1 December 2023 

Pension Transfer Advice Cost & Fixed Fee Pension Transfer Advice in December 2023 

You may want to transfer your final salary or defined benefit pension for a variety of reasons. Although transferring can be financially beneficial, the process complicated. The transfer can be to another employer, or if done at retirement it could be to something like an income drawdown product.

So, the decision to transfer should not be made lightly especially in light of potential pension transfer advice fees.

This article outlines some things you should consider before making a pension transfer from a defined benefit pension scheme rather than a defined contribution scheme.

We also look at what you may be looking at when it comes to the final salary pension transfer advice cost.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

Fixed fee pension transfer advice

To help with your decision, it is a good idea to get financial advice from a pension transfer specialist. Whilst costs can seem expensive it can be possible to get low cost pension transfer advice or even fixed fee pension transfer advice.

You might need to speak to a regulated financial advisor:

  • If the scheme you want to transfer is a workplace defined benefit pension scheme and the value of your pension benefit is more than £30,000.
  • If this is the case, you legally have to take professional advice from a regulated financial adviser. This law is in place by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is there to make sure you make an informed decision.
  • If the value of your pension is less than £30,000, it is still a good idea to consider taking financial advice before moving your money. This is so you make absolutely sure you make the best decision for you.

Speaking to a regulated financial advisor ensures you are protected if things go wrong, as you’ll be able to use the available complaints and compensation schemes.

How much does pension transfer advice cost?

Advising on defined benefit pension schemes is a specialist area, whether that be taking early retirement, ill-health retirement or normal retirement. Advisers must meet the qualification requirements set by the FCA. This means support in this area may not be cheap. Such charges vary, depending on factors like:

  • An adviser’s experience
  • The services offered by the adviser
  • The adviser’s cost base
  • The value of your pension

Although the cheapest pension transfer advice cost can differ, as a ballpark:

  • The average charge is 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the transfer value. So if your pension was valued at £140,000, you could expect to pay between £2,800 and £4,200
  • The Independent Advisor Organisation concludes that on average, you can expect to pay £3,800 

Final salary pension transfer advice cost – What to consider

Given the cost of pension transfer advice, it is worth exploring these low cost pension transfer advice possibilities before contacting a private adviser:

How to Choose the Right Pension Transfer Specialist

To successfully navigate the complex world of pension transfers, hiring a qualified pension transfer specialist is vital. Especially one that specialises in defined benefit schemes.

Look for consultants with knowledge of defined benefit schemes, final salary pensions, and the transfer process.

A professional who adheres to the Personal Finance Society’s Pension Transfer Gold Standard, a voluntary code of conduct, can provide additional assurance.

Ensure that they provide tailored advice and can help you understand the potential impact of pension transfers on your retirement income, tax situation, and any protected benefits.

What to expect from a financial adviser

As well as informing you on the pros and cons of transferring your pension, you can expect your adviser to:

  • Ask about your finances and personal circumstances. This is so they can assess how to proceed in a way that is best suited for you. The more information you have prepared when you meet an adviser, the more you will benefit. This includes clear details on the worth of your pension and other income
  • Check the difference between defined benefit and defined contribution arrangements
  • Give you a summary of the pros and cons of their approach
  • Ask if you’ve discussed your decision with your spouse or partner as your choice is likely to affect them too
  • Compare the benefits of transferring your pension and decide the best way forward
  • If you are transferring to a SIPP, your adviser will assess your options and create a portfolio for you. You can then decide whether to manage that portfolio yourself or pay an ongoing charge for an adviser to manage it

Click here to see the video on youtube.

Can you transfer your pension to a SIPP?

