This Notice will be of particular interest to:
- HR Managers and staff who have responsibility for recruitment and appointments
- Staff who have responsibility for the administration of the partnership pension account
- Payroll Managers and staff who handle payments to the money purchase providers
To note the following:
- The Prudential is resigning as administrator and provider of the TUC stakeholder scheme (one of the partnership pension account arrangements) with effect from 5 April 2014
- The TUC Trustees have decided to wind up the TUC stakeholder scheme
- The TUC Trustees have appointed Legal & General as the replacement provider to accept accrued funds for current TUC/Prudential members who do not make an active choice to transfer elsewhere
With effect from 1 October 2013:
- no new entrants can join the TUC/Prudential partnership arrangement, and
- no PCSPS members can switch into the TUC/Prudential partnership arrangement
- To note that we will issue a further EPN in due course setting out the required payroll actions in respect of employer (and employee) contributions
The TUC/Prudential partnership arrangement will close to new entrants, and PCSPS members wanting to switch to partnership, from 1 October 2013
BackgroundThe Prudential is currently the provider and Administrator for the TUC Stakeholder Pension Scheme, one of the Civil Service’s partnership pension account arrangements. TUC Trustees Ltd (TUCT) is the Trustee for this scheme.
- The Prudential has confirmed to TUCT, and to Cabinet Office, that they will be resigning as Administrator (and provider) for the TUC Stakeholder Scheme with effect from 5 April 2014 and that they require all TUC funds held with them to be transferred
out by that date.
- Following the Prudential’s announcement, the TUCT has taken the decision to wind up the TUC Stakeholder Scheme.
- The Stakeholder Pension Scheme Regulations require the TUCT to put all necessary arrangements in place before they can take the formal decision to wind up the scheme. As part of this, TUCT must arrange for the transfer of all accrued TUC Stakeholder
funds to alternative schemes.
- Members must be given a four month period in which to select a provider to receive their accrued funds and, unless it is not lawful to comply with the member’s direction, TUCT must comply with the member’s wishes.
- If a member does not make a choice, or cannot be traced, TUCT has the right to transfer their accrued funds to a default provider that they have selected. TUCT has selected Legal & General (L&G) as their default provider for this purpose.
- Implications for the Civil Service
Before the partnership arrangements were introduced in 2002, Cabinet Office undertook a full procurement exercise in order to appoint a panel of providers that members wanting to open a partnership account could choose from. The TUC
Stakeholder Scheme, provided and administered by Prudential, was selected as part of this process.
- The Civil Service is one of many employers participating in the TUC Stakeholder Scheme. The decision on the default provider to be appointed to receive accrued funds from the Prudential rested solely with the TUCT. Cabinet Office took advice on
the implications for the Civil Service of the TUCT’s chosen default provider (L&G). This EPN, and the options open to members, is based on the advice received whilst being mindful of practical considerations.
- The TUCT has selected a provider that:
- is not on the panel of Civil Service partnership providers, and
- cannot be appointed to the panel because L&G were not selected as a result of a Cabinet Office procurement process.
- As L&G cannot be appointed to the panel of partnership providers, the following will apply:
- no new entrants to the Civil Service will be able to join L&G, and
- no existing members of the main Civil Service pension scheme, Scottish Widows partnership arrangement or Standard Life partnership arrangement will be able to switch to L&G.
- However, L&G will be able to:
- accept transfers of accrued funds in respect of deferred TUC/Prudential members who select L&G or who do not make an active choice to transfer to another provider,
- accept transfers of accrued funds in respect of active TUC/Prudential members who select L&G or who do not make an active choice to transfer to Scottish Widows or Standard Life, and
- receive on-going Civil Service employer (and employee) contributions in respect of active members transferring from the Prudential.
- TUCT and Prudential will send an initial letter to all members of the TUC Stakeholder Scheme (copied to all participating employers) by the end of September. This first letter will briefly tell members what is happening and why, provide reassurance, give a Prudential contact number for queries and tell members that they will receive a full options pack by the end of October.
- The options pack that will be sent to members by the end of October will contain information from TUCT, Prudential, L&G and Cabinet Office. This will ensure that our affected partnership members are made aware of the specific options that are
available to them as Civil Servants.
- Meanwhile, the TUC Stakeholder scheme is effectively closed to all new entrants to the Civil Service (and to those wishing to switch) with effect from 1 October 2013. We do not want members to be disadvantaged by joining the TUC/Prudential arrangement, only to be told very soon afterwards that the arrangement they have joined is closing and they must transfer elsewhere.
- Cabinet Office was unable to give earlier notice of the closure of the TUC/Prudential arrangement. We were only told of the TUCT’s decision to appoint L&G on 6 September and the TUCT did not want us to tell our employers anything before the
TUCT and Prudential had sent out their first communication.
- Cabinet Office has instructed MyCSP to work with St Ives (the scheme print provider) to change the new entrant starter packs to reflect the fact that the only partnership options open to new entrants from 1 October 2013 will be those with Scottish Widows
and Standard Life.
- There may be some new entrants who are within their first three months of service who return a completed Pension Choices form stating they would like a partnership pension account with TUC/Prudential, as they received their new entrant pack before
the changes outlined above were implemented. In these cases, you should write to them as soon as possible to explain that the TUC/Prudential arrangement has closed and asking them to make a new choice between Standard Life and Scottish Widows.
You should enclose a new Pension Choices form (and pre-paid envelope) for them to complete and return, and remind them to enclose a completed application form for their (new) chosen provider.
- Indicative timetable
As set out in paragraph 12, TUCT and Prudential will be writing to all participating members and employers (including each Civil Service employer with active TUC/Prudential partnership members) by the end of September to tell them of their
decision to wind up the TUC Stakeholder scheme.
- Full information packs to members will go out by the end of October to give the statutory notification of the default provider selected by the Trustee and to invite members to select an alternative provider of their own choice.
- Under the Regulations, members must be given a four months’ window to nominate an alternative provider to accept their accrued funds. Notice of this can be given before the wind-up is triggered. The four month period will expire at the end of February 2014. The Prudential will then arrange to transfer funds to nominated alternative providers.
- The formal wind-up decision will be made and the default bulk transfer will take place by the end of March 2014.
- Once the formal decision to commence winding up is made the Trustee (and therefore the TUC Stakeholder scheme) will not be able to accept any further employee or employer contributions.
- We will be updating the Employers’ Pension Guide in due course.
- We will also issue a further EPN in due course setting out the required payroll actions in respect of employer (and employee) contributions.
You can find electronic copies of the Employers’ Pension Guide, all current EPNs and forms on our website.
Enquiries about the distribution or content of this EPN, or to receive it in a different format, should be sent to SMEEmployers@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk
This notice is for employers and should not be issued to scheme members.
If members have any queries about their scheme, you should direct them to your MyCSP Pension Service Centre for information.