Frequently Asked Questions
Who do I contact if I wish to make a complaint?
The Trustee is committed to resolving issues raised by members and would wish to hear from you if you have a concern. If you have an issue that you wish to raise, please contact ICI Pension Services.
Why can’t I just call up the helpline to change my bank account/address details?
The Trustee takes the security of your personal information very seriously. Given the rise of identity fraud, it is prudent to continue with the current practice of requiring members to request changes to their details in writing with their signature.
What happens if pay day falls on a bank holiday or a weekend?
Pensions are paid on the same day of every month, with the exception of bank holidays and weekends, where you will be paid on the previous working day.
Why has my tax code changed on the P60 you sent me?
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is responsible for allocating tax codes, so any queries about changes to your tax code should be directed to the tax office.
Can I have a new copy of my P60?
You can access your P60 information at any time by logging into electronic Pensions Administration (ePA). Please note, ICI Pensions Services cannot issue members with new P60s, although all the details can be found on ePA.
Why are some early retirement quotes lower than previous quotes I have received, even though I haven’t changed the date at which I retire?
When requesting quotes for early payment of your benefits, the amount of pension quoted reflects the value of your benefits at a particular point in time. In common with all other final salary schemes, this calculation is done using the actuarial factors in force at the time the quote was requested. The amount of pension quoted will also reflect the reduction applied to benefits paid before your normal retirement age, to take into account that they are expected to be paid for longer.
These factors take into account things like the level of return/profit the Fund may expect to receive on its investments and the estimated level of inflation and interest rates that may be applicable during the period until the member retires and the period that the member is expected to receive his or her pension (this will, for example, influence the increases made to that pension before and after it is paid). The Trustee is required by law to take advice from an actuary on these factors and to review them regularly, taking into account changes in the economic environment.
How soon can I take my pension benefits?
The majority of Fund members have a normal retirement age of 62. A change in legislation in 2010 increased the default minimum age for retirement to 55, but the vast majority of ICI Section members (including anyone being made redundant) can still draw their benefits early, from age 50, in accordance with Fund rules.
What is Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)?
GMP is the amount of pension the Fund has to guarantee to those with service between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997, who were contracted-out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). It is meant to be broadly equivalent to the pension you would have earned in SERPS, had you not been contracted-out of SERPS due to your membership of the Fund. GMPs are subject to Government Regulations.
Does the GMP impact my pension increases?
Yes, the increases you receive on your GMP depend on whether you have reached GMP age.
Increases to your pension before reaching GMP age
Your pension, excluding any State Pension Element (SPE) in respect of service before 6 April 1997, will increase by the lower of 5% a year, or the rise in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) over a particular period. Under the Trust Deed, any additional increases from time to time require the consent of both the Company and the Trustee and are at their discretion. If you are in receipt of any SPE in respect of service before 6 April 1997, this will be maintained at the rate quoted to you when you started to receive your pension from the Fund until you reach GMP age.
Increases to your pension after reaching GMP age
When you reach GMP age the relevant elements of your pension will be re-categorised as GMP, split between that in respect of any service prior to 6 April 1988 (Pre 88 GMP) and that in respect of service post 5 April 1988 (Post 88 GMP).
From the November after you reach GMP age your Pre 88 GMP will not be increased by the Fund. You will receive any future increases to this element directly from the State along with your Basic State Pension in the following April. Your Post 88 GMP will be increased by the Fund from the following April at the rate of 3% per year (or the increase in the Consumer Prices Index if less).
The remaining elements of your pension will continue to increase on the same basis as was the case before you reached GMP age.
My annual pension increase letter states that the increase is a certain percentage, although my pension has gone up by less than the amount detailed on the letter. Why is this?
If you are male and over age 65, or female and over age 60, your pension may include an element of Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP – see question ‘What is a GMP’ to find out more). The rate of increase set out in your letter is not applied to your GMP, as this is increased each year in April by an amount specified by the Government.
Consequently your total pension will not have increased by the percentage detailed on your letter, as the Fund increase will only have been applied to the proportion of your pension that is not GMP.
