FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently asked questions about changes to your workplace pension plan.
Why are you making the changes?
We're making these changes to improve your plan, including offering you greater flexibility within your existing plan at retirement, through adding a flexible access drawdown option (referred to as flexible income). You'll also be able to remain invested in your plan up to age 99. We are simplifying your plan charges, making them even clearer.
When will the changes happen for me?
These changes will happen automatically.
We'll write to confirm when the changes have been made to your plan.
Will the changes affect the value of my plan?
There will be no change to your plan value as a result of the changes we're making to your plan.
Will my investment options change?
If you could previously choose to invest in our Unitised With Profits fund, it will no longer be available. Access to all other funds is unchanged.
Access to your existing self-select fund range will continue and, if you have a Group Personal Pension, you'll now also have access to some new fund options, which provide access to additional choices. including environmental, social and governance (ESG) options.
- More information on our GPP fund range (PDF, 924KB).
- More information on our GSHP fund range (PDF, 1.1MB).
Will my retirement options still be the same?
We’re adding a flexible access drawdown (which we refer to as flexible income) option to your plan, which allows you to access a tax-free lump sum and/or taxable income from within your current plan from the normal minimum pension age (currently age 55, increasing to age 57 from April 2028), with no additional charges.
You’ll also be able to remain invested in your plan up to the age of 99.
Your retirement options
From age 55 (57 from April 2028), you can choose one or more of the following retirement options. Regardless of which option(s) you choose, you can usually take up to 25% of your pension savings as a tax-free lump sum.
- A guaranteed income for life - buying an annuity will provide you with regular taxable income.
- A flexible income - keep your retirement savings invested and withdraw taxable income when it’s needed.
- Cash sum(s) - take your retirement savings as one or more taxable lump sums (25% will be paid tax-free).
Find out more about all of your retirement options.
Where can I find a copy of the updated Terms & Conditions (T&Cs)?
Please read through your updated T&Cs and keep a copy with your other plan documents. These T&Cs will replace your existing Policy Provisions and may be updated in the future.
Updated GPP T&Cs (PDF, 469KB)
Updated GSHP T&Cs (PDF, 512KB)
If you need us to send you a copy, or need it in an alternative format such as large print or braille, please contact us.
What is the difference between Policy Provisions and Terms & Conditions (T&Cs)?
Policy Provisions was the name we previously used for Terms & Conditions (T&Cs). Going forward these will always be referred to as T&Cs.
What is Accidental Death Benefit (ADB) and what benefits does it provide?
Where ADB applies, if you were to die as a result of an accident, during the ADB period, we'll pay out the higher of the plan value or the ADB amount to your beneficiaries.
Information on ADB cover and how it's calculated is provided in your endorsement and within the T&Cs.
What is integrated flexible access drawdown?
Flexible access drawdown (referred to as flexible income) could allow you to use some or all of your pension savings (referred to as savings account) to provide a flexible income at retirement. We refer to this new feature as flexible income.
You can normally take a tax-free cash lump sum of up to 25% from your pension savings. The rest will remain invested and can be used to provide you with a taxable income as and when you need it. There's no additional charges for accessing drawdown.
Find more information on all of your retirement options including flexible access drawdown.
What is the minimum pot size to access integrated flexible access drawdown?
If you're accessing flexible access drawdown for the first time, the minimum amount you can move to drawdown will be £10,000, including any amount you choose to take as a tax-free cash lump sum. The minimum amount you can subsequently move to drawdown is £2,000 (including any tax-free cash you choose to take) or the full balance of your retirement savings account if less.
You don't need to keep a minimum amount within your retirement savings pot.
How will I be able to access integrated flexible access drawdown?
Contact our Retirement Team on 0345 835 6644. Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
You can also seek financial advice on your retirement options. If you don’t have one you can find one at www.unbiased.co.uk. You should be aware that advisers will normally charge for advice.
What funds can I access in integrated flexible access drawdown?
You'll be able to choose from a range of four investment pathways, each of which is aligned to one of four different ways you might want to use your pension pot to manage your income in retirement. Or you can choose from the full range of self-select funds available to your plan.
