Combining your pensions

Bringing your old pensions together into one pot could help make it easier to plan for your retirement.

 

Benefits of combining your pensions

Changing jobs several times in your life may mean you have one or more pensions you no longer pay into. This could make it harder to know what you’ve invested, leaving you unsure about your retirement or what you should do next.

By bringing your old pensions together into one place, this could make it easier to manage and save for the future.

  • Easier to manage – With fewer pensions, it’s easier to top up and access your money, helping you keep track of your retirement savings.
  • Less admin – There’s less paperwork to worry about, and fewer pension providers to talk to when you need help.
  • A clearer outlook – Get a better picture of your retirement savings today, making it easier for you to access your money when the time is right.
  • One pension provider – Dealing with one provider rather than many could make things easier when you come to access your pension.

Why transfer into our Ready-Made Pension?

With us serving millions of customers across the UK, we want to make saving for the future as easy as possible. With our Ready-Made Pension, you can build towards your retirement and track your pension performance alongside your other accounts with us. Here are some of the ways our Ready-Made Pension can help make it easier for you to save for the future.

All in one place

Bring all your pensions together alongside your everyday banking and monitor them anytime and anywhere using the Mobile Banking app. Easily contribute, manage, and access your pension when it’s the right time to retire.

Managed by experts

Our funds are ready-made and managed for you by our partners, Scottish Widows. We do all the hard work, so that you don’t have to. We look after your investment, working to help reduce the risk to your pension as you approach retirement.

Transfer to us for free

We give you the flexibility to transfer in more pensions whenever you like. You don’t need to open with a pension transfer – you can do this at any time. Your current provider may charge you to transfer to us, but we won’t.

How to transfer your pensions to us

Find your pension details

This includes provider names, policy numbers, and recent pension values. This information can be found on your annual benefit statements or on an online portal, if available. You can also contact your past employers, or use the Pension Tracing Service.

Start your application

Once you’ve decided transferring is right for you, make sure you have your existing pension details to hand to apply online. We’ll contact you if we have any questions about your application.

Leave it to us

We’ll then process your application and start combining your old pensions. You can check the progress through Online Banking or your Mobile Banking app and see when your transfer is complete.

 

Struggling to find your lost pensions?

It’s estimated there’s over £26 billion in lost or forgotten pension pots*.

If you can’t find your old pensions, you could miss out on money you’ve already saved towards your retirement.

Speak with your old employers or pension providers for help in tracing your old pensions.

You can also go to The Pension Tracing Service, which is operated by the Department for Work and Pensions.

*Source – National Pension Tracing Day

Pensions are a long-term investment. The benefits you receive from your pension account will depend on a number of factors. This includes the value of your account, as this can go down as well as up and could fall below the amount(s) paid in.

Things to consider before you transfer

While there are benefits to combining your pensions, there are some things you may want to understand before continuing.

Here are some examples of the types of pensions you can’t transfer:

Things to consider before you transfer

While there are benefits to combining your pensions, there are some things you may want to understand before continuing.

Here are some examples of the types of pensions you can’t transfer:

Partial transfers or active pensions

  • You only want to transfer part of your pension (a partial transfer).
  • You want to transfer a pension that’s with an overseas provider.
  • An employer or someone other than you is currently paying into the pension you want to transfer.

Pensions with benefits

  • The pension is with a final salary (defined benefits) scheme.
  • You have safeguarded benefits within your existing pension – this may be a Guaranteed Annuity Rate (GAR), Guaranteed Conversion Option (GCO), Section 9(2B) rights, or a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP).
  • You have other valuable features within your existing pension you don’t want to lose.

Other things to consider

  • You’re taking an income, or you’ve taken a tax-free lump sum, from the existing pension.
  • The pension is subject to a bankruptcy order, or pension earmarking or sharing order, or other receiving orders.
  • Your pension has been set up using ‘disqualifying’ pension credits from a pension sharing order (a pension sharing order has been applied to a pension already in payment or income drawdown).

If any of these apply to you, please speak with your current provider.

If you're still unsure, we recommend you speak to a financial adviser. There will normally be a charge for advice.

