Updated: June 10, 2019

Transferring a Section 32 Pension

Can you transfer a Section 32 pension to another retirement scheme? The specialist brokers we work with are on hand to help you do it right.

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Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: June 10, 2019

The world of pensions can seem confusing and, for those with older pensions that were transferred into section 32 schemes, the rules around making changes or transfers can be fraught with rules and restrictions.

Indeed, due to the flexibility now available to many pension holders, there’s a lot of confusion about section pensions and if a transfer is possible or a good idea when it comes to the level of future retirement income you wish your pension savings to provide.

To help you understand what you can and can’t do with your section 32 pension, this article will cover:

Can you transfer a section 32 pension?

If your pension holds enough funds to honour all the rules of the pension when it was initially transferred out, then yes you can transfer your section 32 pension out to a different pension and provider.

If it doesn’t hold enough funds – which you can’t add to – then transferring becomes more difficult. It all depends on the specific details and guarantees of your section pension.

Whenever you’re considering a pension transfer, it’s recommended you seek advice from a financial advisor. We work with independent financial advisors who are pension experts, get in touch for a free, no-obligation chat.

What could hinder a section 32 pension transfer?

A section 32 pension, which is also known as an s32 buyout policy or section 32 buyout bond, accepts transfers from occupational pension schemes. They were more popular in the late 1980s, before personal pensions. But prior to that many companies and pension holders used them to transfer their company pension out to a type of deferred annuity. Some of the section 32 pensions had two elements and some had one.

Those with two elements include a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) which provide the holder with a guarantee that the GMP will be paid during retirement. That’s regardless of how much money is held in the fund.

For those section 32 buyout pensions that have it, the GMP element is linked to the fact that the company pension in question used to be part of the old second-tier state pensions. Some companies elected to contract that second tier part of an employees state pension and put it into their company pension, or State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS).

Where a company had contracted out some of their employees’ state pensions into the company pension plan, there was a guaranteed minimum pension when they retired as part of it. However, businesses and providers who transferred management of that pension to a different provider or scheme, had to include the GMP as part of the agreement.

That means, if your section 32 pension still doesn’t have enough funds to cover the SERPS-linked GMP, then your current provider may not permit a transfer because you must still receive the guaranteed pension amount and they cannot pass a pension with a shortfall onto a different provider.

To find out more about transferring your section 32 pension, it could prove useful to speak with a financial advisor experienced in these types of transfers. The financial advisors we work with are fully qualified and experienced in all types of pensions and pension transfers.

They will assess your situation and provide you with a detailed assessment of your expected income when you retire, and advise you of what steps you should take, if any.

Circumstances that allow a section 32 pension transfer

For those whose s32 buyout bond has the two elements including the GMP and sufficient funds to cover the GMP element of your pension terms, then you can transfer your section 32 pension to other providers and pensions.

If your section 32 pension doesn’t have the guaranteed element in it, it could also be known as an excess pension benefit. As such, there are no limits relating to guaranteed minimum pension when you retire and you are also able to transfer your section 32 pension.

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Where can you transfer your section 32 buyout pension to?

With the wider variety of pensions now available, it’s possible to transfer your section 32 pension to a number of different providers and personal/private pensions types. Self invested Personal Pensions (SIPPS) and personal pension plans are among the options you will have.

Not all providers and pension types accept pension transfers in from other schemes, but many do. However, you must check the details of the personal pension you wish to transfer into to ensure it’s compatible with the transfer you want and that you won’t lose too many of the benefits and guarantees that are part of your existing s32 buyout bond.

An expert section 32 pension transfer advisor, like those we work with, will be able to help you find the right pension and provider for your needs. They will also ensure you make the right decision with regards to your section 32 pension and the income you need your pension to provide when you retire.

How do you transfer a section 32 buyout pension?

How you transfer a section 32 pension can depend on the rules of your existing s32 buyout bond and also the pension you want to transfer it into.

In some cases, you will be able to do it yourself by following the steps below…

  • Gather all the details of your section 32 pension
  • Confirming the fund amount and if it is enough to satisfy the benefits attached to it
  • If your section 32 pension holds more than £30,000 you must speak with a pensions adviser, in line with government rules on pension transfers
  • Once you have found the pension you wish to transfer your s32 buyout fund into, confirm the rules relating to that new pension
  • Once you have all the required information complete the paperwork to make the transfer, give your final signature and your section 32 pension will be transferred into your newly selected pension

Some pensions and providers include rules that require any transfer to be handled by a pensions expert or qualified financial advisor. If this is the case you will need to find an expert to complete this for you.

Speak to an expert today

If you’re interested in finding out more about transferring your section 32 pension but are unsure of the benefits you currently have and the potential benefits of such a transfer, get advice from an experienced financial advisor you can trust, call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry.

All the experts we work with are fully qualified to provide advice and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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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