Expert and trusted advice to show you what your options are

The value of pensions and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.


Are you considering a final salary pension transfer?

We offer expert and trusted financial advice to show you what your options are

Watch our video. Our client Lindsey talks to Jessica one of our pension specialists, about how our balanced approach helped her to decide what’s right for her.

You might have heard in the media about final salary pension transfers and how they have created opportunities for members of final salary pension schemes, also known as ‘defined benefit’ pension schemes. These are the pensions offered by an employer based on contributions you and they have made during your employment.

Until recently it was rarely seen as an advisable option to move out of a final salary scheme. However, the Pensions Regulator estimates that 80,000 final salary pensions were transferred in the last year alone, an indication of how things have changed.

The decision to transfer out of a final salary pension is one of the most important financial decisions of your life, so it is vital to seek expert advice from an adviser you trust to help you decide what’s right for you.


Why should you look into your options?

Listed below are some of the advantages that a final salary pension transfer might bring. 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 a financial adviser who holds a specialist pension transfer qualification.


How could a Final Salary Pension Transfer benefit you?

  • Access to your pension at age 55.
  • 25% of the invested amount available as tax free cash at age 55.
  • 100% the fund value for the 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 for the lifestyle you want.
  • 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 attractions of taking a significant lump sum of cash are obvious, as are the dangers, which is why it’s vital you take expert advice from an adviser you can trust. We’re impartial and on your side. We’ll give you a balanced view so that you can be confident in deciding what is best for you.

The suitability, or not, of transferring a final salary pension is just the beginning. You will need specialist advice on how to gradually withdraw your money in your retirement, and the work required for us to advise you on this will incur a fee. All our advice fees are allowed for in the analysis of a pension transfer and we will work with you on an on-going basis to ensure that your plans remain ‘on track’ and take account of your changing circumstances.


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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? (i.e. 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.

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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Why Us

The decision to do a final salary pension transfer is one of the most important financial decisions of your life, so it is vital to seek expert advice from an adviser you trust, not only with the decision of whether to leave your scheme or not, but also someone who can help you with the long-term responsibility of managing the money you receive.

Because of the complexity involved, only financial advisers who hold a specialist pension transfer qualification are able to do the detailed analysis required and recommend whether or not you should transfer out of a final salary pension scheme.

If the value of your final salary pension is £30,000 or more, you are required by law to take advice from a qualified adviser before you can transfer.

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

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. We know the issues that will arise at this point, and have the expertise and experience to help you manage these responsibilities and make the best decisions. Find out more about how we can help you with financial planning to make the most of your wealth and ensure your investments are on track to achieve your goals.

Case Studies

Find out how we’ve helped our clients with their final salary pension transfers.


  • "I am continually impressed by Paul's efficiency and expertise as well as that of the Riverfall team. Thanks to Paul, I can once again look forward to my retirement and enjoy the travelling I have planned."

  • "Ever since I commenced my career I've had the comfort of knowing Paul who ensured I had the proper level of life and health protection. He has also assisted me with my changing mortgage, savings and retirement planning needs. Paul's advice throughout the years has put me in a strong financial position today."

  • "I have known Paul for nearly twenty years during that time, he has advised me on all financial matters, investments, pensions and mortgages. Under Paul's careful stewardship my investments have grown and been successfully steered through the global economic malaise of the last few years. His advice has been timely, well balanced, researched and always beneficial."

  • "I would like to express my thanks to Shaun Brennan and Riverfall. I would have no hesitation in recommending Riverfall Financial to anyone who requires pension advice."

Find out more: Final Salary Pension Transfers Explained