How to transfer service between public sector plans
You may be able to transfer your eligible service if you are joining or leaving the plan.
If you leave your job, you may be able to transfer your pensionable and contributory service from your original pension plan to your new employer's pension plan. You can do this if the two pension plans have a transfer agreement.
Things to think about when transferring service
Transferring service may allow you to increase two kinds of service:
- Pensionable service, which may increase the value of your pension
- Contributory service, which may allow you to retire earlier with an unreduced pension
However, it's not always to your financial advantage to transfer service. It may be better to collect two separate pensions, particularly if:
- The total value of the two separate pensions is more than the value of the single pension after a transfer
- You can collect a pension earlier under your former plan
It's a good idea to talk with an independent financial adviser to help you decide if transferring service is a good choice for you.
Differences in pension service value between plans
The service you transfer from another plan may not have equal value in BC's College Pension Plan, and vice versa, due to:
- Different pension benefit formulas in each plan
- Salary differences between your old and new jobs
As a result, the service you receive credit for when you transfer service may not equal the service you accumulated while you were working.
If the value of the service you are transferring from your original plan is less than the cost of buying the same service in the new plan, there is a service shortfall. The potential for a service shortfall exists each time you transfer service between public sector pension plans, even if you are returning to a plan you previously belonged to.
If you're transferring service to the College Pension Plan and there is a service shortfall, you can pay for the shortfall and be credited with full service. You must pay for any service shortfall in one lump sum and within a specific period.
If you do not want to pay for the service shortfall, you will be credited with pro-rated pensionable and contributory service based on the amount of service transferred.
When you transfer service to the College Pension Plan from another plan, you will receive matching amounts of contributory service and pensionable service.
How transferring service affects your pension
If you transfer service from your former pension plan to the College Pension Plan, your eventual pension will be calculated using:
- The combined eligible service from all plans (this may be adjusted if there is a shortfall)
- Your five-year highest average salary from only the College Pension Plan
- The retirement age specified by the College Pension Plan
What is the process?
If you're leaving an employer that participates in the College Pension Plan and would like to transfer your service to another plan that has an agreement with us, contact the new plan.
If you've joined the College Pension Plan and would like to transfer your service from your old pension plan, submit the Pension transfer application form. We'll tell you if you are eligible and let you know how much service we'll credit to you from your former plan. You can then use this information to decide whether you want to transfer service to the College Pension Plan and collect a single pension when you retire, or collect two separate pensions.
There are deadlines for transferring service; contact us as soon as possible so we can confirm your eligibility and provide you with an estimate.
If you have a former spouse who is entitled to a share of your pension, the pension will need to be divided before any service can be transferred. Contact us for more information.
There may be tax implications associated with transferring service. You may wish to speak with an independent financial adviser before making your final decision about transferring eligible service between plans.
Deciding not to transfer service
If you decide not to transfer your service from one pension plan to another, when you retire you will be eligible to receive a separate pension from each plan in which you have pensionable service.
The pension you earn in any other plan will not affect the pension you earn with the College Pension Plan.