If you leave the FPS 2015 and are too young to receive immediate benefits (except ill-health related) you will receive a deferred pension instead. You can then choose to transfer this unpaid benefit to another pension scheme.
If you choose to transfer out, your FRA or their pension administrator will work out a transfer value for you. A transfer value is the total cash equivalent value of your benefits held in the scheme and it is worked out based on the scheme’s rules. A transfer will only happen if you sign a set of declaration forms given to you by your FRA.
Your FRA will also have to make sure that the new scheme meets certain conditions as a transfer can only be paid to:
- A UK pension scheme that is approved by HMRC; or
- A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)
FPS 2015 benefits cannot be transferred to FPS 1992 or FPS 2006.
Transfers to certain schemes which allow members to access their benefits flexibly are now no longer allowed from the Firefighters' Pension Schemes.
You may leave your employment with an FRA and begin employment as a firefighter with another FRA where you remain a member of the FPS 2015.
If you are transferring from an FRA in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your pension rights would be transferred as outlined above.
If you are leaving your employment with one FRA in England to join another, different transfer arrangements will apply.
Your former authority will provide you with a certificate setting out the entries in your pension accounts held by them and give details of your period of pensionable employment. This would be done automatically if there is no break between your employments. If there has been a break in pensionable service of less than 5 years, you would need to ask for a certificate. You must give the certificate to your new FRA so that they can transfer the details to your new pension account with them.
Special arrangements apply if you hold more than one job with either or both authorities; you may have to choose from which account, or to which account, the details should be transferred. Your new authority would explain this to you.
If the break in pensionable service is 5 years or more, you would keep your deferred pension account with your previous authority – a transfer to a new active account would not be possible. But if you had an added pension account, it may be possible to transfer the entries in that account to your new employment.
If you think that the certificate provided is incorrect you should speak to your former employer. If this does not resolve the problem, you would have a right of appeal under Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures (IDRP). Details can be found on the help with pension problems page.
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 before you make a decision to transfer your deferred benefits to an alternative arrangement.