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Transfer of Funds to the BTRSS

23 July 2009

Information on the transfer of Syntegra Limited Flexible Pension Plan Funds and BT Retirement Plan Funds to the BT Retirement Saving Scheme.

Members of the Syntegra Limited Flexible Pension Plan (SLFPP) who joined the SLFPP after 5 April 1997 and members of the BT Retirement Plan (BTRP) are to be offered the option of transferring their funds to the BT Retirement Saving Scheme (BTRSS).

This option is available as part of a special one off bulk transfer arrangement arranged by BT and Standard Life. The option is being made available on a "without penalty" basis consistent with the BT Pension Review Agreement and reflects the fact that the SLFPP and BTRP no longer accept new contributions from BT or members.

Transfer Arrangements

Bulk Transfer

A bulk transfer is the opportunity to move benefits from one pension scheme to another on a group basis with other members, rather than individually. The benefits of bulk transfer to SLFPP members include:

  1. Investment values:
    1. For SLFPP pensions: Funds will be automatically invested into funds which have the same underlying investments that members currently have under the SLFPP. The SLFPP assets will be sold and then repurchased by the BTRSS but Standard Life will ensure that the same amount of assets are purchased as are sold. So if someone had 10,000 worth of funds in the SLFPP they will have 10,000 worth of assets bought in the BTRSS.
    2. For BTRP pensions: In most cases funds will be automatically transferred into funds which have the same underlying investments that members currently have under the BTRP. This will avoid the sale and repurchase of assets compared to an individual transfer.
  2. The bulk transfers will minimise delays in money being invested in the BTRSS. Moreover, during the period during which the money is not invested movements in investments (up or down), will not change fund values.
  3. The current charges under the BTRSS are generally lower than those under the SLFPP and there is wider investment choice. This should mean that more money can be invested to provide benefits on retirement. Please note, however, that charges in the SLFPP, BTRP and the BTRSS are not guaranteed and either/or both could change in the future.
  4. A simple on-line application form will be available to make a request for transfer values to be paid to BTRSS easily.
  5. The process will be co-ordinated by BT, the Trustees of SLFPP and BTRP and Standard Life.
  6. For SLFPP pensions only: Protection of any enhanced tax free cash entitlement under the old tax regime. The amount of tax free cash an individual can take is either 25% of a personal retirement account or, if higher, the amount members were entitled to under the old tax regime (before 6 April 2006). Being part of a bulk transfer to BTRSS will protect any higher limit under the old tax regime.

Voluntary Approach

The option to transfer benefits as part of the bulk transfer to the BTRSS is voluntary. SLFPP and BTRP members do not have to participate.

Future Transfers

If SLFPP or BTRP members do not take part in the bulk transfer option then they will be able to move their funds into the BTRSS. However, the arrangements outlined above may not be available at that time and the "without penalty" arrangement will not necessarily apply. Transfers may also be possible to other pension arrangements.

Transfer Process

  • SLFPP members will shortly be sent information from the SLFPP Trustees at their home addresses providing information on the options available.
  • BTRP members will shortly be sent information from the BTRP Trustees at their home addresses providing information on the options available. The Trustees' communication will explain the options available along with further details about the bulk transfer opportunity and the timetable. It will also include a benefit statement.

Standard Life will subsequently invite SLFPP and BTRP members to take part in the bulk transfer. The option to take part in the bulk transfer will end on 25 September 2009.

Future of the SLFPP and BTRP

Following the completion of the transfer exercise, the SLFPP and BTRP Trustees will consider the longer-term future of the respective plans. No decision has yet been made, though it is expected that the Trustees will consider options such as whether or not to wind-up the Scheme and secure members' benefits in full by the purchase of individual policies in members' names. The Trustees will assess the options available and will write to BTRP members with further information in due course.

If you joined SLFPP prior to 6 April 1997

Those who joined SLFPP prior to 6 April 1997 are not in scope for the bulk transfer. This is because a transfer would mean that members of the SLFPP would lose their entitlement to the Guaranteed Minimum Pension or GMP. Members in this category can still transfer their benefits on an individual basis if they have taken financial advice.

Financial Advice

The CWU, BT and the Trustees of SLFPP and BTRP are not legally allowed to issue financial advice. If members are unsure about whether or not to transfer they should seek independent financial advice. Details of independent financial advisers can be found on: www.unbiased.co.uk.