The timescales will vary however, according to research carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the average time it takes to complete a uk pension transfer is 16 days.
Remember that is the average, as there have been cases where transfers have taken over six months, the average for a defined benefit transfer is around 6 months. Final salary pension transfers can take the longest of all to transfer.
What factors can affect pension transfer timescales?
The process for transferring a pension varies between schemes and providers, so being aware of the following obligations is advantageous:
Type of transfer
There are different types of transfers which may impact on how long it takes to transfer a pension. This includes transferring to a SIPP, an occupational pension transfer or transferring all your pensions into one pot.
For a transfer to happen you’ll need to present a number of documents so to save time, it’s useful to have them to hand when your pensions advisor asks for them. This includes your ID and details of existing and previous pensions.
Fees and exit charges
Again, this will vary between providers but if your transfer involves paying a fee, you may need some time to ensure the funds are available.
How long should a defined benefit pension transfer take?
Defined benefit (DB) transfers can take longer than defined contribution transfers – around six months is average for these schemes.
They can take longer because your pensions advisor is legally obliged to ensure that you fully understand the implications of leaving a defined benefit scheme. Most experts would not recommend exiting a DB plan, except in exceptional circumstances.
How long does an expat pension transfer take?
If you’re moving overseas and want to transfer your pension to a scheme that’s based in the country you’re moving to, then there are processes in place which need to be completed before you transfer into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) that may impact on the pension transfer time.
Depending on where you move to, you may have to pay a tax. If you’re moving between the European Economic Area (EEA countries) there isn’t a tax, and there are other exclusions too, like if your UK expat pension transfer is to a pension that’s run by your employer – these are aspects that can add on time to how long the transfer takes.
Is it possible to speed up a pension transfer?
The average time to transfer a pension can vary. If there’s a delay it can have an effect on what you can spend while you’re waiting.
Generally speaking every provider should operate a timescale that they deem to be ‘reasonable’.
If you can do the transfer online, it’s generally quicker than completing a paper application, so bear that in mind too and ask your provider if an online transfer is possible.