by the court. So if you’re an independent financial adviser, you might be required, I think it’s good, probably good practice for an individual who’s getting divorced, to go and consult an IFA to try and find out about all of their finances, not just the pensions aspect, and talk to them about what you know what’s happened, try and get them to understand budgets and do plans and stuff like that, and effectively next steps. And, you know, there may well help with setting out the questions you might put to a single joint expert, they might also be able to help talk through the single joint expert report when it comes back and deal with the implementation aspects. So I think that yeah, that’s one part of it. That’s that’s one type of PODE. The other one is to say, the single joint expert appointed by both parties or their solicitors or the court, and we just need to do, effectively a very narrow piece of work of looking at the pensions, answering the questions that are put to us, and providing that in our report so that people can, you know, take take it and ultimately reach a decision or allow the court to reach a decision
Tamsin Caine 9:08
Absolutely and and you’re just to be 100% clear on this because I think there can be a little bit of confusion about this. Your job is not to provide advice, as such, but more information is that would you say that was right?
Richard Nobbs 9:26
Yeah. Well, we’re not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide advice. So what we will do is we’ll try and provide some sort of pointers, shall we? So So for example, some of the pensions, particularly defined benefit pensions might be available earlier than the individual realises. And so we might say, ah, the normal retirement age of the pension is 65. But it can be accessed at age 60 Without reduction now, that’s, you know, that’s really helpful information as far as The individuals concerned like, oh, hang on a second, here’s some free money, effectively, you know, so and that last, that’ll often be available in places like, you know, the local government pension scheme, depending on when when individuals have work. So yeah, we’re not providing financial advice. But I think it’s worth just sort of reading through, though, get the report, seeing if there are any pointers, and make sure that you’re talking it through with your own independent financial adviser who can, you know, hopefully, will have already picked up on a number of those things, and can actually provide the the correct in the correct financial advice.
Tamsin Caine 10:41
Perfect, wonderful. So if I’m a client, and I’m getting divorced, why my I need one of your reports, other than because I’ve got a pension, what’s there isn’t as straightforward as if I’ve got a pension and my ex has got a pension, we need a report.
Richard Nobbs 11:01
Not necessarily. But ultimately, you’ve got what’s known as the matrimonial pot, you’ve got all of the assets that both of you have. Now, that can be joint assets, or it can be assets held as an individual held separately, it includes the home, it can include savings, investments, cars, and it should include pensions. Now, the pensions can only be held by one or the other. But under under the horse, the law, and under the law, each party needs a fair share of that matrimonial pot. Now, it doesn’t mean to say it’s going to be 5050. But that’s effectively a starting point. And yeah, there may be differences in in pensions, most of the time, there is significant differences in pensions. And so we’re asked to do a report about providing some sort of equality. And that might also include things like offsetting, so that if there’s some sort of adjustment, one party gets more of the non pensions, assets, like the home and less pension sharing. We can, you know, put a report on those issues, and they can then hopefully reach a decision or allow the court to rate such as at reach a decision.
Tamsin Caine 12:27
Perfect. And so, you did say not necessarily. So, in what circumstances might you not need a PODE report, even if you are looking at the pensions and looking at the possibility of dividing them?
Richard Nobbs 12:47
Right now, right at the outset, you were talking about the pack guide, a guide to the treatment of pensions on divorce is a snappily named publication. And it’s 176 pages. So I think it’s difficult to, you know, to ask your listeners to read through all of that. And to be frank, they just don’t want to, but there are a couple of key sections, Section six and section seven. And basically paragraphs 610 and 611. I think they are talking about when you might want to involve upload, and when you might not want to involve upload. And so there are some good illustrations of where upload report might not be worthwhile. It’s basically a waste of money. And you know, where that includes where the pensions are all defined contribution. There are no implicit guarantees you need to watch out for there being implicit guarantees. So talk to your IFA around that where none of the benefits have been taken. So particularly tax free cash lump sums, and you’re of similar ages. So if you’ve got pretty much all defined contribution, with with those provisos, you don’t necessarily need to report younger people, typically under 40 and not in the uniformed services. So the armed forces, the police and firefighters, where the pensions are worth less than 100 grand that is an area where actually a pensions report probably not good value, and also where the parties are in public sector only. And I’d add on to that if that providing they’re intending to retire on the lower of the retirement ages. If they’ve got, shall we say the old style, final salary, pensions and the new style. Korea averaged revalued earnings or care benefits. So if they’re retiring if they’re expected to read toward the younger ages or before, then don’t need a opposed report there. But if you are offsetting, ie doing some sort of trade between pension sharing, and and and the other non pension asset, then think about whether you do certainly, you know, if you’re in the public sector, I would still get a pode report there because the public sector cash equivalents aren’t necessarily reflect a reflection of current values.
