The B&CE EasyBuild Stakeholder Pension is closing

In March 2020 EasyBuild will close, and your pension savings won’t be able to stay in EasyBuild after this time.

What’s happening?

In 2017 we wrote to you to give you the opportunity to transfer your pension savings with EasyBuild to The People’s Pension – both are workplace pension schemes provided by B&CE. We told you at the time that your pension savings wouldn’t be able to stay in EasyBuild in the longer term.

EasyBuild will close in March 2020 so you won’t be able to keep your pension savings in EasyBuild after this time.

This webpage contains important information about your pension savings with EasyBuild and the options available to you.

You have 3 options

1. Take your money – usually the earliest you can do this is from age 55 onwards and there are different ways to take your money. If you choose this option, you’ll need to let us know by 31 January 2020.

2. Transfer your pension savings to an alternative pension scheme with another provider – you’ll need to tell us if you’d like to take this option by 15 January 2020.

3. Transfer your pension savings to The People’s Pension – this will happen automatically as soon as possible after 3 months from the date of the letter we sent you about your options, unless you choose option 1 or 2.

Option 1: take your money

Usually the earliest you can do this is from age 55 onwards and there are different ways to take your money. If you choose this option, you’ll need to let us know by 31 January 2020.

If you choose option 1 – next steps

 If you decide to take your money, you’ll need to take the following action:

  • Either call us on 0333 230 1369 or email us at info@bandce.co.uk and we’ll send you a claim form
  • Complete and submit the claim form by 31 January 2020
  • Access your pension savings with EasyBuild by 20 February 2020 – but if that’s not been possible, we’ll temporarily move them into The People’s Pension and you’ll be able to take your money from there as soon as possible after 1 March 2020.

If we have to move your savings temporarily into The People’s Pension, we’ll need to make changes to your investments. If you already have an account with The People’s Pension, your investments with EasyBuild will move in line with the ones you already have with The People’s Pension. If you don’t have an account with The People’s Pension, your pension savings with EasyBuild will move into a similar investment approach with The People’s Pension.

If you’re on a 4 or 5 year glidepath, find out what happens here

Important considerations when choosing option 1 and taking your money

If you’re 55 or over you can start to take money from your pension pot if you want to – but you don’t have to.

There’s a few different ways you can take it. And it’s important you have enough information to make the right decision for you. After all, it’s your money and you’ll want to make the most of it.

So it’s worth doing your own research and getting guidance and advice – before you make a decision about what you want to do with your pension savings. These are some of the options available to you:

Do you have more than £10,000 in your pension pot with EasyBuild?

If your pension pot with EasyBuild has more than £10,000 in it – you’ll have the same options for taking your money out with The People’s Pension, as you do at the moment with EasyBuild.

Explore your retirement options with The People’s Pension

Do you have £10,000 or less in your pension pot?

Moving your pot from EasyBuild to The People’s Pension might affect the way you can take money from it if you’ve got £10,000 or less. Because of HM Revenue & Customs’ rules around taking small pot lump sums, there’s a risk you won’t be able to claim your pot all in one go for a period of time after the transfer – see below. Get guidance and advice before you decide what to do with your pension pot.

How might the transfer impact my option to take a small pot lump sum?

There are different rules depending on which type of pension you have savings in.

In particular, there are HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) regulations that may restrict you from taking small pot lump sums if there’s been a transfer into your account in the previous 5 years.

So there’s a risk that the transfer of your EasyBuild savings to The People’s Pension could mean you won’t be able to claim the whole of your pension savings as a small pot lump sum until a period of time has passed after the transfer from EasyBuild to The People’s Pension.

What about taking multiple small pot lump sums from different pots?

You can only take up to 3 personal pension pots (like EasyBuild) as small pot lump sums in your lifetime. But with occupational pension schemes (like The People’s Pension), the number of small pot lump sums you can take is unrestricted.

