Transfer your pensions

Having more than one pension can make life difficult. Make things simpler and combine them into one plan. 

Why transfer your pensions?

Most people end up with more than one pension. Bringing your pensions into one place makes life simpler and might save you money. Find out if transferring your pensions is right for you.

  • Keep track - Understanding how much your pension is worth can be as simple as checking your bank account. And having all your pensions in one place means you won’t lose track of where they all are.
  • Save Money - With all your pension savings in one place you might pay less in overall charges and fees.
  • Plan for the future - Seeing the total value of your pension savings at a glance will help you understand if you’re on course for the retirement you want.

Of course, transferring might not be right for everyone, you might have benefits attached to your current pension that you want to keep or it may be that we can’t accept it. In ‘Your questions answered’ below we’ll cover this in more detail.

How to transfer your pension

Scottish Widows are the pension experts within our Group. They’ve been handling peoples’ retirement plans for over 200 years so you’ll know you’re in safe hands.

1. Know your options

Reading through information on the following pages will help you decide if transferring is the right thing for you.

2. Apply

Applying is easy, we’ll just need some details about you and the pensions you’d like to transfer. 

3. Sit back

Scottish Widows will do the rest and they’ll keep you updated along the way. It should take around four weeks.

Already have a Scottish Widows pension?

If you’re an existing Scottish Widows pension holder, you can transfer into it using the link below. However, if you want to open a new pension with Scottish Widows continue reading.

Transfer into your existing Scottish Widows pension

Why open a new Retirement Account pension with Scottish Widows?

  • Flexibility – you can use the same policy to save for your  future and to access your pension benefits when you’re ready
  • Suited to your needs – There’s a range of investment options to suit you and you can change them at any time
  • Competitive charges – easy to understand based on how much you have in your plan and how it’s invested
  • Fully protected - 100% of your savings are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  • Expertise – Scottish Widows have been guiding people through retirement for more than 200 years and they’re part of the same group as ourselves
  • Scottish Widows can accept transfers from most, but not all, pensions. Here is a list of the main types of transfers they can’t accept online:

    Pensions with guarantees - A Guaranteed Annuity Rate: this usually means you’ll get a higher income for life when you retire than you’d get at today’s rates. 


    Section 9(2B) rights or a Guaranteed Minimum Pension: these provide you with an income that’s based on what you earned at the time this pension was set up. 

    Pensions run by Trustees - If you have a pension which was set up by your employer, it might be managed by trustees. If you’re unsure if your pension is run by trustees, speak to your provider.

    Pensions with defined benefits - Known as final salary or defined benefits pensions where how much you receive is based on your salary rather than how much you’ve paid in. 

    Payments - If you or your employer are still paying into the pension you’re transferring and this is going to continue to happen or you are already taking an income from the pension. 

    Other reasons – For instance your pension is with a provider outside the UK or it’s subject to a court order e.g. when it’s been divided as part of a divorce. 

    Finally, you can only transfer the entire pension, you’re not able to only transfer part of it. 

    You can find out about these in your policy documents or you might have to speak to your current provider. If you don’t know what to ask here’s a helpful checklist.

    Download the letter (.doc, 39kb)


  • Some of your existing pensions’ benefits and features might be valuable or you think they’re worth keeping. If you transfer you’ll give these up, so it’s worth checking before you apply.

    These can include:

    Protected Tax-Free Cash – You can normally take 25% of your pension as a tax-free cash at the point where you start to withdraw from your pension. Some pensions allow you to take more than this which could be of benefit to you.

    Protected Pension Age - Currently you can access your pensions from age 55. The government is likely to increase this age over time. Your pension may have a Protected Pension Age which will enable you to access your money earlier.

    Fund guarantees or bonuses - These can include a guaranteed growth or bonus rate, a loyalty or fund bonus.

    Protection - This can include life cover, critical illness cover or waiver of premium.

    Be aware some pensions will charge an exit fee if you choose to transfer. Make sure you know if there is one and how much it will be before you proceed.

    You can find out if your pension has any of these by looking at your policy documents, or you might have to speak to your current provider. If you don’t know what to ask here’s a handy checklist. 

    Download the letter (.doc, 39kb)

    If you are a member of a workplace pension scheme(s), you should consider whether it is possible to transfer to that. These schemes may benefit from lower charges relative to individual pension plans, however they may not be as flexible when it comes to investment choices or taking your benefits so it’s worth checking all these points.


  • If you’re unsure on any point you can call Scottish Widows, and they’ll help you understand what you should consider before transferring to them. The service is free however they can only explain things to help you make your own decision, they can’t give you any advice.

    If you feel that you need further help in understanding if this is the right thing for you, or your pension is one that can’t be accepted using this service, you may benefit from advice. Or you could speak to an Independent Financial Advisor.

  • Competitive, clear and transparent charges

    The more you have in your pension, the lower the charge rates are. You’ll never pay more than 1.1% for investing in one of their Governed Investment Strategies. However, if you choose to invest differently this will affect your charges. 

    For example, the charges for a pension pot of £40,000 that you want to access flexibly in retirement are 0.5% overall. This means you pay £16.67 a month. 

    Assuming that:

    the pension pot value stays the same (as it grows or decreases, your charges will change), your investment choice is a Governed Investment Strategy. If you decide to invest in a different strategy or funds these charges may change. 

    For more information on charges.

  • View an example illustration (PDF, 1.5MB).

  • You could have forgotten about a pension you already have and it could make a difference to how much you save for retirement.

    If you can remember who the pension provider is, you could contact them to see if they can help. Or, if it’s a company pension, call your previous employer for the details.

    Alternatively, go to the The Pension Tracing Service operated by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Online Banking customer?

If you are a Bank of Scotland Internet Banking customer you can now view the current value of a new Retirement Account alongside your other accounts. 

Before you start

If you’ve decided transferring is right for you, we need you to think about your attitude to risk and understand the options for when you retire. This will help you complete the application form.

Find out more

select for more information

Ready to transfer?

If you’ve already reviewed and decided transferring is right for you and read about your investment and retirement options you can start your application. You’ll need the following:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your existing pension providers name
  • The policy numbers of each pension you want transfer
  • The Scheme name if it’s a workplace pension
  • A recent transfer value for each pension
  • Know how you want to invest your new pension 

Apply to transfer my pension

Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.