BT talking to pensioners about caps on benefits -Telegraph
Britain's biggest telecoms group BT Group Plc
has begun informal talks with representatives of its retired staff about a plan
to cap their pensions and ease one of the biggest challenges facing the company,
the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Friday.
This article raises many questions but provides no answers. It seem quite clear though, that as pensioners we will be worse off, the extent of which is not known and therefore is a cause for concern. Are BT trying to wriggle out of their responsibilities by making its pensioners pay towards the deficit by placing a cap on our benefits.?We already know that there is a large deficit in the BT Pension Fund but surely it is the Company's responsibility to plug the hole.
Who are these representatives of BTs retired staff and are they truly representative of us pensioners.?
What exactly does 'agree to end accruals' mean? Does it mean no more inflation linked increases? bearing in mind that they have already reduced such increases by unilaterally adopting the the CPI measure of inflation instead of RPI.
Once the Media get a whiff of such talks and negotiations, BT and the Fund Trustees must be more open about these proposals and explain them more clearly rather than use the media to drip feed information.
Why not express your Concern and ask questions by writing to BT Pension Scheme Trustees Limited, One America Square, 17 Crosswall, London, EC3N 2LB
See also another threat to pensions by MP's of all people, reported previously in the Daily Mail article dated 23 July 2016
Posted 09 July 17
News and Issues
BT pension Scheme Funding - Summary Funding Statement As at 30 June 2016
Click here to view in pdf Format Posted 6 July 2017
The Trustee Newsletter 2017
The Trustee Newsletter 2017 has now been posted out to BT Pensioners and a copy in PDF format has been placed on this website Click Here to View. The Newsletter mentions a discretionary lump sum that maybe payable on the death of a pensioner and to benefit it is necessary to complete, sign and return it to BT Pensions, an Expression of Wish Form(EOW) also see below. A copy of this form is at the end of the news letter and can also be viewed Here and copied. Posted 23 February 2017
Expression of Wish Form(EOW):
This is to assist the Trustee in making the lump sum benefit payment when a pensionere dies. It is mentioned in the Trustee News letter 2017 and emphasises the need to complete the EOW form. So I sent off an EOW but what is doesn't say is that in the event of death it is only payable before starting to draw a pension and in the first five years of drawing a pension. Posted 12 March 2017
Proposed Private Sector Pensions Reform
Do you think that your Spouses Pension is Absolutely Safe?
Well go to Daily Mail Article on Private Sector Pension Reform and Think Again! Posted 26 July 2016
Single Tier State Pension and GMP
Following correspondence with BT Pension Trustees, a member has written to me to highlight the impact of the Single Tier State Pension changes on the BT Pension. The GMP element within a BT Pension can be a substantial part of the total BT pension, so the loss of all inflation indexing on the GMP component could represent a serious reduction in pension benefit for some BT pensioners over say, 20 years after reaching State Pension age. I regret that I cannot enter into discussion or correspondence on this matter but you can see the letter from the Trustees. Here
No Pension Increase in April 2016
BTPS have recently issued the BTPS Payslip Guide and it states the CPI Index at Sepember 2015 was -0.1% and therefore no pension increase or reduction at April 2016.
The RPI measure of inflation at September 2015 was +0.8% so if BTPS had not dumped the RPI measure in favour of the CPI measure we could have expected a 0.8% increase in our pensions. see the guide
DOES MY PARTNER HAVE ANY ENTITLEMENT, ON MY DEATH, TO MY PENSION?
I was recently advised of the death of a BT pensioner by his Partner of 43 years and it caused me enquire if she would be entitled to a spouses pension or an equivalent. The answer is probably Yes! but subject to their living and financial arrangements and the Trustees discretion and decision. See answer to my enquirybelow.
However it seems that it could be sorted out before death whereby an unmarried member may, at no additional cost, nominate a dependant adult to receive the pension which would otherwise have been paid to a widow(er).This facility is available to Section A, B and C members of BTPS. See link below to the Adult Dependents Pension (ADP) Booklet
you for your recent enquiry you put through to Peopleline regarding beneficiary
mailto:email@example.com this has been helpful.
Posted by Bill Rees Sept 2105
A warning about your BT Pension.
By Trevor Conway Facebook group BT Past & Present 27 July 2015
Pension Increase April 2015
We should soon receive our pension payment for April, so what will the increase be? The CPI measure of inflation for year to September 2014 was 1.2% compared to the RPI of 2.3%. BT pensions were always increased using the RPI Figure but this changed in about 2010 when the UK Government decreed that the CPI index would replace the RPI index for Public Sector Pensions.