  • Some older pensions have safeguarded benefits or guarantees that you would lose if you transferred. With that in mind, we can’t accept pensions with:

    • A Guaranteed Annuity Rate: in most cases, this means you’d get a higher income for life at retirement than you’d receive at today’s annuity rates.
    • Guaranteed Conversion Option: this allows you to convert your pension into a fund, which gives you access to a wider, more flexible range of benefit options. At today’s rates, it’s unlikely that this fund will be worth as much as your original pension.
    • Section 9(2B) rights: these would provide you with an income that’s based on your earnings at the time the pension was set up.
    • Guaranteed Minimum Pension: some older pensions set up by an employer might offer this benefit. You’d receive this if your employer’s scheme was contracted out of part of the State Pension. To find out more details, contact your scheme administrator.
  • It’s important to review the benefits and features you have with your current pensions, and how valuable they are to you. Bear in mind that you’d give these benefits up when you transfer. If you’re unsure of anything, please check with the providers of the pensions you are looking to transfer.

    The types of features to look out for include:

    • Protected tax-free lump sum – this gives you the right to take more than 25% of the value of your pension as a tax-free lump sum, from the age of 55 (this will rise to 57 in 2028).
    • Protected pension age – this gives you the right to access your pension benefits before the Normal Minimum Pension Age (NMPA) of 55 (this will rise to 57 in 2028).
    • Life insurance, Critical illness or Waiver of premium cover – these are benefits you would give up when you transfer as they aren’t a feature of the Ready-Made Pension account.
    • Pensions invested in a With-Profits fund – this could reduce your share of profits if you transfer out before a certain date.
  • Make sure to compare your current fees and charges with those for our Ready-Made Pension. You can find the information you need by checking your policy documents or through your online portal if available. You can also speak to your existing provider.

    Although we don’t charge for transferring your pension to us, your existing provider might charge you for transferring out.

    If you’re not sure, you can ask a financial adviser, who may charge for any advice.

More on our Ready-Made Pension

Whatever retirement looks like for you, take control of your future with our Ready-Made Pension. Find out the different ways to contribute, how much it costs, and how our experts invest your pension – giving it the best chance of growth.

And when the time is right, we’ll help guide you in deciding how you’d like to access your pension savings with us at retirement.

Ready to apply and transfer?

Before you start

Please make sure:

  • you open your Ready-Made Pension with at least one of the following:

    •  one or more pension transfers (with a total combined value of at least £10,000)
    •  a lump sum of £5,000 (inclusive of tax relief)
    •  regular monthly payments of £150 (inclusive of tax relief)
  • you’re a UK taxpayer, you’re not a US person, and you’re under 74 years old
  • you’re transferring pensions that are with a UK-based provider
  • you haven’t taken an income or a tax-free lump sum from the pensions you’re transferring
  • your pension doesn’t have any features or guarantees you wouldn’t want to lose if transferring (see our FAQs).

Apply now

To start your application, you'll need the following:

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • If transferring, the provider name, policy number, and the type and value of each pension.

Signpost logo   •  Sign in to your account
   •  Find the Wealth and Retirement section on the left menu
   •  Select the Ready-Made Pension page

You must be an existing customer to open an account. Please check your personal details are up to date before continuing. If you don't already use Online Banking, it's easy to register.

Sign in and apply

Apply now

To start your application, you'll need the following:

  • Your National Insurance number.
  • If transferring, the provider name, policy number, and the type and value of each pension.

Signpost logo   •  We recommend you use the Mobile Banking app to apply
   •  Sign in and search 'Ready-Made Pension'

You must be an existing customer to open an account. Please check your personal details are up to date before continuing. If you don't already use Online Banking, it's easy to register.

To apply through browser, please use Online Banking.
 

Sign in and apply

Frequently asked questions

  • This is where you move all your old pensions into one single pot. Transfer, combine, consolidate – they all mean the same thing.

  • No, when or how many of your old pensions you transfer is entirely up to you, as long as the total initial value is over £10,000. Remember, you can transfer more pensions to us at any time in the future as your employment changes.

  • Please note that you can’t transfer every type of pension.

    We can’t accept:

    Pensions with guarantees

    This is a pension with a Guaranteed Annuity Rate. It means you could get a higher income than you’d get at today’s rates when you retire.

    Or

    Guaranteed Minimum Pension or Section 9(2B) rights

    These may provide you with a guaranteed income when you retire. You’re not likely to match this amount when transferring. Please check with your current provider, as they should have more details on this.

    Or

    Guaranteed Conversion Option:

    This allows you to convert your pension into a fund, which gives you access to a wider, more flexible range of benefit options. At today’s rates, it’s unlikely that this fund will be worth as much as your original pension.

    Pensions with defined benefits

    Also known as final salary benefits, this is where you receive guaranteed pension income based on your salary, rather than how much you’ve paid in. Your current provider should have more details on this.

