Transfers - frequently asked questions
Your questions answered.
Can benefits be transferred between pension schemes?
Yes, if it's a 'recognised transfer', it will be an authorised member payment with no adverse tax consequences.
HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM100010: Transfers: essential principles
Cheryl has just been granted a Pension Sharing Order on her ex-husbands private defined benefit pension. Does her adviser have to be a Pension Transfer Specialist (PTS)?
No they don’t.
Cheryl does not have the right to remain a member of her ex-husbands scheme; her only option is to move the money to a new arrangement. Because of this it is not treated as a transfer and her adviser doesn’t have to be a PTS.
Do all benefits have to be transferred at once?
Not all benefits need to be transferred at once; they can be transferred in stages. Benefits are not usually tested against the lifetime allowance at date of transfer, except where the transfer is to an overseas scheme (QROPS).
If the benefits have been designated to drawdown the whole of the drawdown pension fund or flexi-access drawdown fund under an arrangement must be transferred - a partial transfer is not possible.
HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM100010: Partial transfers
If somebody is entitled to more than 25% tax-free cash before 6 April 2006 (A-Day), but they transfer their benefits after A-Day, will they still be entitled to more than 25% tax-free cash?
If the individual had enhanced or primary protection the benefits could be transferred to another registered pension scheme after A-Day and they would keep the higher tax-free cash entitlement.
However, the same would not apply to somebody with a tax-free cash entitlement of more than 25% who had not applied for primary or enhanced protection.
These people will lose their entitlement to the higher amount of tax-free cash under the new plan, unless they transfer as part of a 'block transfer' or in certain circumstances on the wind-up of an occupational scheme.
John has an entitlement to more than 25% tax-free cash in his current scheme. He wants to go into drawdown, which his scheme doesn't provide. Can he take the higher tax-free cash from his current scheme and then take drawdown from another scheme via an Open Market Option?
No, the Open Market Option (OMO) only applies where someone buys an annuity from their current scheme and the annuity is actually bought on the open market to take advantage of better annuity rates available from another provider. An OMO can only be used to buy annuity it can't be used to provide a different kind of benefit.
As John has an entitlement to more than 25% tax-free cash but no access to drawdown from his current pension scheme, the only way he can access drawdown is to transfer, before taking benefits, to a pension scheme that provides it.
For the higher tax-free cash entitlement to survive the transfer, the transfer will have to be a block transfer or a wind-up transfer.
HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM062400: Open market option
HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM063210: Entitlement to pension
Lily wants to transfer her rights in an occupational pension scheme to a personal pension. Her rights include GMP with a value of £20,000. Only £18,000 of the total transfer value is earmarked to cover the GMP but Lily is prepared to accept the lower figure. Can the transfer go ahead?
DWP rules require the transfer value to include enough to cover the cost of any GMP. So the transfer can't happen even although Lily says she wants it to go ahead.
Nigel has moved to Germany but wants to transfer his UK registered pension to another provider in the UK, can he?
There is nothing to stop you transferring your registered pension benefits between UK pension providers. However, not all providers allow people resident overseas to start a new pension arrangement.
The information provided is based on our current understanding of the relevant legislation and regulations and may be subject to alteration as a result of changes in legislation or practice. Also it may not reflect the options available under a specific product which may not be as wide as legislations and regulations allow.
All references to taxation are based on our understanding of current taxation law and practice and may be affected by future changes in legislation and the individual circumstances of the investor.