Transferring your pension

Whether you're thinking about transferring pension benefits in or out of the Scheme, it is strongly recommended that you take independent financial advice first.

 

Transfers into the Scheme

If you are contributing to the Scheme, you may be able to transfer benefits in from other approved pension schemes, however this is not allowed by many sections.

To find out if you can transfer in please check your 'Member Guide', which is available in 'My Library' when you  log into your myRPS account.

If it is allowed according to your section, you can get complete a Transfer-in form here.

 

Transferring your pension out

If you are still saving into your pension or you have preserved benefits then you can transfer your benefits out of the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) to another scheme or provider if you wish.

You can transfer your defined benefit pension to a different defined benefit (DB) or defined contribution (DC) arrangement with another provider within the UK or overseas (a QROPS), or your Industry-Wide Defined Contribution (IWDC) benefits to another DC arrangement.

For instance, you may have changed employer or moved overseas and want to consolidate all of your pension savings in one place, or you may have opened a private pension.

You can choose to transfer all of your benefits or just any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), as long as it’s in line with the rules for your specific RPS section. You can find your Section’s rules on the website once you’ve logged in to your myRPS account.

Either way there’s a lot to think about. And from 30 November 2021, regulations were introduced which you need to be aware of if you’re considering transferring.

Before you make a decision

If you are considering transferring your benefits out of the Scheme, you should make sure you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.

You can request an estimate of your transfer value by logging in to your myRPS account. If you don’t have an account, you can register quickly and easily now.   

You can request as many of these online estimates as you need to on the website, completely free. You may however need a guaranteed estimate at a later point. You can request this from our Helpline on 0800 0121117 or by emailing csu@railpen.com. You are eligible for one free guaranteed estimate per year. If you get financial advice, it is highly likely your adviser will need a guaranteed estimate.

It is really important that you understand your transfer value before you make a decision. The transfer value could provide less than if you left your benefits in the Railways Pension Scheme.

Transferring your pension carries significant risks. You should carefully compare the benefits of your current pension with any alternatives before making a decision.

You may want to get some financial advice to help you make a decision. You might also have to do this by law if the value of your DB benefits is more than £30,000 and you are looking to transfer to a Defined Contribution/Personal Pension Arrangement. You can find out more information about help and advice here.

You should also check that:

  • the scheme you want to transfer your benefits to accepts transfers in
  • you are comfortable that your proposed new scheme is safe, and you haven’t received unsolicited contact (e.g. cold-callers) encouraging you to transfer
  • you understand what your new scheme provides, what it costs and how your fund will be invested
  • you understand where to get help and support if you need it
  • you are aware of the risk of pension scams

Protecting you from unsafe transfers

There are regulations to protect members from scams and transferring out of a scheme when it may not be the best thing for them.

The regulations mean your current scheme provider, Railpen, needs to carry out certain checks. The regulations say that a transfer can only be made if it meets certain conditions and there are no ‘red’ or ‘amber’ flags that haven’t been addressed. Depending on the category of the scheme you want to transfer to, you may need to provide some additional information and evidence that it meets certain conditions.

Transfers to a public sector, master trust or Collective Defined Contribution scheme

If the scheme (or provider) you want to transfer to is either:

  • a public sector pension scheme (for example the NHS or Civil Service Pension Scheme)
  • an authorised master trust
  • a Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) scheme

then we are able to process your transfer out, as long as you have taken the relevant advice and are comfortable it is the right option for you. We have a list of all schemes and providers which meet this criteria and will do this check for you once you’ve made a transfer request.

Transfers to an occupational pension scheme

If your transfer is to an occupational pension, then we will need evidence of an employment link. Certified copies of evidence will be accepted.

An occupational pension is a pension scheme provided by your employer. 

We need the following evidence:

  • A letter from your employer confirming:
    • the date your employment began
    • that they are the sponsoring employer of the scheme you’re transferring into and
    • when contributions have been paid (including dates)
  • A schedule of contributions or payment schedule for last 3 months showing employer and employee contributions
  • Payslips for 3 months or other evidence confirming that your salary (including bonus, commissions etc) is above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance.
  • Copies of your bank or building society statements or passbook detailing your salary deposit for the last 3 months. 

