Transferring my pension
What to do if you're thinking about transferring your pension out of the Scheme.
Reasons for transferring could include:
Whatever your reason, there is a lot to think about before deciding to transfer out of the Scheme. Please read all of the information on this page carefully and make sure you have everything you need to make an informed decision.
If you're paying into the Scheme, you may be able to transfer your pension in from other approved schemes, if your section of the Scheme allows transfers in. Similarly, if you have previously built up a pension in one section of the Scheme and are now a member of a different section, you may be able to transfer your pension from your previous section into your current one.
The main benefit of your DB pension is that it will pay you a regular income until you die, no matter how long you live. It may also pay a regular income to a surviving spouse or dependant after your death.
You could lose these benefits by transferring your pension out of the Scheme.
When choosing a new pension/scheme provider it’s important you understand exactly what the transfer will provide, including how your money will be invested, what benefits you’ll get in comparison to the RPS and any costs or fees involved.
If you decide that transferring to a DC arrangement is right for you and you are interested in drawdown, the Trustee of the RPS has appointed Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) to offer members access to a drawdown facility. You can also choose a different drawdown provider if you prefer.
Pension transfers are one of the main routes being used by pension scammers.
Their tactics include:
If you fall prey to these fraudsters, you could lose your entire pension savings and be asked to pay a large tax bill too.
The impact of Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
If you have Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), you may have to transfer them at the same time as your DB pension. This will depend on the rules for your specific Section. You can find your Section rules in your myRPS account.
The Scheme offers two AVC arrangements: BRASS and AVC Extra. However, AVC Extra is not available to members of the Network Rail Section. Visit the saving more area of the website for further information about BRASS and AVC Extra.
You can also transfer AVCs without transferring your DB benefits, as long as it’s in line with the rules for your specific RPS Section. If you want to transfer BRASS and AVC Extra separately, please see the separate Read as you Need guides to BRASS and AVC Extra.
Transferring from DB to defined contribution (DC)
If you transfer from a DB scheme to a defined contribution (DC) arrangement:
Because of these added risks and potential outcomes, you may be legally required to get independent financial advice if you are transferring from a DB to a DC arrangement. See the relevant details below.
It’s also important that you understand all of the options available to you, and the possible implications, before you proceed. Please check the Read as You Need guides listed below.
Watch this short video to learn more about why switching to a DC pension might not offer you the best retirement outcome.
If you decide to go ahead with a transfer, you will need to get in touch with the Scheme administrator,
Railpen will provide you with a transfer quote. You can get 1 free transfer quote in a 12 month period, anything more than that and you will be charged. Your transfer quote is only valid for 3 months so it’s important that you return all of the necessary paperwork within that timeframe.
Railpen will ask you to send documents or evidence about the scheme you want to transfer to. This is in line with regulations introduced by the government in November 2021, to help protect members where risks of possible scams are identified. Your transfer will not be refused on the basis it might not be in your best interest. However, Trustees can refuse transfers where there's a greater risk it may be part of a scam.Railpen may also refer you to the government approved advice service, MoneyHelper for guidance on your transfer.
You will only be able to transfer if you have already stopped paying into your DB pension, i.e. are a preserved member. Please speak to your employer directly if you want to stop paying in.
Railpen will do their best to complete your transfer as quickly as possible, but it may take up to 6 months for the money to be paid out. This is in line with regulations introduced by the government in November 2021, which aim to help protect you from unsuitable or insecure transfers. It gives Railpen time to carry out the necessary security checks and help protect your savings from scammers.
Once complete, a transfer is permanent and cannot normally be reversed at a later date, so please think carefully before going ahead.
It’s strongly recommended that you take financial advice if you want to transfer your pension.
In some situations, the law states you must take financial advice before your transfer can proceed. Check the Read as You Need guide to transfer options for details on when financial advice might be legally required.
If you’re aged 50 or over and have a DC pension pot such as BRASS and AVC Extra you can book a Pension Wise appointment for guidance on your options. Learn more about Pension Wise on the MoneyHelper website.