Tamsin Caine 15:37
Okay, that that makes that makes some sense that I know, this is a question that I’m asked almost, almost daily, I have an email coming through to me saying, Do I need? Do I need an actuary? Do I need a PODE report for this?
Richard Nobbs 15:53
And we get asked, and sometimes we will say, actually, you don’t need a report. And we’ll refer the people to the PAG guide, and say, you know, based on what you’ve said, it isn’t required and A, B and C. And I think that, you know, that sometimes helps solicitors because they don’t want to find out that, you know, they’ve made the wrong sort of recommendation. And we’re, we’re gonna we’re happy to answer that for people who are litigants in person as well. So, yeah, yes, there’s some good guidance around there. We’ve got more than enough work to be doing. We don’t want to want to be doing reports, which, which aren’t value for money.
Tamsin Caine 16:39
Yeah, absolutely. And I think I think the majority of posts would would say the same as well. Yeah. No, I know that you have, you have plenty of work being in. I guess, then the next question is, apart from emailing me, which seems to happen a lot of the time, how do people find their pensions on divorce expert? And I guess the simple answer is, you can email Richard because his details are going to be in the show notes. But But failing that, and perhaps wanting to maybe talk to more than more than one pension on divorce experts, and maybe to know that they were going to get someone who was going to do a really good job for them. Where on earth do you start finding out?
Richard Nobbs 17:20
Well, again, I think I’d split this between an IFA PODE and a single join tests expert pode. For the individual advice. It’s not about it’s not all about pensions, you need advice on all aspects of the finances. So the IFA wants to understand all of your sort of sources of income savings, other assets, assets, such as the house what the outgo is, what your state pension build up is, and what your what your retirement expectations are now, they may not be set in stone is certainly at the early stages, you might still be in sort of shock or, and still need to go through some sort of decision making process. But you know, I’d want to be talking to somebody who is an expert in that. And I think, from my understanding, you get paid ifas, but not all ifas are podes. quite few financial advisors that I come across, actually have good pensions on divorce knowledge, they may have good pensions knowledge, but not pensions on divorce knowledge. And so I think that that’s an important thing. You need to be able to explain, or the the IFA needs to be able to explain what’s happening in straightforward language, if you don’t understand what the IFA is saying, I wouldn’t appoint appoint them, you know, and it might take a few goes, you know, if you’ve not got that much knowledge about managing your own money, managing your own own finances, you know, the IFA is going to have to need to get to know you, you’re going to have to get to know the IFA, there’s going to be a relationship develop, because there needs to be a fair bit of trust. There needs to be an awful lot of trust between the parties. So I think that’s an important thing. And it might take a few goes before you get comfortable. I think as far as single joint expert reports is concerned, or single joint expert podes. I’ve personally been concerned about the quality of some of the SJE reports of some PODEs. And I think unless you’ve got a really good understanding of pensions on divorce is difficult to identify who to appoint as an SJE and who to be wary about? I’ve seen instances where somebody has been appointed as an SJE because they’ve done a cheap report or because it’s been done quickly. And that’s just backfired. Because the report has been fundamentally flawed, that results in pair pension sharing the ultimately wrong. And if the if you can spot that there is something wrong. And sometimes you can sometimes you can’t. But if if the solicitors see that there’s something wrong, then either the individuals or the solicitors or the courts and then got to try and unpick that unpick what’s being said, and come to their own conclusion, conclusions, or appoint somebody else who actually knows what they’re doing? Either way, you end up with potentially large legal fees, and perhaps kicking the problem down, you know, you might end up with further delays, it could put you back, you know, several months, maybe maybe a year. So, yeah, how do you sad you find a single joint expert, I think the main single joint experts just provide single joint expert reports as their principal business. So you know, we’re not the only only ones, but we only provide expert reports. And we’ve got a team of experts, similar to the main SJE firms, and say, we generally don’t provide wider financial advice. So we’re not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. I certainly consider appointing one of the peg valuation committee members, they’re set out in the back of the pad report. So you know, you can always look up them and and appoint them or talk to them. There are some good firms that aren’t actually involved on the peg valuation committee. And so, you know, you can always talk to somebody one of the pack members and say, Look, is there anybody else, that you, you know, that you can recommend, or, you know, deal with it that way. And I’d certainly recommend, you know, talking to the Pope, call the Pope, talk to them, tell them about the pensions that you’ve got, and the and the instructions that you want to put to them. Ask them about their experience, specifically on those pension schemes, and get a quote in writing. But I think if you’re talking to them about their specific experience, or the within those pension schemes, and how many of those cases they might have dealt with over the past few months, that will be a good indication of whether they, whether there, they should be able to talk about some of the nuances of the pension scheme.