More information on our GPP fund range (PDF, 924KB).
More information on our GSHP fund range (PDF, 1MB).
Are there any restrictions on the number of withdrawals I can take each year from drawdown?
You can take regular withdrawals on a monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly basis, subject to a minimum total withdrawal of £2,000 per year. These can be set up or changed at any time.
One-off withdrawals are also available, subject to a minimum of £1,000, and limited to two withdrawals per year.
What other retirement options are available to me?
Find out more about all your retirement options.
Why is there a change to the number of units I hold in each fund (GPP only)?
The changes we’re making to how we deduct charges mean we need to introduce a new fund unit series.
While you will notice a difference to your unit prices and the number of units your plan holds, your overall plan value will not be affected by this change.
We’ll ensure this by allocating units of an equivalent value to your plan. For example, say units in an existing fund series were priced at £1 on the day we introduce the changes, and units in the equivalent new fund series were priced at £0.50 on that day; if your plan held 1,000 units (1,000 x £1 = £1,000) in the existing fund series, we would convert your plan’s holding to 2,000 units in the new fund series (2,000 x £0.50 = £1,000).
Following the unit adjustment, you'll be advised of your new unit holdings and prices in your confirmation letter.
Details of your plan’s unit holdings and prices will also be provided in your annual benefit statement each year.
Where can I find out more about the new fund series and how the funds are performing?
- Find out more information about the GPP fund series
- Find out more information about the GSHP fund series
This is different to the fund series that you have accessed before. The unique identifiers for each fund (SEDOL/ISIN/MEX ID) have changed. It’s important that if you’re searching for details of a specific fund, you use the links above.
In what circumstances can you change my investments?
We can make changes in certain circumstances, such as:
- We may move your plan to an investment strategy chosen by us, should you leave your employer while invested in a lifestyle strategy set up by your former employer or their adviser.
- We may move your plan to an investment strategy chosen by us, if we become aware an adviser is no longer supporting an investment option set up by your employer or their adviser.
We’ll let you know about any such changes.
If you make changes to my investment fund without my consent, can I switch to another fund or investment strategy?
Yes, you can switch to another lifestyle or choose from the self-select fund range available on your plan.
For more information on the different lifestyles available view the Pension Investment Approaches Guide (PDF, 566KB).
Are there any changes to how I can submit investment instructions for my plan?
We'll still accept requests coming in via online, email, post and telephone and how we process them will remain unchanged.
However, when we invest will be slightly different. Where we have a clear instruction and have received everything we need, payments will be invested depending on their payment type:
- Direct Debit payments - buy units at the next business day's unit prices, or the business day after that.
- Cheque payments - buy units at the unit price applying up to two business days after receipt.
- BACS or Faster Payments - buy units at the unit prices applying up to three business days after receipt.
- Investment or disinvestment requests, such as switches or partial encashments, received during business hours will generally be processed using the next business day's unit prices.
If you ask us to pay a one-off advice charge, we'll use the unit prices applying up to three business days after we receive your instruction.
Once available, if you ask to make income payments from your plan we'll sell units up to 11 days in advance of making a payment.
We can only carry out one instruction at a time, so if a transaction is currently being progressed, any new instructions will be delayed until that previous instruction has completed.
Why does it take longer to invest payments not paid by Direct Debit?
Payments received by Direct Debit are available in our bank accounts on the same day. This allows us to initiate the investment instruction.
Payments sent by BACS or Faster Payment are not available in our bank accounts until the next working day. Only once these are visible can we initiate the investment instruction. This means payments submitted by BACS or Faster Payment can take up to an additional three business days to invest.
Are there any changes to how my charges are deducted?
The method we use to take charges from your plan will change. Moving forward, you’ll be able to see the different charges that make up the Total Annual Fund Charge (TAFC) in more detail:
- Annual Management Charges (AMCs) - the cost of managing each investment fund, deducted daily through the calculation of unit prices.
