Pension transfers - things to think about
Updated 19 September 2023
If you have more than one pension pot, combining them is one option to help you keep track of your retirement savings. Transferring from multiple providers to one provider can also make it easier to see exactly how much you're paying in charges.
Transferring a pension pot may not be the best option for you, you should compare the benefits from previous pension arrangements with the estimated benefits of your current pension, including the charges you're paying, any guarantees you may lose or any surrender charges your previous pension provider may impose on transfer. You should speak to your financial adviser, if you have one, about your options before making any decisions. If you don't have a financial adviser, you can visit MoneyHelper to find the right one for you. There may be a charge for this.
Before you transfer, here are some important things to do and think about.
It's important to get a breakdown of all the features, benefits and charges of any previous pension arrangements you have. Here are some of the things you'll want to find out:
- The type of plan it is.
- The current transfer value.
- Any fees or charges.
- Any valuable features, guarantees and other benefits - for example guaranteed annuity rates, protected tax-free cash or protected low pension.
- Any surrender charges or Market Value Reductions* (MVR) if you transfer.
- Any trusts and expressions of wish in place.
- Is there any waiver of contribution or life assurance benefit in place.
- What funds it's invested in.
- Any employer contributions being made.
*MVRs may apply if any of the pension pots you're considering transferring are invested in a With profits fund.
This list isn't exhaustive. If you don’t have the information to hand, you can get it by contacting your existing pension provider(s).
You should consider your own situation carefully. MoneyHelper has some useful information that could help.
If you’ve lost the details of any previous pension pots, the Pension Tracing Service can help.
It’s a free service run by the Department for Work and Pensions. It can help you trace the most up-to-date contact details of any previous pension pots.
Once you’ve got the details you can then get in touch with the provider to get the information you need to help decide if transferring is right for you.
If you decide that you want to transfer to Retiready, we’re here to help. To help make the process as easy as possible, we'll work with you and your current provider to get the paperwork we need to complete your transfer.
If you don’t want to make a transfer, you can still record the value of your other retirement savings in Retiready - giving you a single overview of your total retirement savings. Adding your other savings is easy. Simply sign in to Retiready and go to the Savings page and select Add another account.
If you haven’t already signed up for Retiready, get started by registering for a free account.
Important things to remember
Transferring a pension may not be the best option for you. You may lose features, protections, guarantees or other benefits - so make sure you compare products before transferring. It's up to you to decide if this is the right decision for you. If you're not sure, speak to a financial adviser - there may be a charge for this.
It's important to remember the value of your consolidated pension pot can still fall as well as rise and the final value of your pension pot when you come to take benefits may be less than has been paid in.
Any new funds you move your money into will have their own set of risks that will be detailed in the fund information available to you.
In most circumstances, you can currently access your pension benefits from age 55. Under recent changes introduced by the Government, the minimum age is being raised to 57 from 6 April 2028. However, the Government rules may allow you to retain a ‘protected pension age’ of 55. This will depend on your specific circumstances and the rules of the scheme which currently holds your pension fund.
If you have a protected pension age in your current scheme, be aware that this might be lost if you transfer and you may have to wait until at least age 57 before taking benefits. The conditions relating to protected pension ages and transfers are complicated. If you’re not sure if combining your pension pots is right for you, please speak to a financial adviser – there may be a charge for this.