Transferring benefits to another provider
If you join another Employers Pension Scheme
It may be possible for you to transfer the benefits that you have built up in the scheme to another occupational pension scheme - you will need to check with the administrators of the new scheme whether they will accept a transfer in. If you want the transfer value of your fund please contact us. We would recommend that you speak to an independent financial advisor before transferring to make sure that it is in your best interests to do so.
If you want to move your benefits to another pension provider
It may be possible for you to transfer your benefits to another pension provider. Again, we would recommend that you speak to an independent financial adviser and make sure that they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority by checking their register of advisers on their website http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do.
In recent years there has been a rise in the number of pension scams. Members are being encouraged to transfer their benefits out of the scheme before age 55 and then becoming liable to excessive tax charges. Or their money is being transferred out and being lost entirely.
New legislation came into force in April 2015 which changes the way in which members in Defined Contribution Schemes can access their benefits and this has lead to a further increase in pension scams. See the Freedom and Choice section below.
The Pension Regulator has published detailed information about pension scams which can be accessed here - http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/individuals/dangers-of-pension-scams.aspx
Warning signs of fraudulent companies are
- being approached about transferring your pension benefits by text or phone
- being told that you can access your pension benefits before age 55
- being told that your money will be held overseas
- being encouraged to get forms completed quickly or being asked to contact your existing pension provider to speed the transfer process up
- not being provided with documents when you ask for them
If you think that you are being targeted by a pension scam before you sign anything call The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) on 0300 123 1047, if you have already accepted an offered report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Don't get scammed - if you are considering transferring your pension benefits out of the LGPS please make sure that the companies/advisers that are dealing with are legitimate.
Freedom and Choice
New legislation came into force on 6th April 2015 which allows more flexibility around how defined contribution (DC) pension savings e.g. personal pensions, can be brought into payment once the minimum pension age of 55 has been reached. Previously most pension savers had to use the fund they have built up to buy an annuity to provide them with an income, however the new legislation allows members to take the whole of their fund as a lump sum (part tax free and part taxable). The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is a Defined Benefits scheme and therefore the new legislation does not apply to your pension benefits.
Members who have an AVC fund do have Defined Contributions pension savings however the LGPS does not allow the new legislation to be used so if a member did want to use the new legislation to access their pension rights they need to transfer their fund to another DC arrangement offering flexible benefits.
Due to the changes the Government has developed a free and impartial guidance service called Pension Wise - which can be accessed here. https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk/
The Money Advice Service has also produced a guide which can be accessed here https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/free-printed-guides#pensions
Provided certain criteria are met you maybe able to transfer your benefits out of the LGPS to a scheme to which the new legislation does apply however, in most cases, you must seek independent financial advice and will be asked by the scheme to provide evidence that you have done this. If there is a cost for advice then the member is liable for this cost.
If you are considering transferring out of the LGPS please make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company as the introduction of this legislation is expected to lead to an increase in the number of pension scams. Information on how to spot if you are at risk of being scammed please read the information on The Pensions Regulator Website http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/individuals/dangers-of-pension-scams.aspx.
All legitimate financial advisers must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and they keep a register of all firms, individuals and other bodies that they regulate. You can check the Financial Services Register here http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do