Tamsin Caine 23:07
No, no, absolutely. I think you’re absolutely right. And, you know, sadly, I’ve, I’ve, and this is not wanting to scare anybody, but I think it’s really important that you do pick an expert who knows what they’re doing, you know, I’ve been asked by solicitors to have a look over paid reports and sadly said, I can’t comment on this to your client, because it’s it’s not accurate. It’s not right. There are too many errors in the you really need to go back and then resolve those before we can before we can get any further. But yeah, you know, there are there are pensions on divorce experts who work as, as ifas, as Richard said, Who can presumably guide you also as to as to who perhaps they’ve, they’ve seen used before, and they’ve seen reports from that they’ve been happy with which is, which is where I started referring my business from is like, seeing the reports by them. They’ve been good. They’ve made sense. Let’s recommend them. So yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. And in terms of IFA podes, resolution website, you can search accredited financial advisors on there. There are sadly, not very many of us, I think there are 35 in England and Wales, but that’s certainly a good starting point if you’ve been through the accreditation, which is huge. Yeah, a huge part of which is that is, is pension space. So all of those people should should have an idea what’s going on. So I guess my next question is, and we’ve talked about the fact that not all poses are equal. But in terms of of those who work as SJEs do they all work in the same way?
Richard Nobbs 24:57
I think so. I don’t know exactly. How competitors work. But I think certainly the calculations are broadly are often broadly similar. Sometimes there’s a difference in interpretation of instructions, but I wouldn’t necessarily get too hung up about that. I think the main differences are, some will do. Basically, the information gathering, they will go to all of the pension schemes and ask for the information. And Excalibur is not, we don’t do that, we prefer to look through the information that we’re provided with, we then set it out what further information is in an email. And we expect that that can then be basically copied and pasted into an email to the pension scheme administrators. And that means then that the divorcing parties are able to go and get that information. We think it keeps the cost down. And it the pension scheme administrators often have service level agreements with their pension scheme trustees, I were their bosses. And those service level agreements will include sort of turnaround times for asking for information from members doesn’t necessarily mean from third parties, I think we certainly find that where, where we are involved in data gathering, sometimes we’ll do it, particularly where there is something complex, we don’t want to, you know, end up with the member being a postbox. But we will get involved sometimes. And it can sometimes take quite a lot of time for the pension schemes to respond. So there’s an area of of difference. The other area, I think it’s probably litigants in person. Some do take litigants in person, some don’t. We’re currently prepared to take litigants in person. But yeah, it’s shall I say, sometimes it depends. Where they’ve gotten. If they’re, if they’re litigants in person, they got to be cooperative at the end of the day, if you end up with sometimes you think that they’re both litigants in person, and both are both complying with the sort of court processes, and then you find that one isn’t. And so in those circumstances, it’s often just better to get a solicitor involved.
Tamsin Caine 27:38
Sure. Just the clarification just for the podcast for people who aren’t ofay with the term litigants in person, we’re talking about people who come direct to you, as opposed to using a solicitor to guide them. Yeah, brilliant fab. Walks. We’ve talked a bit and we talked right at it at the top of this podcast a bit about, about letters of instruction, when you were talking about the PAG report, and we were introducing that. So the letter of instruction is really, really important. Can you talk through what questions people should be asking? And I guess this is, this is solicitors could benefit from this as well as the litigants in person some some guidance as to what questions are important to ask. DSJ of course .
Speaker 2 28:33
Yeah Okay. Yeah, letters of instruction is bit of a difficult balancing act, perhaps. Personally, I prefer to see a question ideally about equality of income. So we’d like equality of income at retirement. And ideally, one or two retirement ages. What I don’t like to see is we’d like equality of income at retirement ages 60, 62 to 64, 66. Because the more questions you ask, the more complex the report more expensive the report, and and basically, you end up with something that is incomprehensible. And actually, it wastes a lot of fees. So it costs more for from the SGEs perspective to provide. The solicitor needs to spend a lot longer reading it, and trying to get to the bottom of it. So certainly, you know, equality of income, one or two ages. I don’t think it generally needs much more than that. Some of the solicitors might also look at equality of value. I think certainly if if you both have a similar age, I’d ignore that. I wouldn’t bother having Equality of value. If you are within sort of a couple of years of each other, it’s probably not worth asking it. As I say, it’s just an extra set of results that you’ve got to argue about. You might include some ring fencing, Peg, sort of generally sort of discourages ring fencing in what’s known as needs cases. And so and needs case can still be significantly sized pensions. So if you aren’t going to do ring fencing, ie have something like the pre marital accrued pension, then just ask for one or two ring fencing, please don’t ask for several sort of ring fencing periods because it again, it just results in higher costs and a more complicated report. And And finally, you might ask for offsetting figures, if you’re unsure about offsetting figures, I certainly ask for it at the outset. Because it’s a heck of a lot easier to provide the do all of the calculations at one time rather than us go and do a pension sharing report. And then you go Oh, hang on a second, we’d like to come back and ask you some further questions, please, can you do an offsetting calculation? That then just costs three or four times as much sometimes, so you might as well just ask for it at the outset.
