FAQs: Concord pension account

What is the Concord pension account?

Concord is a defined contribution pension scheme provided through the Legal & General Master Trust. For information about plan charges and investment options, please visit Legal &
General’s website
.

Why have I been put into the Concord pension account?

Employers use the Concord scheme to provide a pension for staff who do not qualify for membership of classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos, alpha or partnership.

How much do I have to contribute?

Your employer sets the member contribution level. Your employer will also make sure that the contribution rates are in line with regulatory requirements. Details of contribution rates will have been provided to you when you were offered your current role. If you cannot locate these details then you can do the following:

  • contact your employer; or
  • login to ‘Manage Your Account’ on Legal & General’s website (if you have received your membership certificate).

What will my employer contribute?

Your employer sets the member contribution level. Your employer will also make sure that the contribution rates are in line with regulatory requirements. Details of contribution rates will have been provided to you when you were offered your current role. If you cannot locate these details then you can do the following:

  • contact your employer; or
  • login to ‘Manage Your Account’ on Legal & General’s website (if you have received your membership certificate).

How do I join the Concord pension account?

If you are eligible to join, you will have been either automatically enrolled into the scheme, or you will have been given the right to join by your employer when you started employment. 

Please speak to your employer if you have previously opted-out of the Concord scheme and wish to re-enrol.

How do I choose what to invest in?

Your contributions will be invested in Legal & General’s default fund: the Legal & General Pathway fund. 

However, if you wish, you can choose your own investment from the investment range available. Legal & General’s Your guide to investing contains details of the default fund and their full investment range.

Please read the investment guide carefully before making your decision. 

Please note: the value of some investments can go down as well as up and you should review your investments regularly.

You may also wish to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making your choice. See the Financial Conduct Authority website for tips on how to find an adviser.

Do I have to choose an investment fund?

Unless you tell us otherwise, your contributions will be invested in Legal & General’s default fund: the Legal & General Pathway fund.

Legal & General’s Your guide to investing contains details of the default fund.

Please note: the value of some investments can go down as well as up and you should review your investments regularly.

You may also wish to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making your choice. See the Financial Conduct Authority website for tips on how to find an adviser. 

How do I change or switch my investment funds?

You can instruct Legal & General to:

  • direct future contributions to be invested in different investment funds; and/or
  • switch part or all of your existing pension pot to different investments.

Please visit Legal & General’s website for details of the following:

  • how to request a change;
  • the Concord default fund; and
  • Legal & General’s full investment range.

Please read Legal & General’s Your guide to investing before deciding where to invest your fund. 

Please note: the value of some investments can go down as well as up and you should review your investments regularly.

You may also wish to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making your choice. See the Financial Conduct Authority website for tips on how to find an adviser.

What happens if I die?

If you die before you take your retirement benefits, a lump sum will be payable.

The Trustees of the Legal & General Master Trust will use their discretion as to who to pay the benefits to, but will take your wishes into account.

This means that the benefits paid this way do not form part of the estate and are therefore not normally assessable for inheritance tax.

To nominate someone to receive these benefits, simply complete Legal & General’s Nomination of beneficiary form. If your circumstances change at any time, you should complete this form again to change your beneficiary.

What happens if I leave service?

The contributions into your pension account will stop when you leave, but your fund will continue to earn investment returns.  Alternatively, you can transfer your fund to another pension provider.

If you get a new job you may be able to transfer your fund to your new employer’s pension scheme. This will depend on the particular arrangements of your employer’s scheme. The choice is yours, but, if you are considering transferring your fund, make sure you understand what you are giving up and what you are getting in return.

Do I get tax relief on my contributions?

Your employer’s contributions are based on your your gross pay (pay before tax). However, your own contributions are taken from you after you have paid tax.

You pay a reduced contribution, which takes account of the tax relief that the pension provider will claim back on your behalf. Therefore, for example, if you wanted to pay £100 we would take £80 from your net pay (£100 less £20 basic rate income tax). The pension provider would then claim back £20 from HM Revenue & Customs, so the total amount going into your pension fund based on your contributions would be £80 + £20 = £100.

If you are a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer, you should contact HM Revenue & Customs to claim the extra tax relief.

How do I make my payments?

Your employer will take regular (normally monthly) contributions from your pay and pay it automatically to your chosen provider.

Do I pay National Insurance on my contributions?

Yes, you pay National Insurance (NI) contributions at the standard rate.

How can I find out how my fund is performing?