A SIPP is a self-invested personal pension. It offers more freedom of investment than you would have from a traditional personal pension provider. Most schemes will allow you to transfer to SIPP, but:

  • If you’re in an ‘unfunded’ public sector pension scheme, you will not be able to transfer your pension
  • Unfunded public sector schemes include the Teacher’s scheme and the NHS scheme

You are eligible to transfers if:

  • You’re in a private sector defined benefit pension scheme
  • You’re in a funded public sector pension scheme like the local government pension

Transfer value

If you decide to transfer, it is important to understand your transfer value. This is to make sure you’re getting a good deal:

  • Your transfer value is the cash sum equivalent of the benefits you’ve accrued
  • A defined benefit transfer value is the sum of money your employer will offer if you leave the pension scheme, and give up your right to any future income from the plan

Cash equivalent transfer value

Before transferring, you must apply for a cash equivalent transfer value statement or a CETV. The CETV will:

  • Show your pension at the date of leaving the scheme
  • The way that the pension will increase in value until the point of your retirement
  • The transfer cash value available to you

It is an important piece of information:

  • You need it so you can compare your transfer value with your final salary pension transfer value. It is legally required that you get one before making a transfer.
  • If you are in a funded Final Salary Pension Scheme, you have the right to a CETV statement
  • Your scheme must provide this within 3 months of any request
  • However, you do not have a legal right to a CETV in the 12-month period before retirement

CETV Calculators

It is also possible to calculate your CETV yourself. This way you can get a rough estimate of the possible benefits of transferring. You can use online calculators such as to help you estimate your transfer value.

These calculators provide a realistic estimate, but they should not be used as a replacement for professional help.

What are the pension transfer rules?

Most pension plans will allow you to transfer your pension to another pension scheme:

  1. A new employer’s workplace pension scheme
  2. A personal pension scheme
  3. A self-invested personal pension (SIPP)
  4. A stakeholder pension or personal pension 

You can generally transfer at any time up to a year before you are due to start drawing retirement benefits. However:

  • Transferring your pension pot anywhere else could be an ‘unauthorised payment’, and you may have to pay tax on the transfer
  • You should always check the amount of fees charged for the transfer and check that these do not cancel out the benefits of transferring
  • By transferring, you may lose benefits that can only be provided by the original scheme such as guaranteed income or life cover
  • Transfers from unfunded public sector plans to defined contribution schemes are not permitted

The process is complicated and governed by strict rules designed to protect you. So, it is a good idea to seek advice from a regulated financial adviser.

The Impact of Market Conditions on Pension Transfers

Market conditions can significantly impact the value of your pension fund and the success of a pension transfer.

For instance, fluctuations in investment performance may impact a pension with a defined contribution. In contrast, changes in interest rates can impact the transfer value of a pension with a defined benefit.

To minimise potential losses and maximise benefits, it is essential to consider market conditions and seek professional financial advice when planning a pension transfer.

Tax Implications of Pension Transfers

Transferring your pension may have tax ramifications, such as affecting the amount of tax-free cash available upon retirement, modifying your income tax liability, or influencing your national insurance contributions.

Discussing these potential ramifications with a qualified pension transfer specialist and comprehending how the full defined benefit pension transfer may affect your tax and overall financial situation is imperative.

Pension Transfer Case Studies: Real-life Examples

Assessing case studies and real-world examples of pension transfers can provide invaluable insight into the decision-making process and its outcomes.

When evaluating pension transfer options, it is essential to consider scheme rules, retirement age, life expectancy, and financial circumstances.

Studying various cases can also help you comprehend the significance of consulting a qualified pension transfer specialist and the potential repercussions of failing to do so, such as falling victim to pension scams or making ill-informed decisions.

What is defined benefit pension transfer advice?

Defined benefit pension transfer advice is obtaining professional guidance on whether or not to transfer a defined benefit (DB) pension, usually to a defined contribution (DC) pension.

Employers typically offer DB pension plans, which provide a lifetime income based on a formula that considers factors such as length of service and final salary.

In contrast, DC pension schemes are based on the amount of money you contribute, and your retirement income depends on the scheme’s investment performance.

Transferring from a DB to a DC plan can be difficult because it requires giving up the DB plan’s lifetime income guarantee.

However, there are circumstances in which a transfer may be advantageous, such as if you have a shorter life expectancy, desire flexible access to your pension savings, or are concerned about the long-term viability of the defined benefit (DB) plan.

