Frequently asked questions

The administration of Exeter Retirement Saving Scheme (ERSS) will be transferring to Scottish Widows Administration Services Limited following Scottish Widows' acquisition of Zurich’s UK workplace pensions business. Scottish Widows, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, has many years’ experience of managing pension savings. There is nothing that ERSS members need to do as a result of this change. 

As Scottish Widows has bought Zurich’s UK workplace pensions business members will notice Scottish Widows' branding replacing Zurich on the scheme members' webpages and in other communications from April 2018.  There is nothing that ERSS members need to do as a result of this change. Your pension savings  will continue to be looked after by the same staff that look after ERSS today. The arrangements for benefits, services and charges agreed between the University and Zurich when ERSS was introduced in 2017 will continue to apply. Scottish Widows are writing to all members to explain the changes. ERSS members who have any questions should get in touch.

If you wish to be in Band 3 then you do not have to do anything as this is the default ( automatic) band.  You can change your band once a year, and take effect from April. If you wish to pay more or less into the scheme each month from April 2018 you need to complete an ERSS contribution choice form which you can download from the website http://www.exeter.ac.uk/pensions/erss/#tab3. Please send your completed form to pensions@exeter.ac.uk to arrive no later than Friday 20 April 2018

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.

Information about this will be made clear to you in the Welcome Pack that you will get from the administrators (Zurich / Scottish Widows) when you first start paying into the ERSS. You will be able to log into your account 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.

We are keen 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 arranged for Scottish Widows to come to campus when the scheme launched and will be hosting repeat visits with Scottish Widows in Spring 2018. 

Yes the ERSS 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.

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 Scottish Widows 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.

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 ERSS as you are still classified as an active member.

The money will remain in the Zurich/Scottish Widows 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/Scottish Widows 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 soon.

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.

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.

In April 2018 Scottish Widows acquired the Zurich workplace pensions saving business.  More details about the acquisition and how this affects your ERSS membership can be found at the following:  Scottish Widows acquisition of Zurich, Scottish Widows LeafletZurich Q&A - Change in Administrator and Zurich Members letter - sent to all members about the change in Administration.