Updated: June 21, 2019

Can I Transfer My Pension Myself?

Transferring your pension without taking advice is not recommended. But this guide outlines how this is possible if this is the route you wish to take.

Get Started
Ask Us A Question

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.

FCA Logo
1 of 2
2 of 2 Send!

No impact on your credit score

Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: June 21, 2019

Interested in transferring your own pension? In this article, you’ll find out more about how the process works, when it’s allowed, and when it isn’t.

If you’d like a little guidance with your ‘DIY’ pension transfer, get in touch. The expert advisors that we work with have plenty of experience in pension transfers – they can help you to make sure that you transfer to the right scheme for you.

Can I transfer my pension myself?

Possibly – it depends on the kind of pension you want to transfer from, and where you want to transfer it to.

Transferring from a defined benefit/workplace/final salary scheme

In many instances, it’s not advisable to transfer out from a defined benefit scheme. However, you may be able to, provided the value of the scheme is below £30,000.

The requirement to take advice for final salary pensions larger than £30,000 is designed to protect you.

In many instances, your scheme provider will be happy to help you transfer – many such schemes are trying to reduce the number of people that they pay out to. As such, they may offer you a cash incentive to move, increasing the size of your cash equivalent transfer value (CETV).

Of course, just because your provider offers you a hefty CETV, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a good deal. Defined benefit pensions are often referred to as ‘gold plated pensions’ for good reason.

See our guide to pension risk transfer if you’d like to read more incentive schemes in DB pensions, or get in touch if you’d like to see if your provider is offering you a good deal or not.

Conversely, some schemes won’t be too keen on letting you go, unless you can find a suitable scheme to transfer into (which isn’t always easy).

If the value of your scheme is above £30,000 – by law you have to take advice from a regulated financial advisor before moving your funds. If your pensions expert advises against making the transfer, your new scheme might not allow you to transfer in. Other schemes will – ultimately leaving the final decision to you. It’s not a legal requirement.

Transferring from an occupational to a personal pension

Plenty of people have done this in the past, but it really depends on the kind of occupational pension you want to move.

DIY pension transfers with your occupational pension are much more difficult to do properly. The benefits that you built up at your company scheme can be very difficult to replicate on the open market, and if you don’t do it properly, you could lose out.

If you’re struggling to find a suitable scheme to transfer into, get in touch – the advisors we work with may be able to help you find the right one.

Transferring from an ‘unfunded’ occupational pension

Some unfunded defined benefit schemes won’t allow you to transfer out at all – typically these are public sector pensions, such as police and armed forces pensions.

The law is very clear here – so if you want to transfer out from such a scheme, you’re out of luck.

Transferring between occupational pensions

In many instances, you’re more likely to retain the benefits you built up in your occupational pension if you transfer to another occupational pension scheme (as opposed to personal pension).

The catch, of course, is finding a suitable occupational scheme that’s willing to accept the transfer – considering such schemes are often only open to people who work at the company in question.

Transferring from a personal/defined contribution pension

After the Pension Freedoms of 2015, personal pensions like SIPPs have continued to grow in popularity. Designed with flexibility in mind, DIY personal pension transfers are far more straightforward than if there is a workplace pension involved.

These kinds of pension don’t usually offer any kind of guarantees or benefits that would make the transfer process more difficult (or result in you losing out), but you should certainly check with your provider beforehand to make sure.

Speak to an expert today

Get Started

What’s an ‘execution only’ pension transfer?

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) definition is somewhat complex, but in simple terms, it means:

  • You haven’t asked for, or received advice on the transaction
  • It’s your decision, and your decision alone
  • Nobody else can be held responsible if it turns out to be the wrong decision later

You could think of execution only as a ‘DIY pension transfer’.

Many people know enough about investing that they can forego advice. If you are one of these people, an execution only transfer may be for you – but why not speak to one of the pensions experts we work with regardless? We don’t charge a fee and there’s no obligation.

As such, it’s quite common amongst personal pensions. Execution only occupational pension transfers tend to be rarer due to the restrictions and complexity involved.

