Frequently asked questions

The administration of Exeter Retirement Saving Scheme (ERSS) is done by Scottish Widows Administration Services Limited, part of the Lloyds Banking Group, and has many years’ experience of managing pension savings. 

If you wish to be in Band 2 then you do not have to do anything as this is the default ( automatic) band.  You can change your band once a year, and tthis will take effect from April.  Eaach year around March time we will let members know that the band change window is open, there is a form that you will need to complete which will be available at that time.  All changes to bands will take effect from the April pay date for the year in which you change band.  A change in band will remain until such time as you elect to change it again.

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, 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.

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.

Investment choice is a personal decision so the University is unable to assist.  However, an Independent Financial Advisor can give you some guidance and if you log into Scottish Widows web pages there are more details about the investment options available.

Yes Scottish Widows have said that they allow unlimited changes for investments.

The Scottish Widows webpages and your account pages have some modellers that you can use with regard to the savings you are making and how changes can affect your benefits.  Use these to assist you in making decisions about your pension benefits.

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 your 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 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.

Yes, the contribution rate (%) shows on your downloadable payslip available on Trent Self Service.

New members are automatically placed into band 2 as the default band, how to change this can be found in an earlier FAQ.

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.