Retirement planning

Transferring pensions

There are a number of different reasons why you may wish to consider transferring your pension schemes, whether this is the result of a change of employment, poor investment performance, high charges and issues over the security of the pension scheme, or a need to improve flexibility.

You might well have several different types of pension. The gold standard is the final-salary scheme, which pays a pension based on your salary when you leave your job and on years of service. Your past employer might try to encourage you to move your pension away by boosting your fund with an ‘enhanced’ transfer value and even a cash lump sum.

However, this still may not compensate for the benefits you are giving up, and you may need an exceptionally high rate of investment return on the funds you are given to match what you would get if you stayed in the final-salary scheme.

Alternatively, you may have a money purchase occupational scheme or a personal pension. These pensions rely on contributions and investment growth to build up a fund.

If appropriate to your particular situation, it may make sense to bring these pensions under one roof to benefit from lower charges, make fund monitoring easier and aim to improve fund performance. Transferring your pension will not guarantee greater benefits in retirement.

The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back your original investment. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tax benefits may vary as a result of statutory change and their value will depend on individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent finance acts.