Personal Pension Transfer
There are lots of reasons why you might want to transfer a personal pension to a new provider or plan, from seeking a better plan in terms of risks versus rewards, to taking advantage of the Pension Freedom benefits that came into full effect in 2015.
But which schemes can you transfer your pension money into, what are the risks and benefits, and how easy will it be for you to make the switch?
In this guide, we’ll explore the options and cover the steps you need to take when transferring your personal pension, whether you want greater investment choice, to consolidate your pensions in one place, to find a cheaper plan or move your personal plan into a workplace scheme.
To help you understand your options, we’ll cover the following topics:
Transferring a personal pension: the basics
Personal pensions offer plenty of flexibility when it comes to transferring your money, and with no employer benefits to consider, the process should be relatively straightforward.
The main things to consider will be how moving your pension savings will benefit you, what it will cost in terms of fees and transfer value, whether your existing plan has any perks that are too good to give up, and what you want to gain from switching.
For a more in-depth look at the wider topic of transferring a pension of any type, take a look at our comprehensive guide to pension transfers.
Can I move my personal pension?
It’s nearly always possible to transfer out of your current personal pension scheme if you wish to do so.
However, you’ll need to find a provider and scheme type that will accept inbound transfers, and if your reason for switching is to reduce costs, you’ll also want to ensure that the overall saving will offset any exit fees you might be charged.
How to transfer a personal pension
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a personal pension transfer and have identified a new scheme to move your money into, you’ll need to inform the existing provider of your plans in writing, and request an up-to-date summary of your benefits called a ‘statement of entitlement’ at the same time. This information will be used to enable the new provider to complete the transfer.
Every provider has slightly different rules around transfers, so in some cases you may be subject to exit fees or other penalties. This is more likely to be the case if you’re moving from a private pension plan, since the owners of these schemes have complete freedom to set their own fees.
You should also consult with an independent pensions advisor before you get started, so you can ensure the transfer is in your best interest. Make an enquiry and we’ll introduce you to a specialist who will carry out a free pension review to help you make an informed decision.
What is meant by ‘Personal pension transfer value’?
The transfer value of your pension is the amount that your current pension fund would be worth if you were to transfer it to a new provider. It’s important to be aware that this value could turn out to be lower than your existing pension fund value.
If the value of your pension pot is £30,000 or more it’s essential that you seek professional advice and assistance in enacting the transfer. This is a legal requirement and is intended to protect your savings. To speak to a qualified pensions adviser who can help with such a transfer, please make an enquiry and we’ll be happy to refer you to a suitable expert.
Can I transfer my personal pension to a SIPP?
If you want more control and choice over where your money is invested, you have the option to transfer all or some of the savings held in your personal pension to a SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension). Most SIPP providers accept transfers from a wide range of personal pension schemes, but fees and minimum amounts will vary between providers.
How to transfer a personal pension to a SIPP
- Find a suitable SIPP provider that accepts transfers from your current scheme.
- Contact your current provider to obtain a transfer value and register your intention to move your money into your chosen SIPP.
- If the transfer value is £30,000 or more, or if you would benefit from professional advice, find an independent financial advisor to oversee the transfer.
The experts we work with have helped countless customers to successfully transfer personal pensions into SIPPs, and are ideally placed to assist you – from scouring the market to find the lowest fees, the best benefits and the most flexible access to the investment types you want, to enacting the transfer and ensuring everything goes through smoothly.
If you’d like to speak to one of the pensions specialists on our books, don’t hesitate to make an enquiry and we’ll be happy to match you with the best advisor for your needs.
Transferring a SIPP to a personal pension
If you currently have pension money invested in a SIPP and want to switch to a more standard personal pension, this is also possible. You’ll need to find a suitable personal pension scheme, either by conducting your own research or working with an advisor, and follow the same steps described above with the aim of moving out of the SIPP.
An additional step when transferring out of a SIPP is the option of selling off some of your investments before transferring. You may want to consider doing this before leaving the scheme or you can simply move them, at their current value, at the time of the transfer.
Personal pension transfer FAQ
In the following section, we’ve collated some of the most common questions our customers approach us with on the topic of personal pension transfers. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have another query that isn’t covered here.
Can I transfer my personal pension overseas?
Yes! The good news is that as long as you transfer into a ‘qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme’ (QROPS), you should be able to move your personal pension savings overseas. And even if you’re hoping to transfer to a non-QROPS country, there may be workaround solutions and alternative options to consider.
For more information, take a look at the official guidelines on how you can transfer a UK pension abroad.
Can I transfer a UK personal pension to Australia?
Yes, many Australian pension schemes have QROPS status but the rules around transferring pensions into the country were tightened in 2015. You can read more on this in our guide to Australian pensions transfers, or better yet, make an enquiry and we’ll connect you to an expert.
Can I transfer my personal pension to a company pension?
Depending on the type of scheme and on the provider’s rules around inbound transfers, it is often possible to transfer the money held in your personal pension to a workplace pension scheme. Speak to an expert for advice on transferring into an employer’s scheme.
Can I transfer my personal pension to the NHS scheme?
Yes, it should be possible to transfer funds held in your personal pension to the NHS pension scheme if you wish to do so.
You can usually apply online to make the transfer, but there are time limits on when you can move your money into the scheme, based on factors such as how recently you became NHS staff.
How do I transfer a final salary pension to a personal pension?
It should be possible to transfer a workplace defined benefit (DB) pension such as a ‘final salary’ pension to a personal pension. However, you will almost certainly lose benefits such as the guarantee of an income for life. On the other hand, you may be offered a high cash value for transferring a scheme of this type.
Because of the complexities involved – both in the decision to switch and in the logistics of transferring a final salary scheme to a personal pension – you’ll also be legally obliged to consult an independent financial advisor in this scenario. Please make an enquiry if you’d like to discuss doing so.
Can I transfer a FSAVC to a personal pension?
FSAVCs, or Free-Standing Additional Voluntary Contribution schemes, allow you to top up contributions to a pension plan with additional payments in a tax-efficient way.
In most cases you can either keep the FSAVC as a separate entity until you have the option of accessing it at age 55 (provided your plan has flexi-access drawdown), or you can it transfer it to another pension scheme: Speak to an expert to find out more about the pros and cons of each option.
Can I transfer my personal pension to my wife or husband?
As the name suggests, a personal pension is personal, associated with an individual, and there is no legal mechanism to transfer it to another person, even a spouse. The two main exceptions to this rule are in the cases of divorce or death. Speak to an expert to ensure you have the correct paperwork in place to ensure this is done according to your wishes.
Should I transfer my personal pension?
This is a personal decision that will depend to a large extent on your circumstances and preferences – such as your health and other sources of income, your confidence in managing a budget, degree of satisfaction with your current provider, level of interest in how and where your money is invested and whether or not you want to keep your pension pot within a single platform.
With so many individual factors to consider, this is not a question that anyone can answer without significant input from you and perhaps your spouse, so if you’re not sure of the best way forward, we would recommend working with a qualified pensions expert for a professional opinion.
Speak to an expert on personal pension transfer today
For bespoke advice on personal pension transfers, call Online Money Advisor on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry online, and we’ll be in touch soon to discuss your requirements free of charge.
The experts we work with are experienced in helping our customers find the ideal solution to reach their personal pension goals.