How to know if you can transfer

Next, we’ll help you find out if you can transfer online. We accept most, but not all pensions. Here we check that we can accept the pensions you’d like to move to Scottish Widows.


     This section explains

  • Which pensions we can’t accept online
  • When you may need to talk to an adviser
  • If you’re not sure, how you can find out more.

Pensions you can’t transfer online

  • Your pension is with a provider outside the UK.
  • It’s a final salary pension (also known as a defined benefit pension).
  • Your pension is subject to a bankruptcy order, or pension earmarking or sharing order, or other receiving orders.
  • It has been, or will be, set up using ‘disqualifying’ pension credits from a pension sharing order (i.e. the order applied to a pension already in payment or income drawdown).​

  • You’ve already taken an income or tax-free cash lump sum from your pension.

If an employer, or someone other than you, is paying into your pension, you won’t be able to transfer online to Scottish Widows.

You can find out about these in your policy documents, or by speaking to your provider or scheme administrator.

Why we can’t accept pensions with guarantees

Some pensions come with extra guarantees. These can be valuable, and you’d lose them when you transfer. That's why we don’t accept pensions with guarantees such as:

  • A Guaranteed Annuity Rate: this means, in most cases, you’d get a higher income for life when you retire than you’d get at today’s annuity rates.
  • Guaranteed Conversion Option: this allows you to convert your pension into a fund. This fund then gives you access to a wider, more flexible range of benefit options. At today’s rates, this fund is unlikely to be worth as much as your original pension.
  • Section 9(2B) rights: these would provide you with an income that’s based on what you earned at the time this pension was set up.
  • Guaranteed Minimum Pension: some older pensions set up by an employer might offer this benefit. You’d receive this if your employer’s scheme was contracted out of part of the state pension. To find out more, you can contact your scheme administrator.

These features can’t be transferred online. You can talk to an independent financial adviser if you’d like to transfer one of these.

If your pension scheme is run by trustees

If you have a pension which was set up by your employer, it might be managed by trustees. If so, you will need to get permission from these trustees before you transfer to us.

If you’re not sure if your pension is run by trustees, check your policy or scheme documents, or contact your scheme administrator.

If you’d like to know more, you can read more about any of these points in our guide section

This information is not the same thing as advice.
Read more about advice and find out which type might be right for you.

Questions we're often asked

  • If the value of the pensions you’d like to combine is at least £10,000, you may be able to set up a new pension with us. We call this a Scottish Widows Retirement Account.

    You can read more about our pension here (PDF, 2MB).

  • You can transfer most pensions to us online, but not all. Common reasons we can’t accept a pension include:

    • It has benefits which may be valuable. If you transfer, you’d give these up
    • It’s with an overseas provider
    • You only want to transfer part of your pension
    • You’ve taken an income or tax-free lump sum from your pension
    • It’s a final salary pension
    • An employer is currently paying into your pension
    • It’s subject to a bankruptcy order, pension earmarking or sharing order, or other receiving orders​
    • It has been, or will be, set up using ‘disqualifying’ pension credits from a pension sharing order.​

    For more about pensions we can accept, read our guide.