Transfers to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)

If your proposed transfer is overseas to a scheme known as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), then we will need evidence of an employment link or residency link to the country you’re transferring to. We also need evidence that you are a tax resident in same country as the scheme you are transferring to.

If you do not have an employment link to the QROPS, you will need to provide:

  • Formal residency documentation (a proof of residence is a document confirming where you live, and must have both your full name and your address printed on it).

and at least 2 of the following items. We need these to make sure you have been a tax resident for at least 6 consecutive months before we received your request to transfer.  

  • Utility bill
  • TV subscription
  • Insurance documents
  • Driving licence
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Evidence of local tax being paid
  • Registration of address with local GP

 If you are not sure what a QROPS is, you can find more information here.

What happens after we receive your documents?

Depending on the nature of the scheme you are transferring to and/or the information provided, we may be required to refer you to MoneyHelper for scams guidance.

If you are transferring to an occupational scheme or overseas scheme and do not to provide any evidence at all, it is highly likely we will refuse your transfer. If you provide insufficient evidence, it is highly likely you will be referred to MoneyHelper for further support.

If the scheme you want to transfer to is not an occupational scheme, we will perform several checks on the information you have provided. If there is insufficient evidence to meet the conditions to transfer then we will be unable to proceed with your transfer application and will refuse the transfer. That may include instances where you have been given advice by someone who does not have appropriate permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or if you asked for the transfer after unsolicited contact.

The regulations might seem strict, but they are there to protect you from scams and arrangements that may not be in your best interests. In 2020, the Pensions Regulator reported circa that £30m in pension benefits had been lost to scammers in just 3 years.

What is MoneyHelper?

Money Helper is a government-approved advice service, providing impartial advice on money and pensions. MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.

In some circumstances, you may need to speak to MoneyHelper before a transfer can go ahead. You can find out more information here or contact MoneyHelper on 0800 011 3797.

How to make a transfer

Before you submit a request to transfer, we highly recommend you get an online estimate, and seek financial advice if you need it.

If you still want to make a transfer, you will need to email us at csu@railpen.com or call us on 0800 012 1117.

Step 1 – Once you have made a transfer request by phone or email, we will create a case and issue a quote pack to you within 1 month of receiving your request.

Step 2 – Your quote pack will contain a lot of information, and there will be a lot to fill in. You can find copies of the forms on the  Forms pages.

You will receive: 

  • Your transfer out quote. This will explain your transfer value. You will need to think about whether the transfer is still the right thing for you.
  • A booklet called ‘How to spot a scam’ issued by The Pensions Regulator (TPR). This tells you more about the warning signs of scams so please make sure you read it.
  • A pension scam questionnaire. You need to complete this fully and return it to us. You can find guidance on how to complete it here.
  • A transfer application form – the pack will contain different versions of the application form depending on whether you are transferring to a UK or overseas scheme. Make sure you complete the right one for your circumstances.
  • An indemnity form for you to complete along with one for the scheme you want to transfer to to fill out. 

Step 3 – Once we receive all of the documents from you, we will assess your request and the information provided in line with the regulations. If the information provided indicates that the scheme meets one of the two conditions, we will process the transfer and arrange payment. 

Step 4 – If needed, we will contact you to request further evidence. Once we receive this, we will either process the transfer, request more evidence, refer you to MoneyHelper or refuse the transfer.

All requests will be assessed impartially in line with the regulations. If we believe the transfer request does not satisfy the regulations, we will not action it and will inform you.

Getting help and advice

You can find out more information about help and advice here.

The Scheme’s administrator, Railpen, has appointed Liverpool Victoria (LV) to provide advice to all RPS members. LV has a dedicated RPS team and can be contacted now on 0800 023 4187.

You are still free to choose your own Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) if you’re prefer. You can find an IFA in your area at unbiased.co.uk.

Pension scams

Pension scams are a big threat. They are present in the UK and overseas and scammers are always looking at new ways to target you, so always be on your guard.

If you fall victim to a scam, you can quickly lose your entire pension pot and may even face added costs, like a hefty tax bill.

You can find further information on pension scams here

If you're unsure how to complete the pension scams questionnaire you need to fill out when you ask for a transfer, you can use the guide below.