Updated: November 18, 2019

Transferring Workplace Pensions

Is it possible to transfer your Workplace Pension? Find out how you can do this in our guide.

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Richard Angliss

Author: Richard Angliss - Finance Expert

Updated: November 18, 2019

During your working life, you accumulate pension capital, including the recently introduced workplace pension benefits. This is good news as it means more money in retirement, but it can be tricky to keep track of multiple pensions as you move through your career, and in the worst-case scenario, you could even forget about some of them!

To get the most out of your retirement, it can make sense to transfer your pensions with you as you change jobs. Or, you could also transfer them into one single personal pension that you can manage more efficiently.

In most cases, it is possible to transfer a workplace pension. But you may need advice from one of the qualified and experienced workplaces or company pensions transfer advisors we work with.

They will be happy to assist you if you choose to transfer your workplace pension, and can advise on whether you should do so.

We know this is a common concern because these are the queries pension holders ask us every day.

To help give you a better idea of whether you can or should transfer your workplace pension and what your options are, we’ve written this workplace pensions transfer article.

Can I transfer my workplace pension?

Yes, in most cases, transferring your workplace pensions is possible. To be certain, you should check the details of the company pension or pensions, you’re considering transferring, paying special attention to the terms and conditions section.

When transferring your workplace pension, you must make sure you read all the details relating to a transfer carefully. That’s because while you may be eligible to transfer your company pension to another scheme or schemes, some exclusions, limits and charges may apply.

It’s also important to know that if you have a pension pot of £30,000 or more, the government insists you take financial advice before transferring into or out of a workplace pension. To find out more about speaking with an experienced workplace pensions transfer advisor, like those we work with, just contact us today and we’ll connect you with the right expert for your needs.

Workplace pensions with transfer restrictions

There are some workplace pensions that have transfer restrictions on them. One such pension are those classed as “unfunded public sector pension schemes”.

They include:

These are ‘defined benefit’ schemes that generally include benefits that are harder to transfer, such as ‘final salary’, death benefits and other features (find out more about what’s involved in transferring a final salary pension). Due to the nature of these government-supported schemes, the only options that may be open to the holder is to transfer it to a similar defined benefits scheme.

However, charges may apply and even though you might wish to have all your workplace pensions under one scheme, you could lose some benefits built-up in your previous scheme if you do opt for a transfer. To protect your interests, you are legally obliged to speak to an expert, such as the independent pensions advisors we work with, before making such a transfer.

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Where can I transfer my company pension to?

For the many employer or workplace pensions that are eligible to be transferred, there are a variety of options as to where you can transfer it to.

A company pension can typically be transferred into:

  • stakeholder pension.
  • You can also switch pension providers when you transfer your workplace pension

In addition, if you hold other, possibly older workplace or company pensions, including an Employer Pension Fund, or EPF, a transfer is also possible.

However, while you can transfer your existing workplace pension to a different pension option, the process of doing so tends to be more complex than if you were transferring a personal pension. Because of this, it makes sense to seek professional financial advice before you make any decisions.

When it comes to the older and less common workplace pensions, an experienced advisor, such as those we work with, can take out the time and stress such a transfer might create.

Where is the best place to transfer my company pension to?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The reasons for this is because the best workplace pension transfer decision for one person isn’t always the same for another.

The type of pension that works best, depends on a variety of details and personal circumstances.

They include:

  • Your age
  • The size of your pension pot
  • Any additional benefits of your existing workplace pension prior to transfer
  • Your personal financial situation
  • Attitude to financial risk
  • Ideal plans for retirement
  • Exactly what type of company pension you want to transfer from
  • The rules of your existing workplace pension or pensions
  • The rules of the pension you’d prefer to transfer into
  • If you’re changing providers
  • How much time you have to manage a personal pension

For some, transferring your workplace pension into a SIPP could be the best option. For others, a transfer to a private pension provider who will manage all the details of the transfer and future investment decisions is the best place.

Or, if the workplace pension on offer with your new employer is particularly generous and flexible, a transfer to that scheme could be the best decision.

Finding out the best place to transfer your workplace pension to can involve a lot of research, but there is an easier way.

Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with an experienced company pensions advisor who can help you make the best transfer decision to suit your personal situation and retirement plans, even if that means leaving everything as it is.

The advisors we work with are qualified, independent advisors, with real experience of different workplace pension transfers, who will always work to achieve the best possible end results for you.

Should I transfer my workplace pension?

In many cases you can transfer your company pension as long as you take appropriate advice and abide by the pension transfer rules. However, just because you can make a transfer doesn’t always mean you should transfer your workplace pension.

There are a variety of different details to consider and find out more about, to help you decide whether or not to go ahead with a workplace pension transfer.

If you’re considering transferring your existing or old workplace pension to a private or personal pension, or SIPP, you’ll want to bear the following considerations in mind:

  • Charges relating to managing your workplace pensions compared with the personal pension or SIPP.
  • Transfer rules, relating to both transferring out of your workplace pension and the pension you wish to transfer into.
  • Exit fees and pension set-up charges.
  • Any penalties for exiting your current company pension.
  • Any benefits from your current or previous workplace pension and whether or not they are fully transferable.
  • What the cash equivalent transfer value of your company pension is, if applicable.
  • Which provider is used for both or all your workplace pensions; if some are the same, then the process could be easier and cheaper.

If you plan on transferring your workplace pension to a SIPP, you must be completely clear about the charges your new pension could be subject to. As well as set-up fees, there will also likely be charges relating to investments you make and change within the SIPP.

The same is true if you transfer from one company pension to another company pension, the charges can vary widely. In addition, where you have more than two existing workplace pensions and some are managed by the same provider, it may make sense to combine those while leaving the other workplace pension or pensions where they are.

Indeed, the number of variations of when you should and shouldn’t transfer your company or workplace pension are numerous. That’s just one reason why seeking expert advice is important.

How do I transfer my workplace pension?

Workplace pension transfers tend to be more complex than private or personal pension transfers, and in some cases, funds need to be sold before a transfer can be made. In others, a variety of processes must be approved and completed by trustees before an employee or company pension transfer can even begin.

In addition, even if you’ve done all you can to check the costs involved with your workplace pension transfer plan, there’s still a chance that further costs could apply due to the complexity of the process (see example below).

How to transfer a company pension – a typical timeline:

  • Locate the details of your existing workplace pension.
  • Ensure the new scheme accepts incoming company pension transfers.
  • Contact your new employer if you plan to transfer your old company pension to your new company pension scheme.
  • Or, if you opt for a personal pension, send all relevant details to the provider of your new personal pension or SIPP.
  • Ensure you give the proper notice period and your new pension proper has all your personal and contact details.

However, in some cases, even if you’re willing and confident enough to make the workplace pension transfer yourself, you won’t be permitted to do so. That’s because some pensions schemes require the input and approval of a qualified and registered pensions professional.

If the rules of your workplace pension state that a transfer must be made by a professional, feel free to get in touch with us and we can refer you to a suitable advisor. All the pension advisors we work with are fully qualified, registered and experienced in assisting with company pensions transfers.

Speak to a workplace pensions transfer expert today

If you’re interested in transferring your workplace pension into a different scheme but would prefer to have an expert on hand to answer all your questions and simplify the process, we can put you in touch with the most suitable pensions specialist for your needs.

Call Online Money Advisor today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry, and we’ll be in touch soon.

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.

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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