Legal & General will provide you with a statement each year. This will show the value of your fund and the contributions you have paid, together with an idea of what this may mean in pension terms at pension age. You must tell Legal & General whenever you change your address.

You can also view the performance of each of the funds on Legal & General’s website

Together with financial advisers, we will constantly review the investment and administrative performance of the providers and report this to the Civil Service Pensions Board.

Once you have received your membership certificate, you can track the performance of your fund by registering on the Manage Your Account facility on Legal & General’s website.

When can I access my money?

Under current legislation, you can draw your Concord pension at any time from age 55.

You do not have to retire to take your pension. You choose the timing to fit in with your personal circumstances. You can also decide if you want to provide a pension for your dependants after your death.

If you are age 50 or over, or are retiring on ill health grounds, you can get free impartial guidance on your options by booking an appointment with Pension Wise – a free and impartial government service that can help you understand the options for your pension pot. Appointments are available by telephone or face-to-face and take about 45 minutes.  Further details are available on the Pension Wise website.

How do I access my money?

You can usually take up to 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum although you are not required to do so.

Your options for the remaining fund after any tax-free cash has been taken are listed below.

  • A regular income payable for life, also known as an annuity. You can select options to allow the income to increase with inflation and/ or to provide benefits following your death.
  • A flexible income via income drawdown. This allows you to withdraw regular income, payable either monthly or yearly, or to take unlimited withdrawals. There may be minimum withdrawal amounts imposed by the providers. (F)
  • Take your full fund as a cash lump sum. (F)
  • A combination of the options listed above.

You may have to transfer your Concord pension account to a different pension arrangement before you can exercise some of these options. Your provider will be able to tell you more about this.

Other than a tax-free cash lump sum, all withdrawals are treated as taxable UK income. Additionally, if you take money from your account under a flexible option (marked F above) you may be subject to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance. More information about this can be found on the Tax on your private pension page on the GOV.UK website.

If you are age 50 or over, or are retiring on ill health, you can get free impartial guidance on your options by booking an appointment with Pension Wise – a free and impartial government service that helps you understand the options for your pension pot. Appointments are available by telephone or face-to-face and take about 45 minutes. Further details are available on the Pension Wise website.

I am unable to work due to ill health. Can I access my pension early?

If you are unable to work due to ill health, you may be able to take your pension benefits early. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has specific criteria that you must meet in order for you to access your funds before age 55. Legal & General will be able to confirm whether you meet the criteria.

You can get free impartial guidance about your pension options by booking an appointment with Pension Wise - the government’s free and impartial government service that helps you understand the options for your pension pot. Appointments are available by telephone or face-to-face and take about 45 minutes. Further details are available on the Pension Wise website.

Will the government guarantee my pension?

The government cannot guarantee your pension.

How big will my pension pot be?

The amount of your pension pot will depend on:

  • the amount of money invested in your fund;
  • the performance of your investment fund; and
  • when you decide to take your pension – that is, how long the money remains invested.

It is important that you give your pension fund a regular health check over the years to make sure you are on track to get the size of fund that you want. You will receive annual statements that show the value of your fund to help you with this. Remember, contributions made while you are young are going to have more years to grow with investment returns.

You may also wish to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making your choice. See the Financial Conduct Authority’s website for tips on finding an adviser.

Do I have to retire from my job before I access my money?

No. Drawing your pension does not have to be linked to retiring from work.

If I am changing the number of hours I work, how does this affect my Concord pension account?

The contributions to your Concord Pension Account are based on a
percentage of your full-time equivalent pensionable earnings. If you change your hours, your contribution rate will not change, but the actual amount you pay will.

If I get divorced, what happens to my Concord pension account?

If you are going through a divorce, dissolution or annulment, the Concord pension account could be subject to an earmarking order or a pension sharing order. This means that the Court presiding over your divorce or dissolution settlement may award your spouse or civil partner some of your pension and/or lump sum.

Your solicitor can provide you with further details of the different options and how they will affect you in your circumstances.

I need to report the death of a member, how do I do this?

Is there anyone I can talk to about my pension?

You may wish to speak to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) to review your pension savings. See the Financial Conduct Authority website for tips on finding an adviser. 

The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) provides information and guidance to help make you make informed decisions about your pensions and retirement plans.

TPAS is an independent organisation that is grant-aided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk 

Your options at retirement

If you are 50 or over, or are retiring on ill health grounds, you can get free and impartial guidance on your options by booking an appointment with Pension Wise. Appointments are available by telephone and face-to-face and take about 45 minutes.  Further details are available on the Pension Wise website.