Financial advice

How defined benefit transfers work

If you’re considering a defined benefit transfer, we’ve put together a timeline showing how long a defined benefit transfer typically takes to complete. 

Some cases are more complex than others, so it may take more or less time than this. Your adviser will keep you informed throughout the process.

First week: Initial call from an adviser

Your adviser will call to discuss your situation, explain the transfer process and send you any information you might need. Then, you’ll decide whether to arrange your first meeting, which may be face to face, by phone or video call. There may be a charge for the first meeting.

One to two months: Fact finding 

During your first meeting, you'll have the opportunity to ask any questions and have the advice service, process and costs of advice, explained to you. Your adviser will explain the potential risks and benefits of transferring or not. 

Your adviser will gather information about your retirement goals and pension plans to complete the first stage of analysis. 

From two months: Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) request

Once your adviser completes most of their analysis, they’ll request the CETV from your defined benefit scheme’s trustees who have up to a month to do this. It’s important to note that your CETV is only guaranteed for three months.

You can request a CETV yourself, however, we strongly recommend not doing so until your adviser instructs you to. This is for a few reasons:

  • The three-month guarantee will probably expire before you receive your personal recommendation
  • Your trustees may limit you to one CETV a year and you could be charged for any future requests
  • The CETV amount may change, affecting your adviser's recommendations

Three to six months: Recommendation

Your adviser will go through the facts before completing their recommendation report and then give you a personalised recommendation on whether to transfer or not and explain why they've made that decision. 

Six months: Transfer application

If your adviser recommends a transfer, the trustees must be informed that you want to transfer by three months after the CETV guarantee date. Your adviser will then complete the necessary paperwork to confirm to the trustees that you’ve received financial advice, so they can begin to process the transfer. 

Nine months: Transfer completion

Your defined benefit trustees must pay the CETV to a defined contribution pension. Your adviser will ensure your CETV is invested in the pension scheme they recommended and will inform you when everything is complete.

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