Defined Benefits pension transfers

Defined Benefits (DB) or final salary pensions can be transferred to personal schemes under some circumstances. To protect customers, we apply rules about the kind of DB pension transfers we'll accept.

This page aims to make the process clear and efficient by defining which pensions we’ll accept, and by explaining the process you’ll need to follow when you apply for a transfer.

Is your transfer eligible?

For Royal London, DB pensions fall into three categories - those we’ll normally accept, those we can sometimes accept, and others which we can’t accept.

We'll normally accept a transfer if

  • the advice has been provided or checked by a pension transfer specialist and
  • the transfer is submitted by an adviser firm with the appropriate transfer and opt-out permissions.

We may accept a transfer where

  • the ceding scheme doesn’t support partial transfers and the intention is to re-transfer some of the pension away once we’ve received the full transfer (we’ll ask for more information before we accept the transfer if this is the case)
  • the client has decided to go against advice and continue with the transfer. (This is known as an 'insistent client' case. We're defining an 'insistent client' as someone who you're providing a personal recommendation to as part of an advised sale but they're choosing to go against this advice. In this instance, you'll only be facilitating the transfer, so you can advise a suitable product and investment choice.)

We won't accept a transfer in cases where 

  • the adviser firm doesn’t have the appropriate permissions, whether or not the advice has been checked by a pension transfer specialist
  • the transfer will only be with us for a short time before it’s re-transferred elsewhere
  • the transfer is non-advised or execution only.

Making a DB pension transfer application

  1. Begin by preparing a personalised recommendation for your client. This should clearly outline their long-term investment strategy - normally 15 years or more. If you're accepting referrals from other firms, it's important you're aligned on your client's long-term investment strategy. You'll need to demonstrate that your client has sufficient savings to last through retirement.
  2. If you're working with an 'insistent client' you'll only be facilitating the transfer. 
  3. Complete the paperwork. You can find and download all the forms you need in our literature library.
  4. Submit the fully completed application, including any additional information needed, at least two weeks before the end of the guaranteed period.
  5. We’ll ensure the ceding scheme receives all the documentation they need from us before the guarantee ends.

Good to know

Transferring a DB pension isn't right for everyone. The Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator warn that "it will be in most people's best interests to keep their Defined Benefit pension."

The FCA Defined Benefit transfer guide has more information on Defined Benefit pension transfer considerations.

Resources and services

We believe in doing the right thing for our customers. So we'll review all DB business, including adviser charge levels, to see if there are any common trends which could have a negative impact. As part of this, we may ask for copies of your clients' agreements and suitability reports.

Our business development managers and expert teams can help at every stage of the process. And we've developed a range of tools and services to help you plan, review and manage the switching process.