Updated: June 24, 2019

Frozen Pension Transfer

Got a frozen pension? Did you know it's possible to transfer the funds elsewhere? Find out how in our guide

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Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: June 24, 2019

frozen pension, now more commonly referred to as a dormant pension, is one that was arranged for you through a workplace you were previously employed but is no longer being added to by your former employer.

While it isn’t being topped up from your salary, the provider is still investing it in line with the account rules. There are options to help ensure your total pension pot is still working hard to provide for when you retire and one of those is a frozen pension transfer.

In this article we’ll discuss:

Can I transfer my “frozen” pension?

Yes, you can transfer a frozen pension into another. If you have at least one dormant pension from a previous job, the first thing you’ll need to do is find out which provider it’s with and contact them to obtain the transfer value. This will ensure you’re informed of how your pension is performing and also, that the provider knows who it belongs to.

Once you’ve located any frozen pension from previous jobs, the next step is to find out more about it. Relevant details to a potential transfer include:

  • Is it transferable?
  • If so, what type of pension account can it be transferred to?
  • What are the fees and costs associated with moving a frozen pension?
  • Does my other, active pension account accept frozen pension transfers?
  • Will I lose any benefits from my dormant frozen pension if I move it to a different account and/or provider?

Once you’ve updated your details with the provider of your frozen pension, they should be able to give you most of that information.

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Should I transfer my “frozen” final salary pension?

For those of you with a dormant (frozen) final salary, or defined benefits pension, in most cases, you are able to transfer it to a different scheme. If your frozen final salary pension is what’s called an ‘unfunded’ public sector pension, such as a teacher’s, nurse’s or police pension, then moving it isn’t usually possible if you’ve had it for two years or more.

In addition to that detail, where your dormant final salary pension isn’t an ‘unfunded’ public sector one and you have more than £30,000 in that pension, the government insists you use financial advice before transferring it. Why? Because it’s likely you’ll lose out on some important benefits if you do transfer your frozen final salary pension.

As well as asking ‘can I move my frozen final salary pension?’ You must always ask if it’s something you should do.

The answer to that question is entirely personal, based on:

  • Any benefits or guarantees you might lose.
  • The benefits you’ll gain.
  • Your expectations for when you’re retired.

It’s possible to make a decision based on your own research and discussions with providers. However, just like the government, we recommend you speak with a regulated pensions advisor about the potential transfer of your frozen final salary pension.

The advisors we work with understand all the details and benefits of final salary pensions, the alternatives and what becomes more important during retirement. Get in touch and we’ll connect you with the right pensions advisor for your needs and circumstances.

How do I transfer my “frozen” final salary pension?

If, after being advised you do decide that a transfer is the best option for your dormant final salary pension, you will need to take the following steps.

  1. First, you must request a statement of entitlement from your final salary pension provider, this gives you the cash equivalent that will be transferable to another pension.
  2. A month from that date, you will be notified by your provider of the need to take professional pensions advice – which the pensions experts we work with can provide.
  3. A couple of months later, your provider should give you the transfer value, or cash equivalent of your frozen final salary pension. You then have three months to confirm your intention to transfer your final salary pension to a different provider.
  4. Three months on from confirming your plans, the dormant final salary pension transfer must be completed.

Unfunded public sector defined benefit pension transfers

It’s also worth knowing that it is possible to transfer a teacher, nurse, police or other unfunded defined benefits pension to another scheme, equivalent scheme if you remain in the same profession or have returned to it after a break.

Again, rules apply and the benefits may not be exactly the same. That makes it important to seek advice from a qualified and registered pensions professional, like the experts we work with.

Can I transfer my “frozen pension” into a SIPP?

Yes, in many cases you can transfer your frozen pension into a SIPP. However, as with all pension transfers, different providers and schemes have different rules which means you should always find out if:

  • The provider of your frozen pension allows transfers into SIPPs.
  • The SIPP you have, or would like, accepts dormant pension transfers.
  • You won’t lose out on any important, existing benefits from your current pension provider.

These are all the details you can find out for yourself. However, it can be easier, with more reliable results, if you speak with one of the frozen pension transfer experts we work with. They will know more about which accounts are compatible and what would work best for your specific needs – make an enquiry to talk to one of them today.

Is there a way of combining my “frozen” pensions?

Yes, there are several ways of combining your existing frozen pensions. If you wish to combine your total pension pot into one pension scheme or account, you can do this through a more traditional pension that is managed by your provider.

Or, another option is to have your pension transferred into a SIPP that gives you more control and can also be easily monitored through an online portal or account. These aren’t the only ways to combine your dormant pensions, you could also:

  • Buy an annuity which will provide you an income in retirement.
  • Transfer your frozen pensions into one scheme that provides income drawdown without the need to buy an annuity.

To find out more about which option would work best for your frozen pensions transfer needs, it would be worth your while speaking with a pension transfer professional. The right frozen pension advisor can answer all your questions and give you all the information you need to manage the transfer of pension funds you have already invested.

Speak to an expert today

If you have questions about transferring your dormant pension and would like an informal chat with an expert to find out more, call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry here.

Then, just sit back and relax while we do all the hard work of finding the advisor with the right experience for your specific needs.

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We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in pensions Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Tony Stevens

Tony Stevens

Finance Expert

About the author

Tony has worked in a vastly diverse array of areas in the pensions industry for over 20 years. Tony regularly writes for trade press, usually on topical and pensions pieces as well as acting as a judge at prestigious national events.

Tony is also a highly qualified Independent Financial Adviser in his own right. His mantra has always been “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”, and believes that the biggest impact that an adviser can have on a client’s life journey is to take them on a journey from generally having little or no real idea of what their retirement will look like, to giving them the understanding of what their retirement looks like now, then helping them navigate a path to what they want their retirement to be.

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