To make an informed decision about whether or not to transfer a defined benefit pension, it is advisable to seek professional defined benefit pension transfer advice from a qualified, regulated financial advisor.

The advisor will evaluate your unique circumstances, including your retirement objectives, financial situation, and risk tolerance, and recommend whether or not to transfer.

Pension transfer charges

There may be fees associated with transferring your pension from one scheme to another. These fees can vary depending on the type of pension scheme you are transferring from and to, the amount being transferred, and the provider you are using to facilitate the transfer.

Sometimes, the pension provider you are transferring from may charge exit fees. These fees can range from a small proportion of the transfer value to a few thousand pounds. Before initiating a transfer, you must inquire with your current provider about any possible fees.

You may incur additional charges from the provider you are transferring to, such as setup or ongoing management fees. These fees may also vary based on the provider and type of plan to which you are transferring.

Finally, if you seek professional pension transfer advice, the adviser may charge you an advisory fee. This fee can range from a flat rate to a percentage of the transferred pension’s value.

To ensure that a pension transfer is cost-effective and in line with your retirement goals, it is essential to examine all potential charges associated with a pension transfer before making a final decision.

How to find an independent financial advisor for a pension transfer?

Finding an independent financial adviser (IFA) for a pension transfer can be a daunting task, but there are a few steps you can take to help you find a qualified and trustworthy adviser:

1 – Look for a regulated adviser

Make sure the adviser you choose is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check the FCA’s register to confirm that the adviser can provide pension transfer advice.

2 – Look for a specialist pension transfer adviser

Consider looking for an adviser who specialises in pension transfers and has the appropriate qualifications, such as the Pension Transfer Gold Standard or the Chartered Financial Planner designation.

3 – Get recommendations

Ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations for advisers they have worked with and had a positive experience with. You can also search online for reviews and testimonials.

4 – Check for transparency

Look for a transparent adviser about their fees, qualifications, and experience. Ensure you understand the costs associated with the advice and any ongoing fees for management.

5 – Interview potential advisers

Before committing to an adviser, schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation and determine whether the adviser fits your needs. You can ask about their qualifications, experience, fees, and approach to pension transfer advice.

Remember, the decision to transfer your pension is important, and it is important to seek professional advice from a qualified and regulated adviser. Do your research and find an adviser you feel comfortable working with and who has your best interests in mind.

Common Misconceptions about Pension Transfers

There are numerous misunderstandings regarding pension transfers, such as the notion that transferring will always result in a higher or lower retirement income.

The reality is that each circumstance is unique, and a successful transfer depends on the specifics of each case, the scheme’s rules, and market conditions. Some individuals might erroneously believe transferring a defined benefit scheme pension is always in their best interests.

It is important to weigh the guaranteed benefits of a defined benefit plan against the potential benefits of a transfer.

Moreover, many individuals may need to be made aware of the significance of seeking regulated financial advice to make well-informed decisions based on their financial circumstances and objectives.

Can I transfer a pension from a previous employer?

Moving a pension from an old employer at any time is possible. The more pensions you have, the more it might be advisable to move them into one so you avoid losing any.

If you think you might have already lost track of a pension, you can use the government’s Pension Tracing service to find it. 

Pension Scams

If someone contacts you unexpectedly and says they can help you to transfer your pension it is likely to be a scam. Pension scams are on the increase so we encourage you to be vigilant.

You can read more about how to spot a pension scam at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-spot-a-pension-scam

Understanding the Types of Pension Schemes

In general, pension plans fall into two categories: defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. Defined benefit pensions, also known as final salary pensions, provide a fixed income in retirement based on salary and years of service.

In most defined benefit pensions, the employer guarantees the retirement income, reducing the employee’s investment risk.

In contrast, defined contribution pensions are based on the performance of the investments made with the pension contributions.

In these plans, the investment risk is borne by the individual. Understanding the characteristics and distinctions between these pension plans is crucial when considering pension transfers.