- Fund Expenses (FEs) - any additional costs linked to operating each investment fund, for example: legal, auditor and custodian costs, deducted daily through the calculation of unit prices.
- Fund Based Charge (FBC) - the cost of operating your plan, calculated daily and deducted each month by selling units from your plan. FBCs will be deducted from the least volatile fund your plan invests in (i.e. the fund which is expected to experience the least fluctuations in its unit price over time).
- The sum of these charges will equal the TAFC.
Once the changes have been made, we'll confirm your administration charge (Fund Based Charge) and, for GPP employees, you'll be able to access our Charges Sheet Tool (PDF, 667KB), which enables you to view your overall charge (Total Annual Fund Charge) based on your specific investment fund(s).
I currently have different charges across different types of payments. How will this work going forward?
Where rate of charges for transfer and/or single payments are higher than those for regular payments, we’ll apply the regular payments charge rate to all payment types going forward. This means your overall plan charges won’t increase but could reduce, as shown in the following example.
PAYMENT TYPE CURRENT CHARGE NEW CHARGE
0.35% 0.35% No change SP 0.50% 0.35% Reduced TV 0.50% 0.35% Reduced
Where charges for transfer and/or single payments are lower than those for regular payments, we’ll calculate a new charge rate that will apply to all payment types going forward. We’ll do this by calculating the current charge weightings, based on the current value of your plan derived from each payment type, and using these to help determine the new charge rate, as shown in the following example.
CURRENT VALUE WEIGHTING CURRENT CHARGE
£30,000 41.38% 0.50% 0.44% Reduced SP £17,500 24.14% 0.50% 0.44% Reduced TV £25,000 34.48% 0.35% 0.44% Increased
At the date of change, the overall plan charges won’t be any higher than the current rate of charges. However, your overall plan charges could be higher over time depending on the type of payments you’ve made or make in future.
Where can I find details of my charges?
Depending on your investment, the Annual Management Charge (AMC) and Fund Expenses (FE) can vary. We’ll provide details of the plan charges when we write to you again to confirm the changes to your T&Cs have been made. We'll also provide GPP employees with access to our GPP Charges Sheet Tool (PDF, 667KB) which allows you to view your overall charge (Total Annual Fund Charge) based on your specific investment fund(s).
What advice charge options will be available?
There will be three advice charge options available:
1. Ongoing advice charge – ongoing percentage of the full value of the plan, paid monthly.
2. One-off advice charge – a one-off payment which you can ask us to pay at any time.
3. Initial advice charge – a percentage of transfer value, paid once at the point of transfer.
For ongoing charges (1), only one charge is available per plan. If we receive a subsequent adviser charge request, we’ll cancel the existing charge. This is a change from what happens today.
How does transaction sequencing work?
Currently, you can make multiple investment transactions at the same time. Once the changes have been made, we’ll sequence transaction requests. This means there may be occasions where a transaction is delayed due to another transaction being in progress. If investments are being sold from a plan, you won’t be able to sell any further investments until the transaction in progress has completed.
What is the maximum age I can stay invested in my plan?
You can now choose to remain invested in your plan up to the age of 99. However, from age 75 you won’t be able to make any further payments into your plan.
Why am I unable to make payments to my plan after I'm 75?
Government rules mean payments after age 75 aren't eligible for tax relief, and we're unable to accept such payments to your plan.
I'm 75 before these changes take effect but I don't want an annuity. How do I stay invested in my current plan?
If you turn 75 before these changes are made and would like to remain invested in your pension plan, please contact us on 0345 835 6644. Lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
What retirement options are available to me after 75?
We offer three retirement options from age 75:
- flexible access drawdown;
- take it as cash;
- stay invested (up to age 99).
You may also be able to buy an annuity (a guaranteed income for life) from another provider.
View more information on your retirement options.
What are former protected rights and why are you making changes?
Prior to April 2012, individuals could choose to contract-out of the additional state pension scheme. In return, the Government made payments each year to their pension plan.
