British Steel Pension Scheme
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Welcome to the British Steel Pension Scheme

Welcome to the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) website.
 


TIME TO CHOOSE
The British Steel Pension Scheme is changing. Information for members about what is happening next is on the time to choose site.

Please note the British Steel Pension Scheme ("the Scheme" / "BSPS") closed to future accrual from 31 March 2017.

If you remain a member of the Scheme, but not yet in receipt of a BSPS pension, then you can click Deferred Pensioners where you will be able to find information about your deferred pension.

Alternatively if you are in receipt of a Scheme pension please click Pensioners.

Different provisions may apply to benefits originally accrued under pension schemes which have been subsequently merged into the BSPS. If you are unclear about how you may be affected please contact the Pensions Office.

Information is provided for guidance only and is not legal advice.

LATEST NEWS & UPDATES

27 SEPTEMBER 2017

We expect the Government to change the rules that affect ‘high/low’ pensions. This change would directly affect pensioners who chose to take a higher starting pension that will reduce after 29 March 2018. If the Government doesn’t change the rules, this could affect the future of the new scheme, and so affect any member who wants to switch to it. Please read the special update, as follows: 

Expected change to high/low pensions

The Trustee Chairman has submitted a response to this consultation exercise on behalf of the Trustee board, see here

21 SEPTEMBER 2017

Following the separation of Tata Steel UK from the British Steel Pension Scheme, there have been some media stories of members who are worried about what they’ve heard, and what might be happening to their pension.

We understand that members are concerned about changes to their pension. All members will have two options: switch to a new scheme providing the same benefits as BSPS but with lower future increases, or remain with the current BSPS and move into the Pension Protection Fund. We're working hard to provide each member with the information they personally will need to make a choice that’s right for their situation. We will be holding meetings around the country in October and November, and will announce the details of these very soon. We will send out option packs containing personal information to every member in early October. We have set up a member website at www.bspensions.com/choose which will soon have more Q&As and in October we will launch a free and impartial helpline to help members to understand and talk through their options.

Future pension increases will be reduced whichever option members choose. The new scheme will offer the same or higher increases compared to the Pension Protection Fund.

Pensioners will generally be better off choosing the new scheme. Most of our members are pensioners over 65, or receiving ill-health or spouse pensions. These members will get the same amount going into their bank account as they get now, whether they chose the new scheme or the Pension Protection Fund. Everyone else will get the same pension as now if they choose the new scheme.

The choice for non-pensioners will depend on their personal situation. Most non-pensioners will see their pension reduced if they choose the Pension Protection Fund, though there are other differences which will offset this reduction for some members. They might then choose the Pension Protection Fund as the best option for them.

We’ll explain the differences between the new scheme and the Pension Protection Fund in the information we provide to members. Members will have two months to choose their option, and they should wait for their personal option pack before they decide.

The Scheme is no longer connected to Tata Steel UK. As the Scheme's Trustee, we’re committed to providing information and support to help our members choose the option that’s right for them.

18 SEPTEMBER 2017

 A Trustee Statement on its position in respect of requests to process "buddy" transfers can be viewed here." 

11 SEPTEMBER 2017

British Steel Pension Scheme Separated from Tata Steel UK Limited

On 11 August 2017, the Trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) announced that terms had been agreed for a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (RAA) to separate the BSPS from Tata Steel.

The separation was completed today, after the Pensions Regulator issued its formal approval notice for the RAA. As part of the separation, the BSPS has received £550 million from Tata Steel together with a 33% equity stake in Tata Steel UK Limited.

BSPS members now have two options: to switch to a new scheme (the New BSPS) providing the same benefits as BSPS but with lower future increases, or to remain with the current BSPS and move into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The benefits offered by New BSPS are expected to be better than PPF compensation for the vast majority of current pensioners and for many other members. The New BSPS will go ahead only if certain qualifying conditions are met.

All 130,000 Members have already received the first in a series of newsletters outlining the proposals for separating BSPS from Tata Steel and the timetable for the consultation. Members will receive personal information and illustrations by October 2017 to assist members in making their choice.

Members will also be invited to attend meetings at locations across the country where there will be the opportunity to discuss the options in more detail with a panel, including Scheme representatives, and have their questions answered.

A dedicated website (www.bspensionschoose.com) is also now available where members can find information and see the answers to questions that other members are asking.

Guidance will also be provided by a free and impartial telephone helpline. Members will have until December 2017 to choose whether their pension goes into the Pension Protection Fund, or whether they join a new British Steel Pension Scheme.

