Pensions could be worth more than property after Brexit

In Industry Insights by woateam

Defined benefit pensions could be worth 25 per cent more than property in a no-deal Brexit scenario, according to calculations from Hymans Robertson.

The consultancy, which compared the value of an average UK property with an average DB pension, concluded that a final salary pension could be worth more than a house as soon as this month.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics published in September showed the average house price in the UK increased by 0.7 per cent in the year to July 2019, the lowest annual rate since September 2012, when it was 0.4 per cent.

Ross Fleming, co-head of DB investment Hymans Robertson, noted that while UK property prices were on the precipice of decline with Brexit on the horizon, DB pensions were expected to be more resilient in the near term, particularly in a no-deal scenario.

He said: “We analysed the expected financial impact of Brexit which, as has already been widely reported, is expected to lead to greater economic uncertainty in the near term.

“In times of greater uncertainty when interest rates fall, DB pensions increase in value. Conversely, property prices are more likely to fall.

“In fact, if no-deal was the outcome, it could mean that for the first time DB pension pot values are likely to be significantly higher than average property values. They could, potentially, rise in value by 25 per cent relative to property.”

Political uncertainty around the UK’s looming departure from the EU has increased in recent weeks, with prime minister Boris Johnson pledging to leave the bloc by October 31 “with or without a deal” despite strong opposition from a large number of MPs.

Mr Fleming said: “So much focus is put on property as an individual’s main asset, but those fortunate enough to have a DB pension may well be surprised that it is worth more.”

He added that it was “even more important” for savers engaging early with their pension scheme to take financial advice to determine the best course of action.