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Important information for members requesting a transfer out of the Fire Scheme

The Pension Schemes Bill 2014/15 contains measures to restrict transfers out of unfunded defined benefit public service schemes, except to other defined benefit schemes, unless certain conditions are met.

More information about the Pension Schemes Bill can be found at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/pensionschemes/documents.html

When do the changes take effect?

The changes are expected to take effect from 6 April 2015.

Which members are affected by the changes?

Members affected by the changes are those who have requested a transfer to a defined contribution (DC) scheme from which it may be possible that the benefits provided under the rules of the receiving scheme in respect of the transfer credits/rights resulting from the transfer payment are flexible benefits.

Flexible benefits are defined as:

  • a money purchase benefit
  • a cash balance benefit or
  • a benefit, other than a money purchase benefit or cash balance benefit calculated by reference to an amount available for the provision of benefits to or in respect of the member (whether the amount so available is calculated by reference to payments made by the member or any other person in respect of the member or any other factor)

This means that transfers to DC schemes will no longer be permitted.

What happens next?

For a transfer out request to a DC scheme to be fulfilled, you must have received an estimate of the transfer value and have confirmed your acceptance and agreement to the transfer on the appropriate form. This is known as an 'options form'. The options form must be received by SPPA before the deadline of 5 April 2015.*

Members who have requested a transfer to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)

The position in respect of members transferring to a QROPS has not yet been confirmed.  However, the same restriction is expected to apply and all properly completed option forms requesting the transfer payment must be received by SPPA no later than 5 April 2015*

* Although the CETV is guaranteed under the Pensions Act for a period of three months which ends on or after 5 April 2015, applications for a transfer payment to schemes which provide flexible benefits received after 5 April 2015 will not be accepted.   As 5 April 2015 falls over the Easter weekend, you should consider the possible effect  this may have on receipt of the option forms.  Regardless of the date the completed option forms are completed, SPPA will not accept forms received after 5 April 2015.

Link to Scottish Government Website