Final Salary Transfers

A Final Salary (or Defined Benefit) Transfer involves exchanging your pension entitlement for a cash lump sum which must be put into a registered, or HMRC recognised, pension scheme. The FCA and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) believe that it will be in most people’s best interests to keep their final salary (DB) pension.

  • If you are aged 55 or under -> you can transfer into a Personal Pension Plan and invest in one or more funds in line with your objectives and attitude to investment risk. At age 55 you can then move into Flexi-Access Drawdown (Pension Drawdown) or purchase an Annuity.
  • If you are aged 55 or over -> you can transfer into Flexi-Access Drawdown (Pension Drawdown). You can choose to take up to 25% (a quarter) of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum. The rest is then invested in one or more funds within your pension, and you are able to take a taxable income at times that suit you. Typically, people use it to take a regular income.

You choose investment funds that match your objectives, attitude to risk and set the income you want. The income you receive may be adjusted periodically depending on the performance of your investments.

Once you’ve taken your tax-free lump sum you can start taking income right away or wait until a later date.

There are number of advantages to transferring your final salary pension into drawdown, but there are also some disadvantages, for example you are giving up a guarantee but gaining the ability to pass money onto your loved ones on death.

Working with a suitably qualified Adviser to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of final salary transfers and whether they are right for you is extremely important.

If you take advice with us, we will give you one of two outcomes:

  • We can show that the transfer is clearly in your best interests and suitable for you.
  • We cannot show that the transfer is in your best interests so we believe that remaining in your current scheme is suitable for you.

We have been advising clients on Final Salary Pension Transfers since 1999 and are specialists in this field.

In order to provide advice on Financial Salary Transfers, advisers must hold The CII Certificate in Pension Transfers (Formerly Advanced Financial Planning Certificate "AF3 Qualification" and before that "G60"). At The Pension Drawdown Company we offer the professional services of four Financial Planners holding this prestigious qualification (meet the team).

Factors to consider when deciding whether a Final Salary Transfer is right for you.

Both options are provided for comparison, each have their benefits and which one is appropriate in meeting your long term needs depends on your personal circumstances.

Factors to consider
Final Salary
Transfer/Drawdown
Final Salary 1-01
Family
Protection
& Inheritance
Spouse receives 50% of annual pension and
small allowance for children under 18 or in full
time education.
Spouse receives 100% of fund and can be
passed on to children in entirety. Outside of
inheritance tax.
Final Salary 2-01

Income
Guaranteed index-linked income for life from
retirement age (usually 60 or 65)
Income taken when required from age 55 but you lose the guaranteed lifetime income from your DB scheme, for you and your dependants. You also lose the inflationary protections offered by the DB scheme
Can be tailored to your needs and tax-efficiency.
Final Salary 3-01

Control

No Control by scheme members
Ability to take control of your entire pension
and determine how it is invested, drawn and
passed on.
Final Salary 4-01

Capital Value

Only realisable if exiting the scheme
You have control and access to the capital but there is no guarantee that it will last for your lifetime.
Contact your scheme administrator for the latest cash equivalent transfer value.
Final Salary 5-01

Flexibility
Benefits, including the tax-free lump sum, can be
deferred until required.
You can alter your investment strategy and the
amount and frequency of your tax free lump
sum and income.

Comparisons based on typical Final Salary Schemes we have advised on going into Pension Drawdown

Top Tip Icon

Upon transferring out your final salary scheme, for most people, we believe that ongoing advice is vital to support your plans and evolving circumstances.

This may not be the case if you are merely in a workplace pension scheme.

Your relationship with your advisor is a key part of feeling confident about your pension and making sure you continue to be correctly invested. It is important to remember that markets go down as well as up and that the value of your fund may go down and up as a result. Your advisor is there to make certain you understand the risks of investing and ensure you are invested at a level that is commensurate with your attitude to risk.

> Please click here for more information on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Final Salary Transfers.

Summary of our final salary advice process:

Triage

Following your initial enquiry, we will provide you with guidance to give you enough information about safeguarded benefits and flexible benefits to enable you to make a decision on whether to take advice to transfer your final salary pension. At this stage, it is factual information only and is not advice itself. There is no charge for providing this information.

Abridged advice

This is a shortened form of advice and will be provided by a pension transfer specialist. It will involve gathering information from you by way of a fact find document. The good news is, we will be allowed to tell you if transferring your Defined Benefit pension is a bad idea and that we do not recommend it. And we can still do this for free.

There will one of two outcomes from abridged advice:

Provide you with a personal recommendation not to transfer or convert your pension.
or
Advise you that it is unclear whether you would benefit from a pension transfer or conversion based on the information collected through the abridged advice process.

