Frequently asked questions

Workplace Pension Scheme

  • What impact will these changes have on clients and their employees?

    We're constantly reviewing our Workplace Pension offering to help us meet customer and market demands. Through these changes, we'll enhance the features of our workplace pensions, at no extra cost.

    For example, employees will benefit from greater flexibility at retirement through the introduction of integrated flexible access drawdown (referred to as flexible income) and they'll also be able to remain invested in their plan up to age 99 before taking benefits. In addition, our charges will become more transparent.

    Our reviews also consider current features and in some cases we adapt or remove features, such as consolidating our range of advice charge options and removing access to our Unitised With Profit fund.

  • When will this service be available to employees?

    You can find out the dates here.


    How will employees be able to access integrated flexible access drawdown?

    Once available, employees can access this service by contacting our Retirement Team on 0345 835 6644. Lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.


    What is the minimum pot size to access integrated flexible access drawdown?

    If accessing drawdown for the first time, the minimum amount an employee can move into drawdown is £10,000, including any tax-free cash amount the employee chooses to take.

    If they only use part of their pension pot, the minimum amount they can subsequently move to drawdown is £2,500 (including any tax-free cash amount the employee chooses to take) or the full balance of their retirement savings, if less.

    There's no minimum amount that needs to be retained within their retirement savings pot.


    Can employees access drawdown now?

    Yes, until integrated flexible access drawdown is added to their plans, employees can access drawdown by moving to our Retirement Account plan. To do so, they'll need to contact our Retirement Team on 0345 835 6644. Lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.


    What investment options will be available in drawdown?

    Employees will be able to access our Investment Pathways as well as the full range of self-select funds available through their current plan.

  • How long does the ADB cover last?

    Employees, whose plans were set up on or before 28th January 2022, will have ADB added or extended on their plan for 5 years. All new employees joining on or after 29th January 2022 will also qualify for ADB for the first 5 years of their plan.

  • What does your investment governance look like?

    A strong governance and control framework lies at the heart of what we do, to ensure our funds meet operational due diligence requirements, including compliance with regulations, perform in line with their intended aims and risk profiles, and deliver good customer outcomes.

    Our fund governance delivers:

    • thorough and stringent fund manager oversight
    • careful monitoring of performance and risk profiles to ensure funds remain aligned to customer expectations
    • for our mandated funds, clear instructions and parameters for fund managers
    • for our key multi-asset funds, longer-term asset allocation decisions, plus oversight of tactical asset allocation, aiming to benefit from shorter-term opportunities
    • a dedicated in-house fund selection and governance team, via the Investment Office. The team ensures that Scottish Widows’ range of external fund links, together with other strategies in scope, are fit for purpose including meeting Operational Due Diligence standards.


    What changes are you making to investment governance?

    In future we'll be able to automatically switch employees to our default investment strategy without prior consent. There are two scenarios where we may do this:

    •  We'll be able to move employees, should they leave their employer and be invested in a bespoke lifestyle.
    •  If we become aware an adviser is no longer supporting a bespoke strategy, we're able to switch to our default investment strategy.

    We’ll write to employees to explain the changes we’re making to their default investment strategy.

  • What changes are being made to the fund range?

    Access to clients' existing self-select fund range will continue and for GPP clients, they'll also have access to our extended fund range.

    Our extended self-select fund range provides your clients' employees with access to a range of funds, across a variety of assets and sectors, including options which could allow them to choose to invest their pension based on their current environmental, social and ethical views/beliefs.

    Your clients' employees may also notice changes to some fund names, which has resulted because of changes to Fund Managers. The funds changed are outlined in the table below:

    Current fund name New fund name
    SW SLI Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) Pension (Series 2)  SW ASI Global Absolute Return Strategies CS8
    SW Insight Global Absolute Return Fund Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Global Absolute Return CS8
    SW Newton Global Equity Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Global Equity CS8
    SW Newton Global Higher Income Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Global Income CS8
    SW Newton International Bond Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon International Bond CS8
    SW Newton Managed Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Managed CS8
    SW Newton Real Return Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon Real Return CS8
    SW Newton Higher Income Pension (Series 2) SW BNY Mellon UK Income CS8
    SW Invesco-Perpetual Corporate Bond Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Corporate Bond CS8
    SW Invesco-Perpetual Distribution Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Distribution CS8
    SW Invesco-Perpetual Global Bond Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Global Bond CS8
    SW Invesco-Perpetual High Income Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco High Income CS8
    SW Invesco-Perpetual Managed Pension (Series 2) SW Invesco Managed CS8
    SW Henderson Cautious Managed Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson Cautious Managed CS8
    SW Henderson Fixed Interest Monthly Income Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson Fixed Interest Monthly Income CS8
    SW Henderson UK Property Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson UK Property CS8
    SW Investec Cautious Managed Pension (Series 2) SW Ninety One Cautious Managed CS8
    SW Investec Diversified Growth Fund Pension (Series 2) SW Ninety One Diversified Growth CS8
    SW Henderson Global Equity Income Pension (Series 2) SW Janus Henderson Global Equity Inc CS8


    Read more information on our GPP fund offering (PDF, 924KB).

