Scot Wids launches pension transfer tool

Scot Wids launches pension transfer tool

Scottish Widows has launched an online pension transfer tool allowing members of multiple corporate schemes to consolidate their schemes into one account.

The Lloyds-owned company pitched the new service as a tool for members who can’t afford advice.

However, the service only allows members to consolidate into, not out of, a Scottish Widows corporate pension scheme.

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But a spokesman for the company said if members decided to consolidate with another scheme, they could still use the assessment tool to decide whether consolidation was a good idea.

They claimed the tool would give corporate advisers an additional selling point.

On top of providing advice to higher income members, the spokesman said it would allow those with smaller pots to access something akin to advice.

It is stressed, though, that the tool does not provide financial advice.

The tool allows transfers from all defined contribution corporate and personal schemes.

It does not allow transfers from defined benefit schemes or schemes with guaranteed benefits, or transfers that are part of a block transfer.

It will only transfer out of schemes that are not currently receiving contributions.

David Holton, corporate propositions director at Scottish Widows, said the new tool is aimed at fulfilling an unmet customer need to be able to consolidate pension assets simply.

He added: “It particularly helps support advisers when they are working on pension transfers across an entire scheme.

“In this instance, the adviser can concentrate on more complex customer needs on an advised basis, with more straightforward cases being transferred to the self-service section on the website.”

Scottish Widows is also working towards enabling individual customers to access the service.

Adviser View

Nigel Sycamore, a corporate financial adviser and director of Clear Workplace, said any transfer tool should first of all compare features, such as fees and member benefits.

He added: “Justification of a transfer is the most important thing. We wouldn’t want to be tranferring people’s savings unless we knew they were going into something better.”