Transferring your benefits out of the Scottish Police scheme
Warning: Beware of ‘pension liberation’ fraud
Pension transfers are often targeted by criminals. Please read the Pensions Regulator’s information on ‘pension liberation’ scams before making a final decision on any transfer.
What is a pension transfer?
If you’re leaving the Police (or choosing to leave the Scottish Police pension scheme) you can transfer the value of your accumulated pension benefits to another approved pension scheme or arrangement.
For example, if you move to a Police post in England & Wales or Northern Ireland, you could request to transfer your pension benefits to your new employer’s scheme. If you have continuous police service between the schemes, the transfer will be processed on a ‘like for like’ basis.
Transfers out can also be made to a registered occupational pension scheme with defined benefits, but cannot be made to defined contribution schemes offering flexible benefits (unless you have between three months and two years’ membership in the scheme, and you’re eligible for a refund of contributions).
Due to a number of legal changes, overseas transfers are rare nowadays and may be subject to a tax charge. To find out if you are able to transfer benefits to a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme, send details of the scheme to our transfers team at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll then let you know if a transfer is possible. Further information on overseas transfers is available here.
Transfer time limits
You must apply for a transfer payment within six months of leaving Police employment or opting out of the Police scheme – or within twelve months for transfers to other UK public sector schemes. The Police authority may choose to extend time limits at its discretion.
PPS members aren’t able to transfer if they’re within a year of reaching the age of 60.
NPPS members aren’t able to transfer if they’re within a year of reaching the age of 65.
Police 2015 members, and Police 2015 transitional members, must transfer before state pension age.
Once a payment has been sent to another scheme on your behalf, the transfer can’t be reversed. If you change your mind after initiating a transfer, contact SPPA immediately.
Transferring out FAQs
How do I apply for a transfer?
Before you make a transfer request, you should speak to your new provider. Ask them for information on their transfer process and check that they’re willing to receive a transfer from the Police Pension scheme. We normally receive the transfer request direct from the new provider, but we can accept transfer requests from you if the new provider won’t act on your behalf. Once we get your application, we’ll ensure the receiving scheme is eligibile and provide a transfer value as quickly as possible.
What happens when I apply for a transfer
Once we get your application, we’ll calculate a transfer value. It’s guaranteed for three months from the date of the calculation and is supplied to your new pension provider with the discharge forms you’ll need if you decide to go ahead.
Once you’ve got the transfer value, your new provider should tell you what benefits it will buy in their scheme. You should compare the benefits offered by your new provider against those preserved in the Police scheme. You should also compare the normal retirement age in the Police scheme with that of your new provider as, sometimes, the normal retirement age can be different. If you decide to go ahead, just sign the discharge forms and send them to your new scheme who’ll normally request the transfer on your behalf.
How do you work out the transfer payment?
Transfer payments are calculated using factors supplied by the Government Actuary’s Department. Basically, they convert the value of your accrued pension rights into a cash equivalent.
Are transfer values guaranteed?
Your transfer value will be guaranteed for three months from the calculation date. If we receive your request for payment within that three month guarantee period, we’ll pay the guaranteed amount. If we get the request after the guaranteed period, the transfer value is recalculated and the new amount is paid to your new scheme.
Do I have to pay for the transfer valuation?
One transfer valuation can be provided each year free of charge. For additional valuations, a fee is charged.
Are the Police Pension Schemes part of the ‘Public Sector Transfer Club Scheme’ arrangements?
They are and further information about the club schemes can be found here.
Are you able to advise if a transfer is my best option?
No. SPPA doesn’t provide financial advice at any time. You may decide to take independent financial advice before you make a final decision about transferring your benefits.
Can a transfer affect my normal retirement age?
If you have continuous Police service and you’re transferring to another UK-based Police authority, your transfer will be processed on a ‘like for like’ basis. So there would be no change to your normal pension age.
If you’re transferring to another occupational pension scheme, it’s highly likely your normal retirement age would increase once you’ve transferred. Your normal retirement age in the Police scheme is clearly detailed on the transfer options forms and you should compare this with the normal retirement age in your new provider’s scheme.
Contact the SPPA Transfers Team
Scottish Public Pensions Agency
7 Tweedside Park
Telephone: 01896 893 000 and ask for Transfers when prompted.
Fax: 01896 893 214
More information about the Pension Schemes Bill can be found here