    Read more information on our GSHP fund offering (PDF, 976KB).

     

    Will the fund range be the same for Group Personal Pension and Group Stakeholder Pension?

    No, the GSHP fund range will remain as it is today.

     

    How did Scottish Widows make the decision on the new funds that employees will receive?

    We carried out an extensive internal review of our existing fund range and we’re excited to now be able to offer an extended range of self-select funds which includes a number of sustainable and ethical (thematic) fund options covering a range of asset classes. This is in addition to the fund options employees can currently access. The evolution of our fund range provides employees with greater choice over key asset classes and sectors:

    • Sustainable and thematic
    • Ethical and Shariah
    • Active and passive managed
    • Equitiy funds, bonds, property, multi-asset and money market.
    •  

    Where can I find information on the extended fund range?

    You can find more information about the full fund range available to GPP clients here (PDF, 1MB).

     

    When will the extended fund range be available?

    Access to the extended fund range will be made available at the time of change for each GPP scheme and their employees.

     

    Where can I find out how the funds are performing?

    You can find out this information here

     

  • How will the new charging structure work?

    After we make the changes to plan T&Cs, employees will be able to see the different charges that make up the Total Annual Fund Charge (TAFC) more clearly, as detailed below:

    • Annual Management Charges (AMCs) – the cost of managing each investment fund, deducted daily through the price of funds.
    • Fund Expenses (FEs) – additional costs linked to operating each investment fund, deducted daily through the unit price.
    • Fund Based Charge (FBC) - the cost of the scheme, calculated daily and charged monthly.­

    The sum of these charges will equal the Total Annual Fund Charge (TAFC).

     

    How are you simplifying the different levels of charging on different payment types?

    At the moment, employees can pay different levels of charges on different payment types – regular, single and transfer payments. Moving forward, we’re going to simplify this approach meaning the same charge levels will apply to all payment types.

    • For employees who currently pay a higher single payment (SP) / transfer payment (TV) than their regular payment (RP), moving forward the RP charge will apply across all 3 payment methods. This means employees will see a reduction in charges if they have made and/or make any future TV or SP payments.
    • For employees who currently pay a lower SP/TV than their RP charge, a new blended rate will apply across all payment types. This means that employees won't see any immediate increase in overall charges. Moving forward, their RP charge will reduce but could see an increase in future, depending on the type of future payment they make and how they're invested.

     

    Are you blending at the scheme level or employee level?

    Where a blending of existing charges applies, this will be at a plan (employee) level.

     

    Within the same scheme, can employees have different charges from each other?

    Yes. Employees could have different charges based on historical scheme charges, the types of payments they have paid and the funds they have invested in.

     

  • You have advised that you're rationalising the advice charge range. How can I find out if my current option is still available?

    If you were utilising an advice charge option that was removed, we'll have already contacted you to explain what you need to do.

    There are three advice charge options now available:

    1. ongoing advice charge - ongoing percentage of the (full) retirement savings plan value, paid monthly

    2. one-off advice charge - a one-off payment, which you can ask us to pay at any time

    3. initial advice charge - a percentage of transfer value, paid once at the point of transfer.

    For ongoing charges (1), only one charge is available per plan. If we receive a subsequent advice charge request, we’ll cancel the existing charge. This is a change from what happens today.

     

    Are advice charges available on Drawdown?

    One-off advice charge can be used if an employee chooses to go into flexible access drawdown.

  • Why are you no longer supporting UWP funds?

    We periodically review the range of funds we offer to new and existing customers.  We haven't offered the UWP fund to GPP employees since 2012 and have never offered the fund to GSHP.  We've now decided to remove access to UWP for customers.

     

    How does the removal of Unitised With Profits (UWP) impact employees?

    We wrote to all employers and employees with UWP investments in November 2020, to let them know we've removed UWP as an investment option and what we've done on their behalf.

    Employees' plans with UWP investments were detached from their employers' workplace pensions and established as individual pension plans. A new plan was created within their employer's pension scheme to accept all future contributions. Future contributions were initially invested in line with the scheme default, but employees had the option to select an alternative.

    Each affected employee now has 2 plans which they can view side by side through our online services.

     

    Will employees lose their guarantees, terminal bonuses or be impacted by Market Value Reductions (MVR)?

    Any entitlement to terminal bonus won’t be impacted as the employees pension pot will continue to invest in UWP, however no further payments facilitated by the employer will be invested into UWP.

    Employees can choose to make personal or transfer payments to their plan invested in the UWP Fund, if they wish.

    If employees transfer or take their UWP benefits at a date other than a no-MVR guarantee date, then any MVRs in force will apply.