Disadvantage of execution only transfers

As we said above, the main drawbacks of the execution only approach are that you don’t have any regulatory recourse if you feel that you made the wrong decision later.

If you take advice, and the decision turns out not to be right for you, you can complain to the FSCS that you were poorly advised. Depending on the kind of pension you hold, this coverage could be up to 100% of the funds lost.

How do I get the best deal on a DIY pension transfer?

You should consider the following:

You need to pay in a lot to get a decent return

Low interest rates and people living longer means the returns offered by annuities are very low.

Go execution only

If your scheme is eligible for an execution only pension transfer, you could consider this option. But be mindful of the risks involved.

Do your research and shop around

It may sound obvious, but it’s worth repeating. The pension market is immense, and if you’re willing to look far and wide, you could save yourself thousands in the long run. Don’t just go with what your pension provider offers. The best deal is probably not the first deal, the second, or the third. Although it doesn’t hurt to do a bit of research yourself, the best way to compare the deals on offer is through an independent pensions expert who has access to the entire market.

Make an enquiry here and we’ll connect you to one.

Speak to an expert

An independent pensions expert has access to a huge range of providers, including some that you may not have heard of, or may not be able to access directly.

Working with an expert can also provide you with FSCS protection – in case you later decide that the transfer wasn’t right for you.

If you have questions about transferring your pension and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry here.

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 or marks on your credit rating.

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.

FCA Logo
1 of 2
2 of 2 Send!
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.

Continue Reading

Chevron Right Pension Transfers Explained

Chevron Right Mis-Sold Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Values Explained

Chevron Right TUPE Transfer Pensions

Chevron Right A Guide to Nest Pension Transfers

Chevron Right A Guide to Pension Transfer Options

Chevron Right A Guide to Police Pension Transfers

Chevron Right A Guide to Protected Rights Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Brexit and Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Bulk Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Can I transfer my pension into property?

Chevron Right Can I Transfer My Pension Myself?

Chevron Right Can I Transfer my Pension to Another Person?

Chevron Right Civil Service Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Deferred Pension Transfer

Chevron Right Defined Benefit Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Final Salary Transfer

Chevron Right Getting the Best Pension Transfer Deals

Chevron Right Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) Transfer

Chevron Right How Long Should a Pension Transfer Take?

Chevron Right How to transfer a British Steel pension

Chevron Right How to Transfer An ISA Into a Pension

Chevron Right New Zealand Pension Transfers

Chevron Right NHS pension transfers

Chevron Right Occupational pension transfers

Chevron Right Pension Protection Fund Transfers

Chevron Right Pension Risk Transfer

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Advice

Chevron Right Pension Transfer After Divorce

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Charges

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Ireland

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Rules

Chevron Right Pension transfers from UK to Spain

Chevron Right Pension Transfers India

Chevron Right Pensions transfers upon death

Chevron Right Private Pension Transfers

Chevron Right QROPS Pension Transfers

Chevron Right SERPs Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Should You Transfer Your Pension?

Chevron Right Stakeholder Pension Transfer

Chevron Right State Pension Transfer

Chevron Right Teacher Pension Transfer

Chevron Right Transfer Army Pension

Chevron Right Transfer Local Government Pension

Chevron Right Transfer Overseas Pension to UK

Chevron Right Transfer Pension Abroad

Chevron Right Transfer Pension From Previous Employer

Chevron Right Transferring a Pension into an ISA

Chevron Right Transferring a Pension to a New Provider

Chevron Right Transferring a Pension to Another Provider

Chevron Right Transferring a Section 32 Pension

Chevron Right Transferring a UK pension to France

Chevron Right Transferring Defined Contribution Pensions

Chevron Right Transferring Pensions Into One

Chevron Right Transferring Small Pension Pots

Chevron Right Transferring Workplace Pensions

Chevron Right UK pension transfer to Canada

Chevron Right UK Pension Transfer to Australia

Chevron Right UK Pension Transfer to USA Providers

Chevron Right Where Can You Transfer Your Pension To?

FCA Disclaimer

*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.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

Get Started