Taking my BRASS

There are a few options for taking your BRASS pot (also known as your Personal Retirement Account) so make sure you understand your options before deciding what's right for you.

When and how you can take your BRASS pot

You must take your BRASS pot at the same time as you take your main Scheme pension. Unless you choose to transfer your BRASS pot to another arrangement. You can read more about transfers below. When you take your main DB pension, the value of your BRASS pot is used to give you more pension and/or lump sum.

A glass jar, holding a small amount of coins. The jar is labelled AVC Extra. It's next to two sacks with pound signs on the front, as well as a stack of bank notes and a wallet holding £20 notes.
For most BRASS members you must take a tax-free cash lump sum equal to the value of your BRASS pot, up to the maximum allowed by HM Revenue & Customs. You can find more information in the Read as You Need guide for BRASS members. This is different for Network Rail members and is explained in the separate Read as You Need guide for Network Rail members of BRASS.  

The rules for taking your BRASS account may also be different if you are a member of the Unisys, CSC Computer Sciences or RSSB Sections. Please check your Member Guide for details. You can find the guide when you log in to your myRPS account.

If you don’t want to take your BRASS pot as part of your DB pension, or would prefer to use it for different options, at a different time, then you do have the option to transfer your BRASS funds to another arrangement. You can read more about transfers below. 

The easiest way to manage your RPS pension is to log in to your myRPS account. You can check and change your funds and read your Member Guide before you apply to take your BRASS pot.

A piece of paper with a pound sign on the top and lines where writing should be
Transfer options guide

Learn more about the transfer options available to you when it comes to BRASS and your pension.

Transferring your BRASS pot to another arrangement

Although you're a defined benefit (DB) member, the money that you pay into your BRASS pot is classed as defined contribution (DC).

That means you may be able to transfer the money in your BRASS pot to another arrangement, separately to your DB benefits, if you wish. However, you can only do that if you have already stopped paying into BRASS.

You do not need to transfer your main DB pension if you transfer your BRASS pot. However, you can chose to do so if you have stopped paying into your DB pension and are a preserved member. For more information, check the Read as You Need guide to transfer options for DB members.

If you're thinking about transferring your BRASS pot, we recommend that you take independent financial advice first. You can read more about this on the guidance and advice page. Taking advice may also be required legally before any transfer can proceed.

If you do decide to go ahead with a transfer you can either tell your employer and they will tell the Scheme administrator, Railpen. Or you can start the process with Railpen directly by requesting a guaranteed transfer out quote (CETV). The quickest and easiest way for most members to do this is online, although you can still call or email using the details on the get in touch page.

If you are still making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) you will need to contact your employer to stop them before we can provide a CETV.

To request a CETV online:

  1. Log in to your myRPS account
  2. Go to the myRPS Account menu, and;
  3. Select 'Request a transfer out quote (CETV)' under the 'My Pension' section

You will then get a statement with the value of your BRASS account and details of what to do next.

You can only request one CETV free of charge in any 12 month period, so it’s really important to consider this carefully before you go ahead.

We strongly recommend you get a transfer out estimate first. This will show you the forecasted value of your pension if you choose to transfer it elsewhere. You can get as many estimates as you need, completely free, by logging into your myRPS account and selecting 'request an estimate' under my pension. 

You can read more about the transfers process in the Read as You Need guide to transfer options.

Pension transfers are one of the main routes used by scammers, so please read the pension scams page for details on what to watch out for and how to protect your pension savings.  

Applying to take your BRASS pot

You should apply for your BRASS pot at the same time as you apply to take your DB pension. That’s because you have to take both at the same time. You can find out more on the applying for my pension page.

Alternatively you may choose to transfer your BRASS pot to another arrangement instead. This is explained above. 

It is important you review your investment fund choices before retirement, as the value of your BRASS pot can go down as well as up. If you want to make investment fund changes, you should request this on the member website BEFORE returning your completed retirement option forms. Find out how to check and change funds on the managing my BRASS page

Where possible, we will disinvest your BRASS funds 28 days before your retirement date and hold the money as cash, ready to pay it. This is to protect the funds against market fluctuation in the weeks leading to retirement and enables us to pay your benefits on your chosen retirement date. You cannot change your fund choices when there is less than 28 days to your retirement date, as funds may already be disinvested at this time.

Check how much your BRASS pot is worth

If you’re thinking of taking your BRASS pot and want to know how much it’s worth, you can find out by logging in to your myRPS account.

You can also find more information on the managing my BRASS page.  

A man smiles as he scrolls on a tablet computer
What happens to your BRASS pot if you leave work

If you leave work you cannot continue to pay into BRASS.

Anything you’ve paid into your BRASS pot already will remain invested in your chosen fund/s until you claim your pension or transfer your funds to another arrangement.

You can still change your investment funds even if you’re no longer paying in, so you should continue to check your fund choices regularly to make sure they’re still appropriate for your circumstances. You can learn more on the managing my BRASS page.

If your new employer has a Section in the RPS and you join, then you can restart your BRASS contributions by contacting your employer or payroll office.

In this case, your BRASS pot from each period (i.e. before and after you changed employers) will be kept separate unless you choose to transfer. You can read more about transferring above.

What happens to your BRASS pot if you die

If you die before taking your BRASS pot, the pot would be included within any tax-free cash lump sum paid to your beneficiaries. The tax-free cash lump sum is paid at the discretion of the Trustee.

You can read more on the my pension when I die page

What to read next...