Tamsin Caine 31:38
One question that that is kind of, again, a question that’s fired at me regularly. I’m sure it’s fired at you as well. And that is if we’re looking at possibly equalising value, for example, why can I not just add up their CVs or cash equivalent values? And divide them by two?
Richard Nobbs 32:04
Yeah, that’s an interesting question. Okay, so cash equivalents. Different pension schemes will calculate cash equivalents in different manners. And there are good reasons for that, as when I’m wearing a pension scheme hat. So if I’m advising a pension scheme, that a pension scheme has to calculate cash equivalent, I the value of the benefits. And it’s generally based on that pension schemes own investment strategy. And so if the pension scheme has a very conservative investment strategy, so it’s taking very little risk, then actually, it’s, it’s expected returns tend to be much lower. And because if you’re getting very low investment returns, you need a lot of money to provide the pension. Conversely, if you’ve got a pension scheme that is invested in, shall we say, more risky assets? And it doesn’t have we’re not talking about betting on the 330 from Kempton? You know, we’re just talking about investing in general sort of stocks and stocks and shares, you know, that might be Sainsbury’s. Tescos, it might be, you know, some of the banking sector could be anything around there. If if it’s got an investment strategy like that, it’s more likely to be assuming higher investment returns. And so obviously, with higher investment returns, you need a smaller sum of money to provide a an amount of pension. And so what you can sometimes find is a one pension scheme with a conservative investment strategy might have a cash equivalent of 100,000 pounds, whereas another one might have a more, shall we say, optimistic or higher return investment strategy, and it might only have a cash equivalent of 50,000 pounds. So you’ve got there a doubling of the cash equivalent for exactly the same amount of pension and so that the pensions are not comparable. You’ve got exactly the same thing with the public sector. So our public sector cash equivalent is not necessarily comparable to a private sector, defined benefit cash equivalent. They can be, again, fundamentally fundamentally different And so you then rarely require the the SJ e pode. To actually look at the underlying pensions and saying, Okay, how much do I think that is worth, you know, the underlying investment strategy of the actual pension scheme is not irrelevant. What is relevant is what the pension scheme will actually provide. And so that’s what you’re asking your, your SGA to look into. And so that’s why we don’t generally like using the cash equivalents of pension scheme. Yes, they’re needed as part of the calculation. But when you’re actually looking at the values of those pensions, they’re not particularly helpful. And one of the other things that we will do is, when we’re doing our analysis, we will also probably look at which of them is the best to share, ie which one of those defined benefit schemes or defined contribution schemes, offers the best terms actually improves both divorcing parties outcomes, the person with the pension actually has to share less of that pension for there to be equality. And both of them end up with higher pensions after sharing? So that’s actually a really important, but probably little discussed point.
Tamsin Caine 36:25
No, you’re absolutely right. And I think that’s really important to talk about, because it is the real crux of, of why you really need to get an SBA involved where there are a number of pensions, particularly whether they be schemes involved, or as you mentioned, at the beginning, these guarantees on DC schemes and, and, you know, it’s important to check if you’re not sure if your solicitors not sure, speak to a pensions on divorce expert, whether that be somebody like Richard or somebody like myself, just to make sure that if a PAG reports needed that it is being requested and that it’s been requested as as early on as as humanly possible. And we are coming to the end of our conversation, I told you, we would easily fill this together. I guess that the important thing from the litigant in person’s perspective is, is the guidance available easily on how to instruct yourself as in SJE? themselves as a couple? How did they go about doing that? And where can they access guidance on that?
