What you have the right to ask your scheme
There is some information that your scheme or provider must give you if you ask for it. There may be some terms and conditions that apply to you and to the scheme or provider.
There is some information that your scheme or provider must give you if you ask for it. There may be a charge for some of these items, so check first what the charges are and when they apply.
Annual statements – defined contribution schemes
Annual statements – defined benefit schemes
If you're in a final salary or career average scheme, your scheme doesn't have to automatically send you an annual statement, although many schemes do. Instead, you have the right to ask for a statement, and the scheme must give it to you within two months of your request.
The statement must contain the following information:
- the date your pensionable service started;
- the rate at which your benefits build up;
- your pensionable salary;
- details of any deductions;
- what your benefits would be:
- if you worked to your normal retirement date; and
- if you left the scheme within a month of the date of the statement.
Whether your scheme is a defined benefit scheme or a defined contribution scheme, it may also show you details of your estimated State Pension entitlement on your statement. Your scheme does not have to show this information. To do so, it has to get your permission to obtain this information from the Government.
You should make a request in writing if you want details of the transfer value available to move to alternative pension arrangements. Currently, you have to the right to ask for and transfer if you have more than 12 months to go to the normal retirement age in the scheme.
Documents about the scheme
You have the right to ask to see the documents that set out how your pension should be run. These are likely to be:
- the trust deed and rules, if the scheme is run by trustees;
- the policy conditions, if your scheme is a personal pension or stakeholder pension.
If your pension is a workplace pension scheme, run by trustees, you have the right to ask for a copy of the scheme’s annual report. The report must contain:
- general information, for example how to get in touch if you have a query about the scheme or your benefits;
- financial information, including a copy of the scheme’s audited accounts and the auditor’s statement; and
- investment information, usually an investment report giving details about the scheme’s investments and their performance.
The annual report may also include the statement of investment principles. If it doesn’t, you can ask for a copy. It sets out the guidelines the trustees follow when choosing investments for the scheme.
If your pension is a defined benefit scheme, you have the right to ask for a copy of the actuarial report. This contains information about the ability of the scheme to meet the benefits built up in the scheme. This information is also contained in the summary funding statement which your scheme has to send you, every year, automatically.
You also have the right to ask for a copy of the schedule of contributions (defined benefit schemes) or the payment schedule (defined contribution schemes). These record the contributions the employer must pay to the scheme.
I am a deferred member of a final salary scheme but each year I have to phone up for a benefit statement. Can't they just flag something on their system?
Currently there is no requirement to provide a benefit statement to members of final salary schemes other than once a year on request.
I am a member of a final salary scheme and I’m worried there won’t be enough in the fund to pay me a pension when I get to retirement age. How can I check the financial position of my scheme?
At the end of every scheme year, the trustees must produce a report and accounts and this will include an actuarial statement of the financial position of the scheme. The report and accounts must be made available to scheme members who want to see a copy.
The report and accounts and actuarial valuation will give you a snapshot of the financial position of the scheme. The documentation will also provide an investment report giving a review of the investment performance of the fund. This should also advise you if the scheme is in deficit or surplus and the funding plan for the future.
Where can I find out more?
If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.