Transferring my LGPS pension to another scheme

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If you are joining another pension arrangement, you may wish to consider transferring your LGPS benefits to it. This may even be to an overseas pension scheme or arrangement that meets HM Revenue and Customs conditions. You cannot transfer your benefits (other than AVCs) if you leave less than one year before your Normal Pension Age. An option to transfer (other than in respect of AVCs) must be made at least 12 months before your Normal Pension Age.

Your new pension provider will require a transfer value quotation which the Avon Pension Fund will (other than in respect of AVCs) guarantee for a period of three months from the date of calculation (known as the ‘Guarantee Date’).

Your new pension provider can then advise you of the additional benefits the transfer will buy in their scheme.  A written option to proceed with the guaranteed transfer value must be received within the three month guaranteed period. If you opt to proceed, the normal time limit for payment of the guaranteed transfer value will be six months from the ‘Guarantee Date’. If payment is not made within this period the Fund will need to recalculate the value as at the actual date of payment and pay the recalculated value or, if it is greater, the original value plus interest.

If you are considering whether to transfer benefits, make sure you have full information about the two pension arrangements i.e. details of what your benefits are worth in the LGPS and details of what your benefits would be worth in the new pension scheme, if transferred.

When you compare your options, don’t forget that your LGPS benefits are guaranteed cost of living increases. Transfers to public sector schemes usually give benefits that are broadly equivalent to those in the LGPS, under what are known as Club transfer rules, provided you apply for the transfer within 12 months of joining your new pension scheme and have not had a break in membership of more than 5 years between leaving the LGPS and joining the new public service pension scheme. 

Get advice

Transferring your pension rights is not always an easy decision to make and you may wish to seek the help of an independent financial adviser before you make a decision to transfer your deferred benefits to a personal pension plan, stakeholder pension scheme, buy-out insurance policy or to an employer’s money purchase scheme. You should get advice as you will be bearing all of the investment risk which could significantly affect your future pension benefits.

If you are transferring from the LGPS to an arrangement which is termed as offering 'flexible benefits'
This refers to those benefits which are part of a defined contribution scheme which are flexible - then you must take appropriate independent financial advice before transferring. This is a legal requirement if the cash equivalent transfer value of all your benefits in the LGPS (excluding any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)) is more than £30,000. If it’s £30,000 or less, you are not legally required to take advice.

However, transferring your pension rights is not always an easy decision to make and seeking the help of an independent financial adviser before you make a decision to transfer your deferred benefits (to a personal pension plan, stakeholder pension scheme, buy-out insurance policy or an employer’s money purchase scheme) could help you in making an appropriate decision given your decision could significantly affect your future pension benefits.

If the cash equivalent transfer value of all your benefits in the LGPS (excluding any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)) is more than £30,000, the Fund will check that you have received appropriate independent financial advice before your transfer can proceed and relevant documentation to evidence this will be required. The Fund will provide you with more details if you request a transfer quotation.

If you are considering whether to transfer benefits, make sure you have full information about the two pension arrangements; details of what your benefits are worth in the LGPS and details of what your benefits would be worth in the new pension scheme, if transferred. When you compare your options, don’t forget that your LGPS benefits are guaranteed cost of living increases.

If a full transfer payment is made, you will not be entitled to any further benefits from the LGPS for yourself, your spouse, civil partner, eligible cohabiting partner or eligible children.

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