Guide 1

Guide to pension transfers

Would you like to know more about why you might want to transfer your pensions to Scottish Widows? Our pension experts answer some of the questions we often get asked. Pension transfers are not right for everyone. You should check you're not losing valuable guarantees or features, and you should compare charges and funds.

Why would I transfer my pensions?

These days, it’s normal to end up with more than one pension. This might be because different employers have arranged these for you. You may have also set up your own individual personal pension.

Each of your pensions will be different. This could be in a range of ways:

  • Benefits and features
  • Charges
  • Providers.

That means you’re likely to have a lot of details to keep track of. One option which might make life simpler is to transfer your pensions, so you end up with fewer plans.

When you combine your pensions, it may be easier to:

  • See if you’re saving enough for the future
  • Understand how much you’re paying in charges
  • Keep on top of your pension details.

And, when you have a question about your pension, it’s easier to know which provider to ask.

Why should I transfer to Scottish Widows?

Scottish Widows has been helping people to save for the future for over 200 years. We’re part of a large group which also includes well-known brands like Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.

Every day, people combine their pensions with us because they trust us to help them manage their finances more easily.

Some people who decide to transfer to us already have a pension with Scottish Widows. If you don’t, you may be able to open a new Retirement Account as part of your transfer.

When you have a pension with Scottish Widows, it’s also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

How much does it cost to transfer a pension?

We won’t charge you for transferring your pensions to us. It’s worth checking if your other providers will charge a fee when you leave their pension.

Can I transfer my pensions myself?

If you’ve decided that a transfer to Scottish Widows is right for you, you might be able to move your other pensions to us online using our non-advised process.

In some cases, you can’t transfer to us without taking advice. This might be because you’re already taking an income from your pension or you have a pension with an overseas provider.

It may also be because you have valuable benefits and features, such as a Guaranteed Annuity Rate, life cover or a protected pension age.

If so, we may ask you to speak to a financial adviser instead. They’ll normally charge you for their advice.

And if you plan to take money from your pension soon after you transfer to us, this is an important decision. That’s why we’ll ask if you’ve had financial advice or Pension Wise guidance, or if you would like some before proceeding with your transfer.

You can read more about these in our guide.

Do I need to have a pension with Scottish Widows already?

If you have a pension with us, you may choose to combine into this.

It might be a pension that was set up by a current or former employer. These are also known as a ‘workplace pension’, ‘group personal pension’ or ‘group stakeholder pension’.

If you have an individual personal pension with us, which you set up and only you pay into, you could also choose to transfer into this.

If you don’t already have a pension with us, it may be possible for you to open a new Retirement Account. To do this, the pensions you’d like to transfer would need to have a total value of more than £10,000.

What is a Retirement Account?

If you’re combining pensions worth £10,000 or more, one option is to set up this flexible type of pension. It allows you to choose how you move from saving for your retirement to taking your pension. That means you can:

  • Continue to make regular payments
  • Save in a tax-efficient way
  • Choose from a range of investment options
  • Take your pension from the Normal Minimum Pension Age (NMPA), which is currently 55. However, on the 6th of April 2028, the government is increasing the current minimum pension age from 55 to 57. To find out more about the normal minimum pension age see the Benefits and Features part of the guide.

If you’d like to find out more about our Retirement Account, you can read about it in our full guide.

How will my pension be invested by Scottish Widows?

When you set up a pension with us, you choose how it's invested. When you transfer in other pensions, they'll be combined with this pension and invested in the same way.

Depending on which type of pension you have, you may be able to change the way your pension is invested online or by contacting us.

How can I find out what a transfer means for my future pension income?

It’s worth looking to the future when you're thinking about combining your pensions.

One way you can do this is to ask all your providers for an estimate of the income you may get from your pensions. This is known as an illustration.

Some providers may be able to give you generic illustrations online. You can usually also ask for a personalised estimate. This’ll be more accurate, as it’ll be based on:

  • How much is in your pension
  • How long it's been invested
  • How much you’re still paying in
  • How much you're paying in charges
  • Which funds your pension is invested in.

Make sure that you give the same retirement date when you ask for estimates from different providers. This'll help you compare more easily.

The good news is that when you apply to set up a new pension with us, we’ll give you an estimate for that pension as part of the process.

What details would I need to give when I transfer?

When you apply to transfer, we’ll ask you for a few details so we can start the process. For each pension you’d like to transfer, you’ll need:

  • Name of your provider
  • Member or pension policy number
  • Pension scheme name, if it was set up by an employer
  • Recent transfer value.

You’ll also need to give us your Scottish Widows policy number, if you have a pension with us, and your National Insurance number.

You’ll find these details in your annual benefit statement or schedule. If you don’t have these, you might need to speak to your provider.