Most defined benefit pension schemes have a retirement age of 65, some schemes offer the provision of early retirement, this usually reduces the amount of pension available to you by a formidable amount.
When first drawing from the pension, there is an option to take a tax-free lump sum as cash, the rules on the percentage allowed will vary upto a maximum of 25% of the entire fund value. Reducing the amount that a person takes in the lump sum will affect the amount that can be drawn as income.
Defined benefit pensions can be transferred to a defined contribution pension as long as several criteria points are met. If the pension to be transferred is £30,000 or more there is a requirement for the request to be signed off by a regulated financial adviser. A person may seek their own financial adviser, however there will be a charge to pay upfront (as stipulated by FCA – Financial Conduct Authority) to the adviser. The move has been made to prevent contingent charging, where advisers only charge a fee if a transfer is completed.
The emphasis is for individuals to stay with the defined benefit pension as they often contain secure and valuable benefits and there have since 2015 been a considerable number of transfer scams that have resulted in people losing lots of money from what otherwise would have been a more affluent retirement.