Pension Transfers

Make life simpler with a Retirement Account - an award winning personal pension from our retirement partners at Scottish Widows.

Why transfer your pensions?

  • All in one place - Have you ever changed jobs? On average people switch jobs 11 times* in their life, which means you can end up with multiple pensions. Having your pensions all in one place makes them easier to manage and could save you money.
  • Free to transfer – we won’t charge you for transferring in or setting up your pension (although your existing provider may charge you to transfer out).
  • Easy Access - see at a glance, anytime how much your total pensions with us are worth through Online Banking and our mobile app.
  • Flexibility - our partners Scottish Widows offer access to a full range of retirement options.


*Source: This is Money - Is it always worth combining....?

Retirement Account benefits

  • Competitive charges - The more you have in your pension pot, the lower the overall charge rate.
  • Experience – Scottish Widows have more than 200 years experience. They’re also part of the same group as ourselves.
  • Investment choice –  we’ll do the hard work for you with our ready-made investment solutions. You’ll need to choose your risk appetite and retirement plans. Don’t worry, if you're not sure we can help.
  • Award winning product - 5 star product rating for Personal Pension and Drawdown from Defaqto*, an independent financial ratings agency.


Defacto expert rated 5 star personal pension 2023    Defacto expert rated 5 star drawdown pension 2023


It’s protected
100% of the value of your Retirement Account pension pot is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

*Source: Defaqto Annual Product Ratings 

Transferring might not be right for everyone

You need to be careful that you don’t lose any guarantees or features, and you should also compare the charges and funds. If you’re unsure then we’d recommend that you speak to a financial adviser, who will normally charge you for this advice.


Check if transferring is right for me 

Already have a Scottish Widows pension?

If you have an existing Scottish Widows Pension (such as a workplace pension) you should consider whether it is possible to transfer to that. You may benefit from lower charges relative to a new one you’d take out, however it may not be as flexible when it comes to investment choices or taking your benefits so it’s worth checking all these points.

Transfer into your existing Scottish Widows pension

Alternatively, if you want to open a new pension with Scottish Widows continue reading.

3 things to understand before transferring your pension

The common questions

Read through our useful questions to make sure transferring is right for you. 

Your questions answered

Investment choices

Look at how your pension will be invested and decide your risk level. You'll need this for your application. Don’t forget, if you’re unsure we can help.

Learn about investment choices

Retirement options

To apply, you'll also need to understand the options available to you when you retire.

Explore my retirement options

Ready to transfer your pension now?

Ready to transfer your pension now?

If you've read and understand the above, you can start your application online today.

Get started with a transfer


Your questions answered

  • Before you decide to transfer, it’s worth checking if you’re eligible. The main things Scottish Widows check when you ask to transfer are:

    • The pension(s) you wish to transfer have a total value of more than £10,000
    • You live in the UK
    • You’re under the age of 74
    • You’re moving pensions which are with a UK-based provider
    • You plan to move a whole pension, not part of one
    • You aren’t already taking an income from the pension you’re moving, and you haven’t taken a tax-free lump sum from the pension being transferred either.

    We can’t give you an illustration if your planned retirement age is less than a year from now. You can call us on 0345 601 2585 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm to discuss your retirement options. Calls may be monitored and recorded. Calls cost may vary depending on your service provider.

    If you have a pension which was set up by your employer, it might be managed by trustees. If so, you will need to get permission from the trustees before you transfer. If you’re not sure if your pension is run by trustees, check your policy or scheme documents, or contact your scheme administrator.

  • 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 means, in most cases, 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 would provide you with an income that’s based on what you earned at the time this pension was set up.

    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 - Your pension is with a provider outside the UK, it’s subject to a court order, for example when it’s been divided as part of a divorce.

