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Transfers

You may be able to transfer pension rights into the LGPS from:

  • a previous LGPS Fund, or
  • a previous employer's pension scheme, or
  • a self-employed pension plan, or
  • a ‘buy-out’ policy, or
  • a personal pension plan, or
  • a stakeholder pension scheme, or
  • an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) arrangement

You cannot however transfer a pension credit into the LGPS. A pension credit is a share of an ex-spouse's or ex-civil partner's pension benefits, as awarded by a Court under a Pension Sharing Order, or by a qualifying agreement in Scotland, following a divorce or a dissolution of a civil partnership.

Transferring non-LGPS pension rights into LGPS

If you have paid into a non-LGPS pension arrangement, you may be able to transfer your previous pension rights into the LGPS. You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous pension rights, unless your employer allows you longer. This is an employer’s discretion; you can ask your employer what their policy is on this matter.

If you opt to transfer pension rights from a non-LGPS arrangement then a sum of money called a transfer value is offered to buy a membership credit in the LGPS. If you transfer your previous pension rights into the LGPS your retirement benefits will be based on membership including the membership bought by the transfer and, normally, your final years’ pay on leaving the LGPS.

Any request you make to investigate a transfer will not be binding until you confirm that you wish the transfer to go ahead - transfer quotations provided by a former pension provider are guaranteed for three months. As a transfer may not always be advantageous, you should always compare the quotation of LGPS membership and the value of LGPS benefits attached to that membership against the value of the package of benefits if left with your previous pension scheme provider.

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.

Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you have paid AVCs to a different AVC scheme or to a Free Standing AVC (FSAVC) scheme you can, if you wish, transfer them into the LGPS to buy extra LGPS membership. You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer these AVC rights to buy extra LGPS membership, unless your employer allows you longer. This is an employer’s discretion; you can ask your employer what their policy is on this matter.

How do I transfer?

Your Pension Fund administrator can advise you of the process for transferring previous pension rights into the LGPS.

Remember, you have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous non-LGPS pension rights, unless your employer allows you longer.

Transferring previous LGPS pension rights into the LGPS

If you re-join the LGPS, you can normally transfer your previous LGPS pension rights to your new membership, enabling you to enjoy benefits based upon your entire membership and linked to your final pay in your new job. They will not be transferred automatically. If your new job is less well paid, you will need to decide whether it may be better not to join the benefits together. If you have previously re-joined the Scheme and chosen to keep earlier LGPS pension rights which you built up in Scotland separate, you will not normally be able to transfer those earlier rights to your new job.

If your previous LGPS pension rights are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you only have 12 months from re-joining the LGPS to opt to transfer them, unless your employer allows you longer. This is an employer’s discretion; you can ask your employer what their policy is on this matter.

Transferred membership from the LGPS in Scotland will count on a day for day basis, but transferred membership from the LGPS in England, Wales or Northern Ireland may not count on a day for day basis.

If you wish to transfer your previous LGPS pension rights you should contact your Pension Fund administrator as soon as possible to find out about this and about the matters you will need to consider in making your decision.

Pension rights built up as a councillor in Scotland cannot be joined with rights built up as an employee in Scotland and vice versa.

Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you have previously paid AVCs to an in-house AVC arrangement under the LGPS in Scotland you can, if you wish, transfer them into the in-house AVC arrangement offered by your new administering authority.

How do I transfer?

Your Pension Fund administrator can advise you of the process for transferring previous pension rights into the LGPS.

Remember, you have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer any LGPS pension rights held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, unless your employer allows you longer.

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