Richard Nobbs 37:35
Yeah, we’ve got some guidance on our website is probably not the most sort of detail, but it can, it contains a section on instructions, that includes a template letter of instruction that’s basically based on the PAG version. So that’s in there, whilst the template letter of instruction is drafted, as if it’s from solicitors just replace the names of the solicitors say, you know who you are, and that you’re acting as litigants in person. provide that, along with the patient’s information, it gets in on the on our website, we set out what pensions information we we want, get whatever you can, I would suggest if it isn’t all sort of immediately available, just give us what is available. We can review it. Ask any questions around, you know, clarification of the letter of instruction, I wouldn’t necessarily get too hung up on getting the precise wording. If it’s not perfectly clear, we’ll come back and say, right, this is what we’re going to do unless you agree otherwise. And yeah, we’ll review all the pensions information. If not everything is there. We set out clearly what is required you copy and paste that to the pension schemes. AD and yeah, hopefully within a few weeks, they will respond. And then you can send it over often where where the pension information is, sort of, shall we say, not forthcoming, we can sometimes find workarounds, you know, we’ve dealt with pretty much all of the main UK pension schemes. And so similar to them at the mines, SJ experts, I’ve got a sort of library around there. And so we can can probably take a few shortcuts if if that information isn’t quickly coming back.
Tamsin Caine 39:47
Fantastic. And I guess the the one of the questions sort of as a result of that we talked about asking for equality of income at specified retirement age and perhaps one or two, but certainly not a range of, you know, there see five that we, we sometimes see if if I’m a litigant in person and I know not being not being guided by a solicitor and have crazily not seen a financial planner as well. What how do I how do I know what retirement ages to pick? To ask you to calculate the equality of income? Or are you able to guide on that at all,
Richard Nobbs 40:28
We’re generally generally prepared to if the instructions say, equality of income upon retirement, that might be a, shall we say, a suitable catch up or catch all. Or you might say, retirement at a particular age, the retirement age of the main pension scheme, you can also ask the SGA to include any other age, which they may think appropriate, I wouldn’t have any hesitation about putting things back to the s je to you know, because as a single joint expert, my role is to be impartial, and to be seen to be impartial. Our duty is to is to the court, and I want to make sure that, you know that the the report basically is is is fair is down the middle. And if if there are material issues that need to be raised that the court or the parties need to be aware of, then I want to make sure that that’s in the report. So if in doubt, I would say put it back to the SGA and say, you know, what do you recommend around here?
Tamsin Caine 41:49
Perfect. I’m glad you said that, because that’s what I always tell people to do. That’s, that’s handy. You know, these reports, they, they, they look overwhelming, and they can look very long when you first get them. But I do think it’s important to read them through because as Richard said that there’s so much information in there that is useful to you. If nothing else, get a highlighter pen, get a printout of the report, I am old school, get a pregnancy of the report, and highlight the bits that you feel like that might be important. And go through that, that document like that, you look like you’ve got something even more useful to say.
Richard Nobbs 42:30
Not necessarily more useful, but I think it’s really important that the reports are understandable, you might not understand all of the my new shy off the report, you know, the whole reason you’re appointed expert is because the stuff that is complicated, potentially complicated, you know, there’s some lots of calculations in the background. But there should be a common sense. explanation for how the pension sharing is, is is working. And so somebody should be able to get the get the gist of a pension sharing report. And if if somebody hasn’t, they should be able to go to their financial advisor and get all the all the solicitor and get them to talk, walk them through each page of the report. And certainly we’ve been sometimes offering particularly for more complex reports, where we just, you know, walk both parties through the report to make sure that they have understood how we’ve gone about the calculations, and they understand the the the implications for it. And I think you know, that’s a really important part of the service.
Tamsin Caine 43:53
Absolutely. No, totally agree. Before we wrap up today’s session, is there anything that I’ve missed anything I should have asked you that haven’t?
Richard Nobbs 44:02
Not really I think the thing I would just sort of plead it is on instructions to keep things simple. For us, it’s much easier to provide a report where the where the instructions are simple, that keeps our fees down, it keeps the solicitors fees down, it means that there’s less issues to argue over. And so if that can, if that can happen. Hopefully everybody will be happier.
Tamsin Caine 44:35
Excellent. That is a brilliant point to end on. And I’m in absolute agreement with you. Richard, thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been brilliant to have you with us and I know that that has provided some really useful insights. I’m sure that our listeners and viewers will have got a lot from that. So thank you.
Richard Nobbs 44:54
Thank you I’ve really enjoyed it!
Tamsin Caine 45:00
I hope you enjoyed the episode of the Smart Divorce podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website www.smartdivorce.co.uk. Also if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify and you wouldn’t mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some further support, we do have Facebook group now. It’s called ‘Separation divorce and dissolution UK.’ Please do go on to Facebook, search up the group and we’d be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care!