Currently, we do not charge for providing abridged advice

Full Advice

In the event of the latter ‘unclear’ outcome, to find out if a transfer is then likely to be in your best interests we need to proceed to the full advice process, where we can carry out a full analysis, but whatever the outcome, you will have to pay our full fee. Obviously, you can choose not to proceed to full advice, in which case no fee is paid.

Here we would establish full personal information, scheme information and objectives. Check ceding scheme details for any transfer penalties and/or special enhancements that could be lost on transfer. Advise on an appropriate solution based on this. We will do cashflows and take into account tax and investment considerations; include Transfer Value Comparator (TVC) and Appropriate Pension Transfer Analysis (APTA) comparisons.

At the end of this process we may still recommend that you DO NOT TRANSFER out of your DB scheme. Our initial fees for providing full advice are set out below, please note that these will apply in full regardless of the full advice outcome – whether it’s to transfer or not to transfer.

With our full advice service, we will provide you with a written suitability report detailing the reasons for our advice. It will specify your demands/objectives and needs and highlight what is important to you. It will also set out possible disadvantages of any course of action. Our aim is to produce a report that stands the test of time and tells a story in ‘plain English’ about how the recommendation endorses your retirement plans.

Fees and transfer criteria:

Triage and abridged advice – no fees

Full advice – 2% initial, minimum £2,500 applicable in full regardless of the full advice outcome – whether it’s to transfer or not to transfer.

Minimum pension transfer value, £200,000.

We can only advise you if you are a deferred member of your DB scheme. So, if you are already an active member of your scheme, we are unable to advise you to ‘opt out’. Minimum age: please discuss your individual circumstances with us.

Occupational/Final Salary (DB) Transfer, Conflict of Interest Statement

As Pension Drawdown Company proudly subscribe to the PFS’ Pension Transfer Gold Standard, we have committed to considering whether there are any likely conflicts of interest inherent in how we advise on Defined Benefit Pension schemes. We will only recommend a Pension Transfer where we believe this is in your best interests and follow regulatory requirements and industry best practice to form our advice. We will only recommend ongoing services where we consider this is important/beneficial to your ongoing financial health.

We offer Triage / Abridged advice at our cost and will only supply chargeable services where following Abridged Advice, we believe it is not clearly in your best interest to leave your Defined Benefit Pension in place. This does mean there is potentially a benefit to the firm to progress to providing chargeable services. However, to ensure our processes and advice is aligned with our clients’ best interests the firm has adopted the following measures:

  • Staff are well trained and adequately supervised
  • Staff complete ongoing training annually, which covers both technical and compliance aspects of the pensions environment. Our pension transfer specialists are required to complete 50 hours of continuous professional development
  • We consider a range of solutions to your needs, including using Work Place pension schemes
  • Cases are checked and pre-approved by a Pension Transfer Specialist and then by a third party to provide objective feedback
  • Where chargeable services are supplied: our fees are the same whether you transfer a pension or whether the advice is to maintain your Defined Benefit pension in place
  • Where any ongoing services are recommended (to monitor performance of investments etc) it is not obligatory you subscribe to these services, you can manage your funds yourselves or employ a different adviser if desired. We will consider also simple solutions and will only recommend ongoing services where we believe this will be beneficial.

Where any Conflict of Interest is identified, the firm will consider if any measures can be taken to manage the Conflict, and where we believe there is any risk to our clients from the conflict, we will tell you about this and discuss whether and how we should proceed.

October 2021

So if you would like to find out more or review your own position
please contact us by email or call us on

0800 03 04 008

Contact Us
Risk Warning Icon

This guide should not be construed as individual advice to transfer out of a final salary pension scheme. Pension transfers are relatively complex and irreversible transactions and it is both imperative and a legal requirement to seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before accepting a transfer.

Always remember the value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise and you might not get back all your initial capital. This document has been produced based on our understanding of current pension rules and pension tax treatment. These do change from time to time.

The FCA think that keeping safeguarded benefits will be in the best interests of most consumers. Their current stance is that a transfer, conversion or opt-out will be unsuitable. When giving full advice, advisers should only consider a transfer, conversion or opt-out to be suitable if it can be clearly demonstrated, on contemporary evidence, that the transfer, conversion or opt-out is in the client’s best interest.

Risk Warning Icon

This guide should not be construed as individual advice to transfer out of a final salary pension scheme. Pension transfers are relatively complex and irreversible transactions and it is both imperative and a legal requirement to seek advice from a suitably qualified adviser before accepting a transfer.

Always remember the value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise and you might not get back all your initial capital. This document has been produced based on our understanding of current pension rules and pension tax treatment. These do change from time to time.

The FCA think that keeping safeguarded benefits will be in the best interests of most consumers. Their current stance is that a transfer, conversion or opt-out will be unsuitable. When giving full advice, advisers should only consider a transfer, conversion or opt-out to be suitable if it can be clearly demonstrated, on contemporary evidence, that the transfer, conversion or opt-out is in the client’s best interest.