The BSPS Trustee Chairman, Mr Allan Johnston commented:

“The BSPS Trustees can confirm that the RAA has taken effect today. Members of the BSPS now have an important decision to make regarding their pensions and we are undertaking a series of communications to ensure that they have all the information they need to make the right choice for them.

"For most members, the choice will be straightforward. For some members, however, the best choice will depend on their personal circumstances and preferences. It is very important that members make an informed decision after receiving full information about all their options and taking appropriate advice.

"The Trustee expects that the transfer to the new scheme will be completed by March 2018 and that the original, old BSPS will go into a PPF assessment period by the end of that month.”

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Transfer Values - Important Update 25 August 2017

If you are not a pensioner and are more than one year from your Normal Pension Age (age 65), you may have a statutory right to a transfer value.  The Pensions Office will provide a transfer value quotation on request.  You would then have a three months period in which to decide if you want to take the transfer value and to choose the pension arrangement to which it would be paid.  If the transfer value is more than £30,000, you must take independent financial advice.

When calculating transfer values, the Scheme currently applies an underfunding reduction. The impact of this underfunding reduction has been to reduce transfer values by 8%.

On 11 August 2017, the Pensions Regulator issued a determination notice and clearance statement for a regulated apportionment arrangement (RAA) to separate the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) from Tata Steel. See the Trustee Press Release of 11 August 2017.

When the RAA takes effect, Tata Steel will pay £550 million into BSPS and will also give BSPS a 33% equity stake in Tata Steel UK Limited (TSUK). The RAA is expected to take effect on or about 11 September 2017.

Receipt of £550 million will have a positive impact on the BSPS funding position and therefore reduce the underfunding reduction applicable. Confirmation of the reduction applicable will be provided by the Scheme Actuary to the September Trustee board meeting, however it is expected that the receipt of £550 million could reduce the underfunding reduction from 8% to around 5%. The impact of a reduced underfunding reduction would be to increase the transfer value (although the Trustee cannot give a guarantee to that effect until the money has been received).

In light of the expected receipt of the £550 million, the Trustee has agreed special arrangements for members who have either formally authorised a transfer value to be paid to a new provider or hold a transfer value quotation which has not reached the end of its three months guarantee period.

For those members who have already requested payment of a transfer value and the payment has not yet been made, the Trustee has undertaken to automatically provide an increased transfer value taking into account any decrease in the underfunding reduction.  The payment of the increased transfer value would be made to the chosen provider. Alternatively, those members who wish can choose to proceed with their transfer on the basis previously quoted, though this is likely to result in a lower payment.

Other members who are already in receipt of an unexpired transfer value quotation will automatically be provided with an updated quotation taking into account any decrease in the underfunding reduction.  The updated quotation will be provided by October 2017. This updated quotation would be provided on a non-statutory basis with a guarantee period expiring on 4 December 2017 and it would supersede any existing quotations.

The Trustee have written to members with an unexpired transfer value quotation setting out the above options in detail.

Time to Choose

The Trustee announced on 11 August 2017 that it formally agreed terms for separating the British Steel Pension Scheme from Tata Steel.  The Press Release can be found here.

All members will have choices to make and we have issued a Newsletter about this to all members.

If you did not receive the newsletter, please get in touch with the Pensions Office urgently to make sure that we have your correct contact details.  We do not want you to miss the opportunity to make your choice.

By October this year, we will send you detailed information about your options.

You will then be given plenty of time to make your choice.

Meanwhile, if you have any immediate questions, please contact the Pensions Office in the first instance.

Transfer Values

If you are not a pensioner, you may have a statutory right to a transfer value.  If so, that will be one of the options you can choose.

The Pensions Office will provide a transfer value quotation on request.  You would then have a three month period in which to decide if you want to take the transfer value and to choose the pension arrangement to which it would be paid.  If the transfer value is more than £30,000, you must take independent financial advice.

The Pensions Office is currently experiencing high volumes of requests for transfer and early payment quotations. Special arrangements have been put in place to handle these requests, which are being processed in order of receipt. Transfer value quotations are required to be provided within three months of the Pensions Office receiving a request.  Every effort is being made to provide quotations earlier than this.

Members are entitled to make only one request for a transfer value quotation in any 12 month period.  The trustee is currently allowing members to request a second quotation after the first has expired.  But the trustee reserves the right not to provide a second quotation at any time.

It is very important that members make informed decisions after receiving all the necessary information about their options and taking appropriate advice.  A decision to take a transfer cannot be reversed and should not be rushed. 

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