BT Pensions Trustees saw this as a great opportunity to minimise the pension fund deficit. In effect us pensioners helping to pay off the deficit.
So we should all be getting an increase of 1.2% but not on the full amount our pension because of the incomprehensible Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) Rule. Having had a little whinge! I say a "thank you every" month when I get that injection of cash into my bank account.
A member has emailed me with his explanation of GMP which may be useful to other members, see below.
" I find that trying to work out the
increase in my BT pension from the example given by the BT Pension Group is
incomprehensible. I have my own system which is very easy. You will need your
new tax years Pensions notification from the Department for Work and Pensions
and also last years. For simplicity I will use nice round figures.
A reader of this website has emailed me recently to tell me about a little known issue with Increases in the GMP related to the new Single Pensions that come into effect from 6 April 2016. In fact, increases to GMP will not be paid. to those who retire after 06 April 2016 It seems that those affected have not yet been informed by DWP/Government, or the Pension funds including BT Pensions.Click Here For more details
This information is shown to flag up issues which may arise and this Website or its Owner accepts no responsibility for the consequences of using this information and we expressly exclude liability for any inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. Users of this information are recommended to carry out their own research to satisfy themselves of the facts.
Your Trustee Newsletter For Pensioners 2014
This Newsletter has recently been sent to pensioners and includes
If you have mislaid or discarded your personal copy of the News letter it has been reproduced in PDF format and is Available Here
The funding deficit at June 2014 was £7.0Billion
BT agrees to a 16 year recovery plan.
£2.0bn will be paid in over the next 3 years.
To read the press release in full Click herehttp://www.btplc.com/News/Articles/ShowArticle.cfm?ArticleID=B7BD6FCA-B49D-4ABD-A888-CD3221222E8B
Crown Guarantee of BT Pensions Upheld by Court of Appeal
It was reported in the TImes Newspaper that the government has lost a long-running court battle to walk away from any responsibility for the company pensions of BT workers who joined the scheme after the telecoms giant was privatised in 1984.
The Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that the so-called crown guarantee, issued to BT at the time of privatisation, covered almost all staff hired since then.
John Ralfe, a pensions expert, said: "This ruling confirms that if BT were ever to go bust, taxpayers are on the hook to continue to pay BT’s pensions. The present value of these payments is a whopping £24 billion."
Mr Ralfe has calculated that only 7,000, or 2 per cent of the scheme’s 344,000 members, are excluded from the crown guarantee because they were employed by participating companies.
BT has the UK’s largest private sector defined benefit scheme, which traditionally offers more generous retirement plans than the modern defined contribution pensions.
Mr Ralfe estimates that the BT scheme has assets valued at £40 billion against predicted liabilities of £64 billion. The pension scheme had a deficit of £5.6 billion at the last valuation in March this year.
However, in the same judgment the court upheld an appeal by the government on the basis of which any future liability to the BT scheme would be carried out. The taxpayer will no longer need to pay for the scheme as a whole should the FTSE 100 telecoms group go into administration. Instead it will have an obligation to pay deficit contributions similar to BT’s own.
Paul Spencer, chairman of BT’s pension trustees, said in a statement: "It is important to remember that the crown guarantee is only relevant in the highly remote circumstances that BT was to become insolvent. The scheme continues to have strong ongoing support from BT in relation to the scheme and its members."
The department for culture, media and sport had no immediate comment on whether it would appeal the case to the Supreme Court. "We are studying the judgment," a spokesman said.
2014 © 2014 Times Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved Posted 23 July 2014
Dow Jones Institutional News, Friday July 4th, 2014Copyright 2014, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
LONDON--BT Group PLC (BT.A.LN) said Friday its pension scheme trustee has agreed a deal to protect it against its members living longer than currently expected. Under the deal, the scheme's exposure to longevity risk will be transferred to a new insurance subsidiary, which will be reinsured with The Prudential Insurance Company of America, a U.S. based life insurance company.
The arrangement covers over 25% of pension scheme's total exposure to improvements in longevity, covering about 16 billion pounds of its liabilities at October 2013, the pension scheme said.
These arrangements will not require additional contributions to be made by BT Group.
Write to Ian Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org (END) Dow Jones Newswires
Cost of Transferring BT Pension Abroad
A BT Member Stan Forbes, living in Australia has written about Bank charges applied every month when his BT pension is transferred to Australia.His email is copied below and he would like to hear from anyone who has similar experiences
I am ex bt having worked in a various branches within the Edinburgh Telephone Area for nineteen and a half years before emigrating to Australia in 1981.
