How to check if you can transfer your pension

Have you been thinking about combining your pensions, but not sure if you can? Our pension experts answer some questions we often get asked.

How do I know if I can transfer my pensions to you?

Before you decide to transfer to us, it’s worth checking if you’re eligible.

If any of the below apply to the pension you’d like to transfer, you can’t transfer to us online. Instead, you can call us to talk about your options if:

  • You’re moving pensions which are not with a UK-based provider
  • You’re already taking an income from the pension you’re moving, and
  • You’ve taken a tax-free lump sum from the pension being transferred.

If you have another 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 other pension is run by trustees, check your plan or scheme documents, or contact your scheme administrator.

Which pensions can’t be transferred to you?

We accept most pensions, but here are some of the reasons why you might not be able to transfer to us online. This is because we don’t offer advice as part of this service. These include:

  • Your pension is with a final salary (defined benefits) scheme. This type of pension usually gives you an income based on your earnings and the number of years you’ve been a member of the scheme.
  • Your pension comes with guarantees or ‘rights’ that we can’t accept. You can find out more about these in our section on guarantees.
  • Your pension is subject to a bankruptcy order, or pension earmarking or sharing order, or other receiving orders.
  • Your pension has been, or will be, set up using ‘disqualifying’ pension credits from a pension sharing order (i.e. the order applied to a pension which was already in payment or income drawdown).
  • Your pension is with an overseas provider.

If these apply to your pension, you can call us to talk about your options.

What are pension guarantees?

Some pensions come with valuable guarantees. For instance, with a Guaranteed Annuity Rate you’d get a guaranteed income for life that’s likely to be higher than what you’d get using current annuity rates.

Other guarantees, such as Section 9(2B) rights, would give you an income based on how much you were earning at the time it was set up. Some older pensions set up by an employer might provide a Guaranteed Minimum Pension.

A Guaranteed Conversion Option 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.

For these types of pensions, we can’t accept a transfer online. If you have these and you’d like to know more about your options, call us.

Can I transfer a pension that has or is being divided up as part of a divorce?        ​

You can transfer your pension to us if it​: ​

  • Relates to a pension credit awarded to you as part of a pension sharing order​
  • Originated in whole or part from a pension credit awarded to you previously following the implementation of a pension sharing order.​
  • Has already been reduced as result of the implementation of a pension sharing order​

​This is on the basis that none of the transfer payment originated from a ‘disqualifying’ pension credit. This is where the pension sharing order applied to a pension which was already in payment or income drawdown. The ceding pension provider will be able to confirm this. 

If you have applied for Enhanced Protection or Fixed Protection 2016 on or after 15th March 2023, this may be lost when transferring pension credits. If you’re unsure, please speak to a financial adviser. They will normally charge for this service.