Updated: October 22, 2019

Transfer Army Pension

Want to transfer your army pension? Read our guide to find out whether they could be a better scheme for you elsewhere

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Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: October 22, 2019

Time and again, we get enquiries whether army veterans can transfer their army pensions, more formally known as the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS), to a personal or private pension or whether they can transfer it to another Public Scheme, like the New Police Pension.

The answer is  “yes” in the first case – although you’ll want to thoroughly check out the implications. It is “no” in the second. This article explains why that is so along with your alternatives.

In all cases, you’d be advised to call us to get expert advice. Indeed, the government urges pension members to seek professional objective opinion before taking any major steps on their pension that they may later regret.

Once you transfer your pension, you cannot change your mind.

Can I transfer my army pension?

Most times it’s simple to transfer from one pension scheme to another. With the army pension, rules are rather different since you’ll be converting your pension from a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme,

That’s when it becomes complicated and where most experts advise you leave your army pension in its old form so you don’t lose your pension and its benefits. In all cases, the government urges careful consideration and that if you choose to transfer your pension, you only do so after seeking professional advice.

Should I transfer my Army pension?

You can transfer your Armed Forces pension to a Defined Benefits (DB) plan, but not to a Defined Contribution (DC) plan. To understand why, here are the definitions of each plan.

Defined Benefits Plan
Defined Contribution Plan

This is also called final salary or career average. The income is certain since it is based on your years of service and income. All government public sector schemes are defined benefit. The government pays 100% of your pension with benefits that are adjusted to increases in the Consumer Price Index. Examples include the HMRC Prison Pension plan and the Police Officers and Firefighters Pension Plan.

These are largely personal pensions where your employer contributes a percentage of your income and where you may add to the pot at your volition. Benefits depend on the amount of your contributions and on how well your investments perform.

The DB, in short, is far less risky than the DC, since it is protected by the government and invulnerable to inflation. If you choose to convert your army pension, which is a defined benefits to a defined contribution, you risk losing much, if not all, of your savings.

For that reason, in its latest army pension rules, the government disallows members to convert their army pensions into a personal scheme. It also urges you seek professional independent guidance before transferring to any other DB scheme.

That’s where we come in. Contact us today to discuss your options.

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How to transfer your army pension

The process is simple…

  • Start by making an enquiry to ensure you receive independent advice throughout the process and beyond
  • Next, You apply in writing to the Veterans UK of the Defence Business Services (DBS) for a  “statement of entitlement”
  • You ask your new scheme (or prospective scheme) what your Army entitlements will buy, should you join it.
  • If you decide to go ahead, you ask Veterans UK for a transfer value payment, specifying the scheme for which the value payment should be made.
  • Veterans UK sets about transferring your pension into the chosen scheme. Once the new scheme has agreed to the transfer, you have to go ahead with the process.
  • You have 12 months from joining the organisation (not the scheme) to complete the transfer.

General rules for transferring an army pension under AFPS 2015

The rules are as follows:

  • You can transfer your army pension to another defined benefit scheme, including other public schemes like HM Prison Service.
  • You cannot transfer your army pension to a defined contribution plan, namely to a private/ personal pension scheme.
  • You cannot transfer your army pension overseas.
  • You can only transfer your pension in its complete untouched form to another pension scheme.
  • Pension transfer must be done within 12 months of becoming eligible to join the scheme. This is regardless of whether you’re already a member.

Can I transfer my military pension to a police pension?

Since the Police Pension, as an unfunded public scheme, is, also, a defined benefits plan, you can transfer your army pension from one to the other. You’d want to thoroughly compare the benefits of the new police pension with those of your army scheme. You can read more in our guide to police pension drawdowns.

Either way, get sound independent financial advice so you understand all the implications of transferring from one scheme to another. Contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with one of the experts we work with.

Can I transfer my army pension to an NHS pension?

Well, the NHS is also a public scheme, so the same rules apply. You’ll want to check its benefits to see whether transferring is worth its while for you.

Find out more in our guide to NHS pension drawdown. 

The experts we work with can give you a lowdown on the implications

Speak to an Army pensions expert

If you have questions about transferring your Army pension, you can arrange a free, no-obligation chat with one of the pensions experts we work with or call us today on 0808 189 0463.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the advisor with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation.

Ask a quick question

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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*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

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