Consolidating company pensions

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The best rates on the market as I write this are with KBC and EBS.

With interest, a combined monthly savings direct debit of €1,000 will reach the deposit target in just over two years.

If the old schemes are 'defined contribution', I would recommend looking at consolidating these old pensions into your new company scheme in many cases (that is, if there is one).

This would be my first preference in most cases as it is likely to be the most cost-effective.

You might move to a more expensive or less flexible pension, and you could even lose valuable guarantees such as guaranteed annuities.

There are even bigger risks if you transfer out of a final salary pension scheme to consolidate your pensions, as you’ll be giving up guaranteed benefits and taking on greater risks.

Firstly, if any of your old pensions are 'defined benefit' schemes (ie they promise a defined percentage of your final salary each year at retirement), then I would be very cautious about moving them.

I’ve recently moved jobs, but need to serve a six-month probation before I get the 8% pension contributions on offer at the new firm, made up of a 3% contribution by myself and 5% from the company.

These are important decisions and so if you’re uncertain of what the best course of action is, then you should take independent financial advice.

I served a reasonable length of time with both employers and I'm not set to retire for another 15 years, but I've no idea where to begin in terms of making sure I can still get the benefits of them when the time comes.

If there are additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) in your previous pensions, you used to be able to access up to 30pc of your AVC pot before retirement until quite recently, but now you can only access your pension from age 55 in most cases.

When considering personal pensions, the rules are slightly different.

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