Plan benefits built up from these payments were referred to as ‘protected rights’, and had to satisfy certain Government rules when paid out. The Government abolished protected rights in 2012, meaning these benefits are now treated in the same way as all other plan benefits. We’re therefore simplifying the plan documents by removing references to former protected rights. This won’t affect how the plan operates.
What are arrangements and why are you making changes?
To provide you with flexibility when your plan was set up, it was divided into up to 1,000 smaller parts known as 'arrangements'. We can now provide this same flexibility without the need to reference multiple arrangements. We’re therefore simplifying your plan documents by removing references to multiple arrangement(s). This won’t affect how your plan operates.
Why am I getting an updated plan number?
This is for administrative reasons only. Whilst you can still use both numbers, we would encourage you to use the updated number when contacting us.
When will I receive my updated plan number?
We'll write to you to let you know your updated plan number once the changes have been made. All of our future communications will then use this updated plan number.
How will I know when to start using my updated plan number?
Once you’ve received the letter confirming the changes have been made, please start using the updated plan number, to ensure you get to the right person first time.
Don’t worry, we can always find you if you’ve got your existing number or with your personal details.
What changes have been made to the fund range available to me?
Access to your existing self-select fund range will continue and, if you have a Group Personal Pension, you'll now also have access to some new fund options, which provide access to additional choices, including environmental, social and governance (ESG) options.
More information on our GPP fund range (PDF, 924KB).
More information on our GSHP fund range (PDF, 1.1MB).
What other changes are being made to the fund range?
You may also notice changes to some fund names, which have resulted from historic fund manager mergers, acquisitions or re-branding. These changes are outlined in the table below:
CURRENT FUND NAME NEW FUND NAME SW SLI Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) Pension (Series 2) SW ASI Global Absolute Return Strategies CS8 SW Insight Global Absolute Return Fund Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Global Absolute Return CS8 SW Newton Global Equity Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Global Equity CS8 SW Newton Global Higher Income Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Global Income CS8 SW Newton International Bond Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon International Bond CS8 SW Newton Managed Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Managed CS8 SW Newton Real Return Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Real Return CS8 SW Newton Higher Income Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon UK Income CS8 SW Invesco-Perpetual Corporate Bond Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Corporate Bond CS8 SW Invesco-Perpetual Distribution Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Distribution CS8 SW Invesco-Perpetual Global Bond Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Global Bond CS8 SW Invesco-Perpetual High Income Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco High Income CS8 SW Invesco-Perpetual Managed Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Managed CS8 SW Henderson Cautious Managed Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson Cautious Managed CS8 SW Henderson Fixed Interest Monthly Income Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson Fixed Interest Monthly Income CS8 SW Henderson UK Property Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson UK Property CS8 SW Investec Cautious Managed Pension (Series 2) SW Ninety One Cautious Managed CS8 SW Investec Diversified Growth Fund Pension (Series 2) SW Ninety One Diversified Growth CS8 SW Henderson Global Equity Income Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson Global Equity Inc CS8
More information on our GPP fund range (PDF, 924KB).
More information on our GSHP fund range (PDF, 1.1MB)
How do I register for Online Services?
Simply visit the log in page to register and follow the instructions.
I access my pension online, will this service continue to be available?
If you currently use CS Online services, this will no longer be available after the changes have been made. You can continue to access and manage your workplace pension plan with our Employee Digital Services. You can register here - it’s quick to do, you’ll need your:
- Email address
- National Insurance Number
- Your plan number
You can also view your pension through the Scottish Widows App, which is free to download from your iOS or Android App store. You can access the Scottish Widows App with the same details as the Employee Digital Services. The Scottish Widows App can be accessed at UK App Stores only.
Will the digital services be impacted when the changes are being made?
You won't be able to log on to our digital services to view or transact on your pension plan at the time the changes are made.
How will I know when the online services are available to use?
A message will appear on the log-in page to our digital services to remind you of when you won't be able to access this service.
You can contact us.
What do I do if I want to do something while the online services aren't working?
You can contact us.
What should I do if I have any questions or need more information about these changes and my plan?
To find out more you can contact us or visit your scheme microsite.