Frequently asked questions

We will be sending out letters to colleagues with a form for you to indicate which band you wish to be in- there will be a deadline date for returning the forms. If you wish to be in Band 3 then you do not have to do anything as this will be the default ( automatic) band that we will put staff into from 1st December 2016.

The scheme will allow you to elect to change your band once a year, details of the exact time of year you will be able to do this will be advised to members soon.

These benefits will be frozen for you in the old arrangement, each member will get a statement of the benefits that are in this scheme, it is anticipated that these statements will be sent out during February and March and will contain full details of the benefits that you have accumulated up to the 30 November 2016.

At first there will be a default fund that all members will join, information about this will be made clear to you in the Welcome Pack that you will get from the Zurich when you first start paying into the ERSS. You will be able to log into your account with the Zurich and review in full their investment options, should you wish to invest in something other than the default choice you can select another through the web site.

Yes, the Zurich believe in ensuring that members are aware of what their scheme is, how it works, what benefits you could receive and what changes you can make. The University have arranged for the Zurich to come to campus and you can see the full schedule on our webpages.

Yes the Zurich scheme will accept transfers from other schemes.

It is normally the transferring scheme ( your old scheme) that will ask if you have sought and received financial advice before they will release any funds. It is always advisable to get independent financial advice from an authorised IFA before you proceed with any transfer of benefits. The University is not authorised to give any financial advice to members.

Yes the ERSS will accept extra payments above the 8% if you wish, these will be classified as Additional Voluntary Contributions. The University does not pay any extra above the amount of the band you have chosen if you elect to pay Additional Voluntary Contributions.

We will be continuing salary exchange for pension contributions under the new scheme.

Benefits under the closed ERBS arrangement are payable at any time from age 55 – this is an HMRC age rule. Any benefits paid before age 65 will be subject to an actuarial reduction for early payment- this will apply to the deferred (frozen/preserved) benefits under ERBS. Benefits paid before age 65 will need the agreement of the Trustee of the ERBS before they can be taken. You do not need to seek the agreement of the University to take the deferred ( frozen/preserved) ERBS benefits.

No you can take them separately if you wish. See the answer under “when can I access my ERBS pension” for more details.

No – if you opt out of band 4 at any time after the 30 April 2017 you will NOT be allowed to opt back in. The ability to opt for band 4 will only be available until the 30 April 2017.

Yes anyone who is currently in the ERBS scheme – as long as you joined before the 30 November 2016 will be eligible to opt for band 4, there is no time requirement of ERBS membership you just have to be an active member of ERBS on the 30 November 2016.

The University will be meeting any administration charges in full for the closed ERBS arrangement, these will be paid separately by the University.

No, you will get a separate statement of your ERBS preserved benefits from the pension scheme administrators, the Zurich welcome pack will only be for your new ERSS membership.

The Zurich will be coming to the Uni in January 2017 and will explain more about investment options then, however if you log into the web address we have given for the Zurich then there are more details about the investment options available as well as a simple q&a document to assess your view on investment and risks which you can also use.

Yes the Zurich have said that they allow unlimited changes for investments.

Yes – once a year you will be able to change the band that you are in, the exact time of this has yet to be finalised but we will let colleagues know when this is and give you advanced notice each year that the window to change your band is open.

If you look at the Zurich web pages then there is a tool that you can use to look at how your contributions and investments could work for you , here you can put in differing amounts of contributions to see what happens.

Yes there is no need for you and no intention from the University to stop paying into the ERSS if you reach 40 years of membership in the scheme.

Yes – although you ceased your contributions when you got to 40 years membership of ERBS you can commence contributions again under the new ERSS and elect band 4 if you wish as you are still classified as an active member.

The money will remain in the Zurich ERSS arrangement, however as this is an individual account specific to each member you will be able to continue to look at the details on the Zurich ERSS web page and also consider personally putting more funds into the individual account if you wish.

When you take pension benefits from any private or company pension arrangement this information is given to HMRC by the pension scheme administrators and the employer, HMRC will then automatically give a tax code to one of the pension amounts, the state pension is paid tax free by the government but is still counted towards any taxable benefits. If you wish HMRC to apply your individual tax code to a particular pension payment then you can contact them direct and discuss with them your tax code and the application of it to any earnings you have.

The amount you pay to the ERSS is taken from your gross pay before any tax is calculated, this means that you end up paying lower tax on your pay. As a simple example if you are a standard 20% tax payer then for every £100 that goes into the pension scheme from you, your tax is reduced by £20 so in effect whilst the full £100 would be invested in the ERSS you only pay £80.00 from your take home pay.

No you do not pay NI on your pension contributions if you are a member of the pensions salary exchange scheme.

We are working on getting either the band or the percentage you pay showing on your payslip, this has not yet been resolved but would hope that it is sorted out by the time the scheme starts.

We will be writing to all members before the 15th December to confirm the band that you have selected- if this is incorrect then you should contact the payroll team immediately to get this corrected.