If you leave your employment you can ask for your pension rights to possibly be transferred to another pension arrangement.
A transfer value is calculated by working out the value of deferred benefits and applying actuarial factors. In effect it is the value of your pension rights expressed as a lump sum. You should compare the offer of benefits the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) would purchase in the new scheme with any alternative benefits in the FPS 2015 before making your decision about transferring pension rights. You may want to seek independent finacial advice on this.
The above principles would also apply in respect of a transfer of pension rights to fire and rescue authorities in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
However, if you leave employment with one English fire and rescue authority to transfer to another, where you remain a member of FPS 2015, different transfer arrangements will apply. No transfer payment would be made.
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, but not exceeding 5 years, the certificate would be provided at your request. You must give the certificate to your new authority so that they can transfer the details to your new pension account with them.
Special arrangements apply if you hold more than one employment 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 retain 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.
You should check the details in the certificate issued by your former authority. If you believe the details to be incorrect you have the right to challenge their accuracy; if you remain dissatisfied you would have a right of appeal under Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures.
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 a personal pension plan, stakeholder pension scheme, buy-out insurance policy or to an employer’s money purchase scheme. You should get advice as you will be bearing all of the investment risk which could significantly affect your future pension benefits.