UK - Members of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes should expect lengthy delays when seeking to take a cash equivalent transfer value, Punter Southall warns.
It said there would be widespread confusion over exactly how to interpret the new requirements.
The regulator recently issued its long awaited draft guidance for trustees on the new transfer value regime, aimed at helping trustees to apply the new legislation for calculating members' transfer values.
However the consultant said the draft guidance creates more questions than answers.
Punter Southall technical director Joanne Livingstone said it would lead to widespread difficulties for trustees in ensuring they were compliant with the new regime.
And she warned the likely response from trustees would be to delay providing quotations to members until these issues had been resolved.
Livingstone said: "The draft guidance is not clear in certain respects, for example whether trustees should allow for differences in longevity associated with different pension size.
"Members seeking a quote on 1 October might therefore have to wait for up to six months until the trustees can be sure that their proposed calculation meets the expectations in the Regulator's final guidance which will, we hope, clarify all such uncertainties."
Livingstone was also concerned about the scope of the guidance.
She added: "Instead of the promised clarification on transition, the draft guidance goes far beyond the legislation, removing flexibilities that the Department for Work and Pensions had indicated that it wanted to preserve.
"One clear example is the draft guidance on whether and how to reduce transfer values."
Livingstone said the legislation would allow transfer values to be reduced for schemes that were under funded, however the Regulator stated that trustees should not normally reduce transfer values where the employer's covenant was judged to be strong and where the shortfall was to be remedied over a reasonably short period.
She said: "Deciding to reduce transfer values is never easy and the Regulator's decision in effect to ban reductions is not helpful.
"Not reducing transfer values may mean that higher transfer values are paid out than the scheme can afford, thereby reducing the security of benefits for members who remain in the scheme."
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