What you need to consider before transferring your pension plans

In a nutshell

Transferring pension plans is a good idea for many people - but it's not right for everyone.

It may not be in your interests to transfer some pension plans. You need to take a close look at the benefits your existing pension plans offer you as you don’t want to risk losing valuable benefits. It’s up to you to do this.

Before you make any decision, gather together all your pension statements and any other information you have on your existing pension plans. Speak to your existing provider if you’re unsure of anything about your current pension plan(s).

Nothing on this site is personalised advice or recommendation. If you need a personalised recommendation based on your personal circumstances, you should seek financial advice.

What pensions won’t we accept?

If your current pension provides a guarantee of the money you’ll be paid, or guarantees a certain level of investment returns, you might be better off leaving it where it is. It’s certainly worthwhile getting some professional advice before making this decision, as the situation could be complex.

This is why we won’t accept applications directly through our website if your pension is one of the following types worth more than £30,000:

  • defined benefit pensions or pensions that provide any other salary-related benefits
  • pensions promising set annuity rates (also known as guaranteed annuity rates)
  • pensions with guaranteed minimum pension benefits
  • pensions invested in guaranteed funds or funds promising guaranteed investment returns
  • pensions with any other guarantees.

Speak to your existing provider if you’re unsure if your current pension plan has these guarantees. It’s up to you to do this, but we may refuse the transfer if we identify that your pension(s) include these features. You may lose out financially if this happens.

If you do have pension plans with any of these features but would still like to consider transferring them, you should speak to a financial adviser.

We also can’t accept pensions from non-UK schemes, or if you’ve already started to take retirement benefits from your pension.

What else should I look out for?

Some pensions and pension schemes have features or benefits you’d lose if you transferred to another scheme. You’ll need to consider whether losing these benefits still makes it worthwhile transferring your pensions. These features and benefits may be:

  • pensions where you have the opportunity to take more than 25% tax-free cash
  • pensions which pay a loyalty bonus
  • built-in or enhanced life insurance benefits or waiver of premiums
  • enhanced death benefits
  • pensions that let you retire early

Speak to your existing provider if you’re unsure if your current pension plan has these features. If you are unsure whether transferring your pension(s) is the right thing to do, you should speak to a financial adviser.

Are there any charges for transferring pension plans?

We don’t charge to accept a pension transfer, but your existing pension provider may charge you exit penalties. Check the terms and conditions of the pension plan(s) you currently have or speak to your pension provider. If there is a charge, you should find it listed there.

When is the right time to transfer pensions?

You can transfer your pension plans at any time. It’s worth reviewing your pensions and how they are performing every year. This also gives you a chance to look at the annual management charges you’re paying and whether you’re getting the best deal.

There are a number of ways in which you can take money from your pension fund, take a look at How do I take money from my pension fund?. There's plenty to think about - but having all your pensions together in one place could make it easier to manage your money when you retire.

Why choose Aviva?

  • We look after the pensions of over two million customers.
  • We have 31 million customers worldwide.
  • We have £241 billion funds under management.
  • We’ve been in business for over 300 years.
  • We can help you retire.

Check out Aviva Pension

Find out more and apply to transfer your pensions.

Aviva Pension

Pension Wise has been set up by the government and offers free and impartial guidance for people retiring with defined contribution pensions. It will help you understand what your choices are and how they work.

You'll be able to get help on the Pension Wise website, over the phone or face to face.

If you are approaching retirement we recommend you get guidance or advice to help you understand your options.

We can give you all the facts about Aviva’s products and services.

We can’t give you advice. If you are unsure whether a product or a service is suitable for you we can put you in touch with a financial adviser who can give you a personal recommendation. This service will be restricted advice and is limited to a number of product providers. There may be a charge for their advice.

Alternatively, you can visit unbiased to find a financial adviser in your area.

Need some help?

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There’s a lot to think about when planning your retirement. Take a look at our

Frequently Asked Questions.

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