The Importance of Timing in Pension Transfers

The timing of pension transfers significantly impacts the value of your pension fund and the benefits you receive.

Transferring your defined benefit pension too early or too late may result in unfavourable terms, reduced pension benefits, and potential tax consequences.

Market conditions, financial situation, retirement objectives, and life expectancy should all be considered when determining the optimal time for a pension transfer.

Key Factors to Consider Before Transferring Your Pension

Several factors must be considered before transfer your defined benefit or defined contribution pension.

These consist of the pension benefits offered by your current plan, including guaranteed minimum pensions, death benefits, and protected benefits.

Consider the investment risk associated with the new pension fund, any enhanced transfer value offered, and the tax implications of the transfer, including income tax and tax-free cash access.

Obtaining regulated financial advice guarantees that you make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances and protects you from potential pension scams.

The Future of Pension Transfers and Regulatory Changes

Due to regulatory changes and market dynamics, the landscape of pension transfers is continuously in flux.

It is essential to remain informed of these changes to make informed decisions. For example, future legislation may impact the advice process, the operating costs of pension schemes, or the tax treatment of pension transfers.

Keeping abreast of these changes and obtaining professional financial advice can assist you in navigating this complex environment more effectively.

Pension Transfers for Expats and Cross-border Considerations

Expats and individuals with cross-border pension considerations face unique obstacles when transferring their pensions.

Different tax regulations, currency fluctuations, and the interaction between domestic and foreign pension schemes can affect the transfer procedure and results.

It is essential for expats to consult with financial advisers with experience in cross-border pension transfers, to comprehend the scheme administrator’s requirements, and to evaluate the impact on their retirement income, tax liabilities, and protected benefits.

Consider the potential impact of transferring your defined benefit or final salary scheme on your retirement income, lump sum, and civil partner’s or spouse’s benefits. When making these decisions, it is essential to consider individual circumstances, such as current scheme benefits, death benefits, and guaranteed annuity rates.

In addition guaranteed income, life expectancy, retirement income, and the amount of money left for heirs must be considered when determining whether a pension transfer is appropriate.

Free and impartial pension advice

You can also get free and impartial information about moving your pension from:

Finding the right financial adviser

If you do decide to seek private financial help, you must find the best financial adviser for you. Before appointing an adviser, you should:

  • Check the adviser is authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority (FCA). Pension help is a specialised area. You should only take advice from someone with the qualifications specified by FCA.

Meet the author

Rob Atherton

Rob Atherton

Rob writes and edits the content produced by the rest of the team. He has a degree in History from Leeds University and has producing, reviewing and editing the site since 2016. He also investigated the range of low cost pension transfer advice available.

Meet The Team

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pension transfer, and when is it advisable to transfer my pension?

A pension transfer is the movement of funds from one pension plan to another. If you want to consolidate your pensions or believe the new pension scheme will provide you with better investment options, lower fees, or other benefits, you may want to consider a pension transfer. However, transferring your pension is a significant decision that depends on factors such as age, retirement objectives, and financial situation. Before making a decision, seeking professional pension transfer advice is advisable.

What qualifications should a pension transfer adviser have?

A pension transfer consultant must be governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and hold a valid pension transfer specialist certification. The adviser should also have extensive experience with pension transfers and demonstrate that they have successfully advised other clients on pension transfers.

How much will pension transfer advice cost me?

Depending on the complexity of your situation and the amount of work involved, the cost of pension transfer advice will vary. The initial fee charged by the advisor for the evaluation and recommendation can range from several hundred to several thousand pounds. Some advisors may also charge a recurring fee, typically a percentage of the pension funds they manage.

What are the risks of transferring my pension?

Several risks are associated with transferring your pension, including the loss of any guarantees or benefits provided by the original pension scheme, such as a guaranteed income for life or death benefits. Moreover, you may lose some or all of your pension savings if you transfer your pension to a poorly managed scheme or invest in high-risk assets. To make an informed decision, it is essential to comprehend the risks and benefits of a pension transfer and to seek professional advice.

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