Say that the rate of pension increase in one year was 3.2% (as set out in your annual pension increase letter). This rate of increase is not applied to the GMP element of your pension.
If your pension (before tax and any other deductions) is £100.00 a month and includes an element of GMP of £25.00, then the total annual increase in your pension is calculated as follows:
|Current pension (excluding GMP):||(£100.00 less £25.00)||£75.00|
|Amount of increase at 3.2%:||(£75.00 multiplied by 3.2%)||£2.40|
|Amount of GMP:||£25.00|
|Total monthly pension payable from date of increase (before tax) is:||£102.40|
My pension went up twice in the same year; why was this?
This is likely to be because you are either a male and over age 65, or a female and over age 60, and your pension includes an element of GMP. The GMP element is increased at a different time to the rest of your pension each year, so if you have an element of GMP in your Fund pension, you will have two pension increases from the Fund each year.
My pension also went up in April. Why was this?
If your pension includes an element of GMP, the GMP is increased in April by an amount specified by the Government.
When I receive a pension increase, does the pension that would be payable to my spouse increase too?
Yes. The pension that would be payable to your spouse (or civil partner), after your death, would be increased by the same percentage.
I commuted part of my pension. Does this affect the amount by which my pension is increased?
If your pension came into payment before 6 April 2006 and you commuted part of your pension for a cash lump sum when you retired, the increase has been calculated using the pension you would have been receiving had you not exchanged some of your pension for the cash lump sum. However, if your pension came into payment on or after 6 April 2006 and you commuted part of your pension for a cash lump sum when you retired, the increase is based on the pension you are actually receiving.
I haven’t filled in a Nominated Dependant’s pension – Nomination form – do I need to?
It is much better to complete a Nominated Dependant’s pension – Nomination form so the Fund is clear about your wishes. The Trustee has the discretion to award a nominated dependant’s pension even if you haven’t completed a Nominated Dependant’s pension – Nomination form. This will also cover death-in-service benefits.
It is important to remember to update this form if your personal circumstances change.
Can I be sure that the Fund will look after my partner if I die first?
If you are married or in a civil partnership at the time of your death, your spouse or civil partner will usually be entitled to a pension based on your pension entitlement.
Any pension payable to your spouse or civil partner may be reduced at the discretion of the Trustee if:
- your spouse or civil partner is more than 15 years younger than you;
- you are a pensioner and you married or entered into a civil partnership, while receiving your pension, less than six months before your death; or
- you are a pensioner and you married or entered into a civil partnership, while receiving your pension, to a spouse or civil partner who is more than 10 years younger than you.
If you would like to know more, contact ICI Pensions Services.
If you are not married or in a civil partnership but have a partner, they may still be able to obtain a nominated dependant’s pension. However, this is not payable automatically. Your partner will have to apply for this benefit and show that they meet all the relevant criteria. In broad terms, this means that they will have to show that they were financially dependent on you at the time of your death and also that they cannot meet their future living expenses without assistance from the Fund. Other eligibility rules also apply, so this means there is no guarantee that they would receive a pension. Where a nominated dependant’s pension is awarded, they may not receive the same level of pension as a spouse or civil partner.
Usually, we will pay a nominated dependant’s pension to the person listed on the Nominated Dependant’s pension – Nomination form completed by the member, if they meet the criteria. However, the Trustee has the power to pay this pension to anyone it considers appropriate and who meets all the relevant criteria.
Decisions regarding nominated dependants’ pensions are made based on your partner’s eligibility at the time of your death, so we cannot say in advance whether they would qualify.
Note: Benefits payable upon your death can vary and there may be other circumstances where the benefits that your spouse/dependant/ beneficiary receives are different to those described above.
What is ePA (electronic Pension Administration)?
The ePA system was introduced to allow members to view their pension details online. It is not intended to replace any form of postal communication. The ePA system will allow you to check that your personal details are correct. It is also able to provide:
- pay and tax details for pensioner members;
- a summary of transfers in and the current value of pension benefits for deferred members; and
- pensionable pay history for contributing members, who can also request a retirement benefit estimate online using ePA.