An employee may leave their employer’s service before normal retirement age in two different ways:
- Voluntarily leaving.
If you have left your former employer and were enrolled in the pension scheme, you will automatically become entitled to a preserved benefit after 2 years of membership in the scheme. You will have a number of options available to you under the Pensions Act which are as follows:
- Retain your preserved benefit in your former employers pension scheme, or
- transfer your benefit out of the scheme to a new employers pension scheme, if the new trustees will accept the funds, or
- transfer your benefit out of the scheme to a Personal Retirement Bond (PRB) or Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA).
- If you are aged 50 years or older and at the trustees discretion, you may have an option to take immediate early retirement rather than leave the preserved pension until your normal retirement age.
It is very important to remember to act quickly. Your option to transfer your benefits expires 2 years after leaving service. However, some schemes will allow a transfer after this period of time but they can restrict your available options.
After this 2 year time span, the trustees of your former employer’s pension scheme can make a transfer payment to another pension provider without your consent or knowledge. This becomes a significant challenge for people approaching retirement when you try to a track down your preserved pension benefits. However, at Advent Financial Services we have helped many clients to track down and take control of their preserved pension benefits.