All your options at retirement

Even if your pension savings are £10,000 or less, you have lots of options at retirement (not just taking it all as a small pot lump sum).

Before making any decisions, you should find out about all your options and their tax implications – you might want to get some guidance and/or advice.

Ill health

You can claim your pension savings earlier than age 55 and in some cases it may be tax free – if you’ve become physically or mentally incapable of continuing your occupation and have stopped working. Contact us on 0333 230 1369 if you think you may be eligible to claim your pension savings early on ill-health grounds. Satisfactory medical evidence will be needed.

What are the tax implications?

When you take a lump sum, 25% of it will be paid tax-free – but you’ll need to pay tax on the remaining 75% as if it was income. So, it’s wise to be careful when you cash in your pension savings, as it could take you into paying tax at a higher rate than normal.

Option 2: transfer your pension savings to an alternative pension scheme with another provider

You may have an alternative pension scheme in mind that you would like to transfer your pension savings with EasyBuild to.

You can get free, impartial information about transferring your pension savings from the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service.

Before transferring your pension savings to another provider, there are a range of things you need to think about based on your personal circumstances, including finding the best deal for you and being alert to pension scams. You can read The Pensions Regulator’s booklet on avoiding pension scams here. You can also find out more information here.

If you choose option 2 – next steps

You’ll need to tell us what alternative pension arrangement you want your EasyBuild pension savings transferred to by 15 January 2020. We’ll then give you the forms you’ll need to do this. You may also need to complete forms for your new arrangement.

However, if the transfer isn’t completed by 20 February 2020, we’ll temporarily move your pension savings with EasyBuild into The People’s Pension and we’ll complete the transfer from there to your chosen arrangement as soon as possible after 1 March 2020.

If you already have an account with The People’s Pension, your investments with EasyBuild will move in line with the ones you already have with The People’s Pension. If you don’t have an account with The People’s Pension, your pension savings with EasyBuild will move into a similar investment approach with The People’s Pension.

If you’re on a 4 or 5-year glidepath find out what happens here

Option 3: transfer your pension savings to The People’s Pension

If you don’t choose one of the options above, then we’ll automatically transfer your EasyBuild pension savings to The People’s Pension. We believe that transferring your EasyBuild pension savings to The People’s Pension is in your interests as an EasyBuild member because The People’s Pension has:

  • lower annual management charges than EasyBuild
  • a more advanced investment approach with a less volatile default fund and more funds to invest your money in (the Shariah Fund and the Ethical Fund)
  • a strong governance structure – The People’s Pension was granted master trust authorisation by The Pensions Regulator in August this year and it has a Trustee with independent trustee representatives on the Trustee Board.

Read more about The People’s Pension

It’s worth noting that usually, if you were to move your pension savings from one pension scheme to another, transaction charges (the costs involved in buying and selling investments) would apply. However, if your pension savings are moved automatically from EasyBuild to The People’s Pension after 3 months from the date of the letter we sent you about your options, you will not pay these transaction costs, B&CE will pay these instead.

If you choose option 3 – next steps

You don’t need to do anything if you’re happy for us to transfer your EasyBuild pension savings to The People’s Pension. In that case, we’ll transfer your pension savings from EasyBuild to The People’s Pension as soon as possible after 3 months from the date of your letter.

Important notes about transferring to The People’s Pension

What if I’ve already got an account with The People’s Pension?

Your investments and selected retirement age with EasyBuild will move in line with the ones you already have with The People’s Pension.

Don’t have an account with The People’s Pension?

Your pension savings with EasyBuild will move into a similar investment approach with The People’s Pension and you’ll keep the selected retirement age you currently have with EasyBuild.

Charges lower than EasyBuild

The People’s Pension has a member management charge of 0.5% a year in relation to all its investment funds. That’s 50p a year for every £100 of the value of your account.

Plus, as a member of The People’s Pension, you’ll typically receive a rebate on your management charge once you have more than £6,000 pension savings with us.

