A study conducted by Willis Towers Watson has identified that over half of defined benefit (DB) members who received independent financial advice chose to transfer their benefits out of their DB Scheme. The increase was credited to members wanting to access greater flexibility following the freedom and choice reforms in 2015. The study also found that this was a significant increase on the previous year where just over one-third of members who received financial advice, chose to transfer their DB pension to another arrangement.

Stewart Patterson, head of liability management at Willis Towers Watson said “Increasingly, many members of DB schemes are recognising that by transferring out of their scheme they may be able to achieve a pattern of retirement income that better suits their needs than the more traditional DB pension.”

He also added "The results of our survey clearly demonstrate that members value flexibility over their retirement savings and we predict that over the next few years pension flexibility for members of DB schemes will become the new norm."

However, Patterson indicated that DB transfers may not be the appropriate solution for all members.