Final salary pension transfers

Expert advice on your final salary pension transfer options

If you have a final salary pension (also known as ‘defined benefit’ pension) and are thinking of transferring out of your scheme, this can be one of the most important financial decisions of your life, so it is vital to seek expert advice from a qualified adviser you can trust. Every scheme is different and each person’s circumstances are unique, which is why it is important – and required by law if your pension fund is worth more than £30,000 – to take advice from an adviser who holds a specialist pension transfer qualification.


It is vital to take expert advice from a qualified adviser you can trust, not only with the decision of whether to leave your scheme or not, but also someone who can advise you on the long-term responsibility of investing the money you receive.

We offer a qualified and experienced team who work with a trusted system to analyse all of the issues involved and who will present them to you in a clear and easily understandable way so that you can make the best decision for you.

The suitability, or not, of transferring a final salary pension is just the beginning. If you do decide to move away from your scheme, then you will assume responsibility for the investment of your fund and the pension income it needs to produce. You will need specialist advice on how to gradually withdraw your money in your retirement. We know the issues that will arise at this point and have the expertise to help you manage these responsibilities.

What our clients & experts say


Final Salary Pension Transfer Client

“Trust is so important. For me it’s more than trust though, I have to like the person I’m dealing with, have to feel they’re on my wavelength and can understand where I’m coming from and what my husband and I want from our retirement planning.”


David Browne, DNVGL/National Grid

Final Salary Pension Transfer Client

“I would thoroughly recommend Riverfall Financial to anyone seeking financial advice and particularly in relation to a potential defined benefit pension transfer”


Jessica McGowan

Pension Transfer Specialist at Riverfall

There has been much talk in the media about transferring out of final salary pension schemes. We cut through the confusion and ask ‘who should you trust for final salary pension transfer advice?’



We adhere to the Pension Transfer Gold Standard. This is a voluntary code of good practice for safeguarded and defined benefit pension transfer advice, overseen by the Personal Finance Society and based around a set of 9 core principles that participating firms adhere to.

“The Pension Transfer Gold Standard helps consumers better understand what good advice looks like and where they can find it” – Keith Richards, CEO of the Personal Finance Society.

Transferring out of a Final Salary scheme is unlikely to be in the best interests of most people.



We offer all prospective clients a free initial meeting with one of our pension transfer specialists, to see if our service is right for you.

Book your meeting, to discuss your options today.

Are you eligible for a final salary pension transfer?

Whether you should stay with your scheme or take a lump sum transfer out of it requires detailed and expert analysis of your unique circumstances. Moving out of a final salary scheme and exchanging a guaranteed pension income for a cash lump sum is only suitable for people with particular circumstances and objectives. These four questions are a good way to start thinking about this critical decision before taking specialist advice:

  1. Are you still an active member of your scheme? (are you, and your employer, still contributing to the scheme?)
    1. Yes – It is unusual to recommend leaving a scheme where you are still accruing benefits but exceptional circumstances have been known, for example:
      1. if the scheme is under-funded with no prospect of recovery.
      2. if you are terminally ill or have serious health issues where the death benefits are more important to you.
    2. No – If you are what’s classed as a “deferred member” then it might be worth exploring further what your entitlements are and how these fit in with your goals and objectives.
  2. Are you aged 55 or over?
    1. Yes – You are at, or getting close to, retirement and as such you should consider what your entitlements are and how these fit in with your goals and objectives.
    2. No – You still have a longer time horizon to taking benefits but that shouldn’t stop your overall retirement goals and objectives being considered further.
  3. Do you need a lump sum from your pension and are you over 55?
    1. Yes – Your scheme may be able to pay this for you but it may also be possible to get a higher lump sum on transfer away. This should be explored further.
    2. No – Your scheme should allow you to choose not to take a lump sum, but your options should be explored further at this point.
  4. Do you need a flexible varying level of income from your pension as opposed to a fixed monthly income?
    1. Yes – Your scheme may not allow this and the suitability of taking a fixed income should be reviewed.
    2. No – Your scheme will pay you a known and guaranteed income for life and as such may continue to be the most suitable source of income for you in retirement.

For more detailed information please read our blog Should I Transfer out of a Final Salary Pension?



  • Access to your pension at age 55.
  • 25% of the invested amount available as tax free cash at age 55.
  • 100% of the fund value for your surviving spouse as either income or capital.
  • The remaining pension fund can be left to your children.
  • You can decide when to retire, providing your fund is sufficient.
  • You can have a phased retirement.
  • You decide how much income you take and how your funds are invested.
  • You can adapt your retirement plans if you suffer ill health.
  • You don’t have to worry about the viability of your employer’s scheme.


  • The decision to transfer out is irreversible.
  • You will give up the certainty of a known and guaranteed income, which cannot be replicated in the alternative.
  • You will take on inflation risk.
  • You will take on investment risk.
  • Your funds could run out or if the scheme loses value due to low investment returns or low interest rates.
  • You will be responsible for the payment of product, fund and advice charges (from within the product if that is your preference) which would previously have been paid for by the employer and/or final salary scheme.

In moving out of a final salary pension scheme you are leaving behind a known and guaranteed income for life which cannot be replicated in the alternative, which is known as a draw down pension. In some cases however, there is an over-riding need for flexibility in retirement, and the trade-off for this is giving up the known and guaranteed income which would escalate in line with inflation.

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