    Workplace pension

    A pension that you and an employer still pay into.

    Other reasons you can’t transfer

    Your pension may be with a provider outside of the UK. It could be subject to a pension sharing or earmarking order following a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership. Or it has been, or will be, set up using disqualifying pension credits. This is when the pension sharing order is applied to a pension already in payment or income drawdown.

    • You may lose out on special features that might be valuable to you upon transferring. These may include a protected tax-free lump sum, a protected pension age, life insurance, or critical illness cover. Check if you have any special features with your current provider before you transfer.
    • Exit and transfer fees may apply with your existing pension provider.
    • Costs vary between pension providers so it’s important to familiarise yourself with these differences. Your current pension provider may charge you for other services.
    • If you’ve started to take money out of your existing pensions, the amount you can pay into a new pension and still get tax relief on may reduce significantly. This limit, known as the ‘Money Purchase Annual Allowance’, is currently £10,000 a year.

    If you have any doubts about transferring your pensions, you could seek advice from a suitably qualified professional adviser. There will normally be a charge for that advice. Unbiased will let you find a local adviser based on your requirements.

    You can also get free and impartial guidance from the government’s Pension Wise service, which is provided by Money Helper.

  • To see what you may get back from your pension, we’ll provide an example illustration when you apply. These figures are only examples and aren’t guaranteed – they’re not minimum or maximum amounts.

    We’ll send you a personalised illustration when your Ready-Made Pension is set up.

    Use our pension calculator as a guide to see what your retirement income could be. You can also see how making changes to your contributions could make a difference to your overall pension pot.

  • Typically, this takes a few weeks. This can depend on the type of pensions you're transferring and whether we have all the correct details. It can also be based on how quickly your current provider responds to our requests.

    However, we’ll keep in touch with you along the way, and will contact you about your application if:

    • There’s information missing from your application or if there’s something we need to check.
    • Your pension was set up by your employer, which might be managed by trustees. If so, you’ll need to get permission from these trustees before you transfer to us.

    Ensuring your personal and contact information is up-to-date and accurate is important and will help reduce unnecessary delays.

  • Our Ready-Made Pension charges are clear and transparent, helping you understand what you expect to pay.

    We won’t charge you to transfer your pension to us, but your current providers may. Please check with them before you transfer.

    You can view a breakdown of the Fees and Charges page, including an example of how it works.

  • One of the benefits of investing into a pension is tax relief. If the basic rate of tax is 20%, for every £80 you pay in, the government will top this up with an extra £20.

    If you’ve told us you’re eligible, we’ll add basic rate tax relief automatically to any regular or one-off contributions you make into your Ready-Made Pension. If you’re a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim additional tax relief through your self-assessment tax return.

    How much you can pay in without a tax charge will depend on your circumstances.

    • You can normally pay up to £60,000 (the annual allowance) into your pensions each tax year without paying a tax charge (or up to 100% of your taxable yearly income if less).
    • If you’re not working and don’t have any income, you can still pay in £3,600 each tax year (you pay in £2,880, with £720 tax relief).
    • If you’re a high earner, a lower limit could apply known as Tapered Annual Allowance. See further information at www.gov.uk.
    • If you’ve taken out a taxable cash sum or flexible income, the amount you can contribute without paying a tax charge is limited to £10,000 (the Money Purchase Annual Allowance).

    Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances. Your circumstances and tax rules may change in the future.

  • If you would like financial advice, you could speak to an Independent Financial Adviser. Unbiased and Vouchedfor will let you find a local adviser based on your requirements. There will be a charge for this service.

    You get free help and guidance through Pension Wise. If you’re over 50, you’ll also benefit from a free 60-minute appointment.

    Alternatively, our partners Schroders Personal Wealth could also help. They provide personalised advice on a range of different products and services. It all starts with a free, no obligation chat, then a financial plan that’s tailored to you. To be eligible, you’ll have at least £100,000 in sole or joint savings, investments or personal pensions, or sole income of at least £100,000. Fees and charges may apply.

Got an existing Ready-Made Pension?

Top up your account with a one-off or lump-sum payment, set up a Direct Debit, or transfer in another pension.
 

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Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Bank of Scotland plc, Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh, EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.

Eligible investments with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). For further information about the compensation provided by the FSCS, refer to the FSCS website at www.fscs.org.uk/. You can also visit our Financial Services Compensation Scheme page for more details.