You may have multiple pension schemes with different providers, especially if you've moved jobs. You can keep them separate, but you also have the option to combine them. You can transfer your pension savings to Smart Pension from a different scheme with another provider.
Before the transfer
There are a few things you may want to weigh up before making the decision to transfer your pension savings.
Transfers we can't accept
We don’t currently accept transfers that will result in a potential loss of benefits upon transfer, or transfers from any schemes that are incompatible. The most common are:
- final salary schemes, defined benefit (DB) schemes, or career average revalued earnings (CARE) pensions, or any similar schemes that pay an income based on your salary and how long you've worked for your employer
- schemes with a guaranteed annuity rate. You may get a higher regular payment in retirement if you stay with your current pension scheme
- section 32 buy-out bonds
- schemes with a guaranteed minimum pension (GMP)
- schemes that are invested ‘with profits'
- internal scheme additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)
We won’t charge you for transferring your pension to Smart Pension, but other providers may charge you exit fees for leaving their schemes. This can mean the amount of money transferred into your Smart Pension pot is less than what you had in your old pot once the fees are deducted.
You can access your pension savings from the age of 55. You should consider what retirement options your pension provider offers, such as annuities and drawdowns, as the full of range is not available with every scheme. Smart doesn't currently offer a full range of options for you to access your pension savings, but we plan to launch this in the near future.
Schemes from outside the UK
We can only receive transfers from registered UK Pension plans and schemes, or from a Qualifying Registered Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). Make sure you understand the rules and restrictions in the country where your pension scheme is held, as some schemes can't be transferred to the UK.
Guidance and advice
You can speak to a financial adviser to ensure transferring is the right thing for your unique circumstances. To find an adviser in your local area, visit www.unbiased.co.uk or call 0800 023 6868. Some advisers may charge a fee for their services.
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) is also available to help with any queries you have. You can contact them by calling 0800 011 3797, or in writing to: The Pensions Advisory Service 11 Belgrave Road London SW1V 1RB.
Starting the transfer
- Check you're allowed to opt out of your current scheme (usually 1 month after you've been enrolled).
- Complete a Letter of Authority (LoA) and email it to email@example.com using the subject Transfer In - [Your name] - [Current employer name].
What happens next
We’ll check that your plan is suitable to transfer and contact your old provider for any additional information. The whole process will take around 4-6 weeks to complete from the moment we receive your documents. We’ll keep you informed by email throughout, and will let you know once everything has been completed.
Once we've received your pension transfer, you'll be able to see it on the Contributions page under the Transfers tab when you're logged in.
We'll invest the money transferred in the same fund(s) as the rest of your Smart Pension savings. You can change your investment instructions at any time through your account settings.
If we can’t accept a particular plan we’ll contact you and outline the reason(s) why.