    You can also find out more in our Your Guide to With-Profits here (PDF, 547KB).

     

  • What Fund Series are currently available to Workplace products and how will this differ following these changes?

    • GPP New Business will use Series CS7.
    • Existing GPPs will move from Series 2 to Series CS8
    • Existing GSHP will move from Series 3 to Series CS9.

    Series 2 and 3 will remain in place to support our longstanding products.

     

    Why are the existing GPP clients getting a different fund series from new business GPP?

    New schemes will only have access to our extended fund range. We believe this provides a comprehensive investment choice.

    Existing GPP employees will continue to have access to all of the funds they currently do, plus additional funds in our extended fund range.

     

    Will employees lose all fund performance history by establishing a new fund series?

    No. We’ll be using Series 2 and Series 3 to continue to show the past performance, which means you’ll be able to view the performance of the fund historically for 5 years on the fund factsheet.

     

    Why are you applying a unit adjustment?

    The changes we’re making to how we deduct charges mean we need to introduce a new fund series.

    For GPP plans, our phased approach to the upgrade means the new fund series will be priced differently from the existing fund series. However, while employees will notice a difference to their unit prices, their overall plan values will not be affected by this change.

    We’ll ensure this by allocating units of an equivalent value to employees’ plans. For example, say units in an existing fund series were priced at £1 on the day we introduce the changes, and units in the equivalent new fund series were priced at £0.50 on that day; if an employee’s plan held 1,000 units (1,000 x £1 = £1,000) in the existing fund series, we would convert their plan’s holding to 2,000 units in the new fund series (2,000 x £0.50 = £1,000).

    The change in unit holdings and prices will be confirmed once the changes have been made.

    • Employees will be made aware of this change in their Confirmation communication.
    • It will also be reflected on their annual benefit statements.
    • The transaction will also be visible on employees' annual benefit statements. But the overall value on the digital platforms will remain unchanged.

    For GSHP, although we’ll also be introducing new fund series for these plans, as all plans are being upgraded on the same day, we can match the fund series unit prices e.g. if on the day of change an employee’s plan held 1,000 units in the existing fund series, and those units were priced at £1 each (1,000 x £1 = £1,000), the employee’s plan holding would be converted to 1,000 units in the equivalent new fund series, again priced at £1 each (1,000 x £1 = £1,000). 

     

  • Are there any changes to the premium investment timings?

    We’re changing the way we invest the payments made into pensions.  Where we have a clear instruction and have received everything we need, contributions will be invested depending on their payment type:

    • Direct Debit payments – buy units at the next business day’s unit prices, or the business day after that.
    • Cheque payments – buy units at the unit price applying up to 2 business days after receipt.
    • BACS or Faster Payment – buy units at the unit prices applying up to +3 business days after receipt.
    • Investment or disinvestment requests, such as switches, or partial encashments, received during business hours will generally be processed using the next day’s unit prices. However, to pay one-off advice charges, we'll use the unit prices applying up to three business days after we receive your instruction.

    For disinvestment for income payments, made from flexible access drawdown, we'll sell units up to 11 business days in advance of making a payment.

    The completion of the instruction is dependent on the investment fund selected; some funds could have longer dealing times.

     

    Why will BACS or cheques take longer than before?

    Payments received by Direct Debit are available on our bank accounts on the same day. This allows us to initiate the investment instruction.

    Payments sent by BACS or Faster Payment are not available on our bank accounts until the next working day. Only once these are visible can we initiate the investment instruction. This means payments submitted by BACS or Faster Payment can take up to an additional three business days to invest.

  • How will you keep me informed of the payment suspension and the impact to clients and their employees?

    We’ll write to employers and employees to let them know the exact dates and any actions required during the payement and upload suspension between 30-60 days in advance. Indicative dates will be shown here. Our digital services will also post reminders in the lead up to the payment suspension period.

     

    What impact will the payment suspension have to new business?

    There will be no impact to new business.

     

    Will Single Premium Direct Debits for one-off payments still be switched off due to inactivity after a year?

    Moving forward, only one file will be uploaded each month and this will include both regular and single payments, but it will be collected under one Direct Debit.

    This will remove the issue of anything being switched off due to inactivity after a year.

    However, please note that non UK bank accounts cannot be accepted.

     

  • What happens if I request a change to a clients fund range before or during these changes?

    Please get in touch with your usual Scottish Widows contact to find out more.

     

    Why do you have different fund factsheets for your new fund series?

    As we have created a new series of funds, due to the change in the way charges are deducted, this has resulted in new factsheets being created to support the new series of funds. Past performance of the fund has been retained and will be shown on the new factsheets.

  • Will your enhanced GPP offering have access to ISA or GIA?

    No. This remains on our Workplace Savings Roadmap for delivery but this feature is not included in the product upgrades we'll make in the next 12 months.

  • What should I do if I have any questions or need more information about these changes?

    Please contact us here.