This compares with the following charges in EasyBuild:

  • 0.95% for savings under £5,000
  • once you have savings of between £5,000 and £25,000, all of your savings are charged at 0.8%
  • once you have savings of over £25,000, all of your savings are charged at 0.6%

Read more about The People’s Pension management charge and rebate.

Lower charges than a stakeholder scheme

The People’s Pension is not a stakeholder pension scheme, unlike EasyBuild. This means that the legal requirements that apply to stakeholder pensions (including the stakeholder charge cap of 1.5% each year for the first 10 years and 1% each year thereafter) don’t apply to The People’s Pension. The charges under The People’s Pension at 0.5% a year are lower than the stakeholder charging cap.

Strong governance through a Trustee board

The B&CE Boards are made up of employer and employee representatives and professional independent trustees. They work alongside a strong senior management team which boasts a wealth of industry knowledge and experience.

The People’s Pension is a master trust set up by B&CE with a separate corporate trustee, The People’s Pension Trustee Limited, with a board of experienced, professional and independent corporate trustee directors (the Trustee).

More investment choices under The People’s Pension

We package groups of investments into funds that are typically a mixture of shares from around the world, and bonds and gilts. All the investment fund choices currently available with EasyBuild are also available with The People’s Pension. The funds held by The People’s Pension include similar holdings to EasyBuild.

Once the transfer has taken place, your pension savings will be invested in a similar investment approach. There are also some additional investment choices for you with The People’s Pension – the Shariah Fund and the Ethical Fund.

Retirement age

If your selected retirement age under The People’s Pension is different to the one you have under EasyBuild, we will align your EasyBuild selected retirement age with the age you have under The People’s Pension.

If your savings are moved into the ‘balanced’ investment profile, this may mean that your EasyBuild savings are moved onto a different stage on the glidepath if you are within 15 years of retirement.

If you haven’t selected a retirement age in EasyBuild and/or The People’s Pension, it’s very likely to be different in your different accounts. This is because the default retirement age in EasyBuild is 65, but in The People’s Pension, it varies based on what date you’ll reach State Pension age (which depends on when you were born – you can check your State Pension age on the government’s website).

So for example, if your retirement age is set to 65 in EasyBuild and 67 in The People’s Pension, the transfer will include updating your selected retirement age to age 67. This means if your glidepath has already begun, it will be wound back 2 years.

But after the transfer, you will still have the option to change your selected retirement age under The People’s Pension at any time.

Explore your options at retirement with The People’s Pension

Glidepath from EasyBuild to The People’s Pension

In the same way as EasyBuild, each investment profile under The People’s Pension gradually and automatically moves your pension savings into lower-risk investments as you get closer to retirement. This is known as a glidepath, and starts 15 years before your selected retirement age. Alternatively, you can still choose to self-select your own investments from the range of available funds, but then the glidepath won’t apply.

If you were already subject to the 15-year glidepath under EasyBuild, then you will automatically be placed in the glidepath under The People’s Pension, following the transfer. You will still have the option to change your investment choices by self-selecting from the available funds after the transfer has taken place .

Explore all your investment choices under The People’s Pension

4 and 5-year glidepaths

If you joined EasyBuild before 1 February 2011, you might be on a 4 or 5-year glidepath (instead of the usual 15-year one). This means the move will work slightly differently for you – find out more…

I’m on a 4 or 5-year glidepath with EasyBuild

Want to know more?

You may want to explore our webpages and get to know The People’s Pension before we move your money over from EasyBuild.

Learn more about The People’s Pension

If you still have questions, you may find the answers via our online help and support, or you can get in touch.

You could choose to take independent financial advice on the impact of the transfer or about your options at retirement. You can use Unbiased to help find a local adviser. Advisers may charge for any help or advice they give you.

We’re here for you

If you have any questions you can call us on 0333 230 1369.