You might be considering transferring some or all of your benefits to a different provider. You could transfer them to:

  1. Another defined benefit scheme

    The benefits you receive will be similar in value, but they will be governed by the rules of that new scheme, so the nature of the benefits may be different.

  2. A defined contribution arrangement (usually managed by an insurance company)

    In this case your money would be invested by you, depending on your attitude to risk, to build up a pot of money for you to use as retirement income. This could also give you more freedom and flexibility over how you receive your benefits (in relation to timing, increases or benefits for your dependants).

Remember, if you transfer out of your pension scheme, you’ll be giving up a guaranteed income for life (which may increase to keep up with inflation) as well as (where applicable) valuable benefits for your loved ones when you die.

The information given on this website is not financial advice. If you’re considering this option, you should get independent financial advice. In some jurisdictions there’s no requirement to do so, but in the UK, the law says that if your transfer value is over £30,000, you must get approval from an independent financial adviser before you are able to transfer out.

10 things to think about

Before you get financial advice about transferring, consider the following.

  1. Your pension is guaranteed for life. Your pension income is guaranteed to last for the rest of your life, and you know what you’re going to get every month. An average 55-year-old man today will live to 85. A woman will live to 88.
  2. You may get a cash option. You may be able to take some of your future benefits as tax-free cash. That way, you get some cash AND a guaranteed income for life.
  3. Pension increases help against inflation. Your income may go up each year, to give you valuable protection against inflation, although it may be capped to certain thresholds.
  4. Your pension protects your family. Depending on the rules of your pension scheme and where you live, your spouse or partner may be entitled to an income if they outlive you – as well as your dependent children. Note: this benefit does not apply to Ulster Bank Provident non-contributory members.
  5. Your pension takes away worries. Your monthly income, once it comes into payment, can’t go down (except in exceptional circumstances where there is an error or other prescribed circumstance). If you transfer out, you might have to manage investments and pay advisers. This can be hard to do – especially if your health gets worse.
  6. Your pension is likely to be worth more. A transfer value can seem like a lot of money. But remember: it might need to last you the rest of your life. And it’s unlikely to be as much as the total value that your pension would give you and your family – especially if you and your spouse or partner live longer than you expect.
  7. A pension is better for most people. Experts say that most people with defined benefit pensions will be best advised to keep them rather than transfer out. Your financial adviser will start from that position.
  8. You can’t change your mind. If you transfer out, you can’t go back. So it’s really important that you take time to properly weigh up the pros and cons. Talk to your spouse or partner about what will happen to their finances if they outlive you.
  9. Good advice is worth paying for. With a big decision like transferring out, it’s well worth paying to see an independent financial adviser. You can find a financial adviser regulated to provide pension transfer advice.

  10. Watch out for scammers. 8 people a second are contacted by scammers, trying to cheat them out of their pension.

IMPORTANT: The information given on this website is not financial advice. We recommend you speak to a financial adviser before making any decisions about your pension.

If you’re an active member, before you can transfer out, you will need to opt out of your pension scheme and become a deferred member.

Your transfer quote

Before you decide to transfer out, you should get a quote to see how much your transfer value might be (not available for all members).

You will have had to opt out of your pension scheme or leave the bank (in some circumstances before your normal retirement age) to become a deferred member in order to transfer out. If you have not opted out, your transfer quote is not guaranteed. If you have already opted out, transfer quotes are guaranteed for 3 months only.

You’ll also only be able to get one guaranteed quote in any three-month period, so it’s important that you request your quote at the right time, according to your plans and taking into account the steps you will need to take before the guarantee period runs out.

Get advice

The information given on this website is not financial advice. We recommend you get advice from an independent financial adviser before transferring out. In some jurisdictions there’s no requirement to do so but, in the UK, if the total value of your pension is more than £30,000, you will also need approval from an independent financial adviser before you can transfer out.

It’s important for you to plan to receive this advice in time to be able to take the next steps within the guaranteed period of the quote, to avoid having to request another quote (and, where applicable, the advice) again.

If you’re ready to transfer

  1. Do the paperwork

    1. Get in touch to request a transfer pack.
    2. Complete and post the relevant forms back to us at least 3 weeks before the transfer value guarantee deadline (or 6 weeks before if you are transferring AVCs). These may include:
      • Forms:
        • Financial advice form (UK)
        • Transfer request form
        • Identity information form
        • Receiving Scheme form
        • Financial guidance forms, which we’ll need if your transfer value is from a UK scheme and is worth £30,000 or more (UK)
      • A copy of the photo page of your passport

    Note: The forms that you will be asked to complete will vary depending on your pension scheme and the jurisdiction you live in.

  2. We’ll process your request

    1. If we receive your completed paperwork 3 to 6 weeks before the guarantee deadline, we’ll process your request. If we receive paperwork after this, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to process your request before your transfer quotation expires. This means your transfer value will no longer be guaranteed and it could go down in the future.
    2. We’ll contact you if anything is missing.
    3. We’ll contact any AVCs providers to get the value of these benefits.
How long will it take?

Once we’ve received your completed paperwork, it will take around 15 working days to complete your transfer (or between 4 and 6 weeks if you are transferring any AVCs).