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

    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 Lump Sum – You can normally take up to 25% of your pension as a tax-free lump sum 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 - this enables you to access your pension benefits before the Normal Minimum Pension Age (NMPA), with the latter rising from age 55 to 57 in 2028. If you were born after 5 April 1971 this may affect you, but you might be able to take your pension benefits before the NMPA with this protection. You should always check whether your existing pension(s) have this, as these might be affected if you transfer.

    Fund guarantees or bonuses - These can include a guaranteed growth or bonus rate, a loyalty bonus or a 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 scheme. 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 of these points.

  • Before you decide to transfer, you might need advice or guidance.

    What is Guidance?
    When you read our website or speak to Scottish Widows, you’ll get what’s known as guidance. They’ll answer any questions you might have about pension transfers so you can make an informed choice. But this isn't the same thing as advice, as we won’t recommend what you should do next.

    Take a look at their help and support page

    If you plan to take money from your pension soon after you transfer to us, this is an important decision.

    You could get free and impartial guidance about your pension options from Pension Wise from Moneyhelper. It’s a government service that offers clear and simple guidance online or over the phone. Find out more about Pension Wise, by visiting the MoneyHelper website.

    What is financial advice?
    This is what you’d get from a Financial Adviser. They’ll talk to you about what your finances look like today, and your plans for tomorrow and recommend the best products to suit your personal situation. They’ll normally charge you for their advice.

    Find out more about financial advice or you can learn more about how to find an adviser through Scottish Widows

    If you plan to take money from your pension soon after you transfer to, we’ll ask at the start of our application form if you’ve had financial advice or Pension Wise guidance, or if you would like some before proceeding.

  • Competitive, clear and transparent charges - before deciding to transfer you should always compare the charges you’ll pay with your current provider versus the provider you are looking to transfer your pension to.

    Scottish Widows’ charges – these cover the cost of managing your investments, managing your pension, admin and fund trading costs. We won’t charge you for transferring in or setting up your pension, although you should check if your existing provider may charge you to transfer out.

    How it works - The more you have in your pension pot, the lower the overall charge rate. Currently the maximum you’ll pay for investing in a Governed Investment Strategy (GIS) is 1.1%, however, most people won’t pay more than 1.0% a year.

    The overall charges are broken down into two, so you always have a clear picture of the costs:

    1. Service charge  - an annual charge of 0.1–0.9% a year that decreases as the value of your pension increases. This is based on the total value of the Retirement Account:

    • £0k - <£30k = 0.90%
    • £30k - <£50k = 0.40%
    • £50k - <£250k = 0.30%
    • £250k - <£500k = 0.25%
    • £500k - <£1m = 0.20%
    • £1m and over = 0.10%

    2. Investment management charge - When you transfer you’ll be invested in a GIS (you can find out more about this on the Investment Options page). The investment charge will in most instances be 0.1% a year. If you transfer to a different fund in the future this figure could change. 

    These are current rates that apply for new Retirement Account applications. We may change these rates or make new charges in the future.

    Example of how these charges could look

    Example of how these charges could look

    If you have £40,000 invested in a Governed Investment Strategy, every year we would charge you:

    Service charge 0.4% : £160


    Investment charge 0.1%:  £40


    Total  £200

    We would collect this by taking just under £17 out of your Retirement Account each month.

  • An example illustration will give you a picture of what you could have at retirement. A personal illustration will be provided as part of your application 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, try giving them a call to see if they can help. Or, if it’s a company pension, call your previous employer for the details.

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

Do you know your investment options?

We need you to think about your attitude to risk and understand the options for when you retire. This will help when you go to complete the application form.

If can’t decide how to access your money in retirement, you can select our default option. You’ll find out more about this when you apply.

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 the application.

You’ll need the following:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your existing pension providers name
  • The policy numbers of each pension you want to transfer
  • The Scheme name if it’s a workplace pension
  • A recent transfer value for each pension
  • You know how you want to invest and access your new pension
  • A minimum of £10,000 to transfer from either one or multiple pensions

You’ll need these to complete your application so come back when you’ve got them to hand.

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.