I have been in receipt of a pension from Bt and a UK DHSS pension for a number of years having retired from the work force in 1997.
At the moment Bt have an arrangement with the Royal Bank of Scotland for which I am being charged three pounds fifty pence once a month by RBS to transfer my pension into my Australian bank account.
I am also in receipt of a UK DHSS pension which is transferred once a month by UK DHSS via Citibank Europe into my Australian bank account, Citibank do not charge for this transfer.
I have not approached Bt about this unjust anomaly yet, I thought I would like to hear from any other ex Bt workers who find themselves in similar circumstances, support for change being influenced by numbers.
I would appreciate very much if you can publish these details so that any interested parties can communicate with me on the subject, I know of no other ex Bt employees in Australia who I could contact.
Kind regards Stan
contact email@example.com Posted 2014
NB. Another Member Brian Williams, now living in South Africa has raised this issue and has some strong views on the matter. Brian would like anyone who suffers the same problem to contact him Brian Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org> see also some of his correspondence with this Website - Here
BT Retiree, David Wyatt writes from N. Zealand to BT Pensioners Reconnect…..
I'm hoping that you are able to assist me I worked at BT for approx 17 yrs
and emigrated in 1982.
the years I have lost contact and receive no updates from BT Pension scheme
.... the only email address that I had for contacting them was : email@example.com> I
have forwarded a number of emails but receive no response
wish to notify them of my change of address in New Zealand, and also request a statement
of the value my benefits.
would be appreciated if you would acknowledge receipt of this email and advise
of how to contact the BT Pension scheme.
Pensioners Reconnect passed on the enquiry to Accenture and …… The retiree
has confirmed that he has received a response from the Accenture team who have
advised that he was due to draw his pension at Age 60 and he is now hoping to
receive his entitlement for the past two years.
Note: The above Email address is incorrect, this is correct firstname.lastname@example.org
New Voluntary Pensions Increase Option. (PIE)
Some of our Pensioners have received letters from Kevin Boyle Head of BT Pensions about a "New Voluntary Pensions Increase Option." The letter doesn't tell us anything except that you will get further information. The result, judging by enquiries I have received, has been to cause un-necessary concern and perhaps a little panic. The advice I have given is simply to put it out of mind until more details are available and that what ever is offered it is Optional so one can opt for no change.
This Pensions increase Option is Also referred to elsewhere as "Pensions Increase Exchange"(PIE) and by doing an internet search for Pensions Increase Exchange more information can be found.
Posted 26 May 13
See Daily Telegraph Comment click on link below: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10095284/Should-you-turn-down-a-30pc-pension-rise.html
Publicising BT Pensioners Reconnect
The BT Pension Scheme Trustees were approached by letter seeking their help to publicise this Website through their correspondence with BT pensioners and or by links and references in the BT Pension Scheme Website. The Pension Scheme is the one organisation that has records of and access to, all BT pensioners and as such it is uniquely placed to help promote a useful service to its pensioners and at virtually no cost.
The Website is quite clearly a service that pensioners want and I felt sure that the Scheme would understand what the site sets out to achieve, and that they would be very willing to help, as it is very much in the interests of its members. However they have declined to help in any way.
I am of course, deeply disappointed particularly as they cite no reason for their decision, other than to use the time honoured, weak and meaningless excuse "that it is not their policy....!". Click to View Correspondence
Pension Increase 2013 Member's Enquiry See details
2013 - Observations
RPI or CPI
Are we being let down by BT and the Pension Scheme Trustees or both?
BT Pension Scheme Trustees have not made a convincing case, in fact no case whatsoever, for the legality of adopting the CPI instead of the RPI. The trustees have not detailed the specific Scheme Rules which they say allows them to change what we all believed was contractual and legally binding. A Minister is reported as saying that there is no intention to make private pension schemes conform to the change to CPI measure.
It is my belief that it is convenient and financially attractive to The Pension Scheme (The Trustees,) to BT, and in particular to BT Shareholders, in fact it will reduce the BT pension fund deficit by £2.5 Billion (and that effectively comes out of your pension) and reduces BT’s liability to the Pension Fund. The deficit is the responsibility of the Trustees and BT. It is not the responsibility of Schemes pensioners to fund the deficit
Note how the BT share price increased following the announcement and in due course note how the dividend improves.
Court of Appeal Decision
public service unions and interest groups challenged (by judicial review) the
Government's decision to use the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in
place of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) as the index for
determining pension increases for public sector schemes. The judgment in this
judicial review was handed down on 2 December 2011. In summary, the court
rejected the unions’ challenge and found that the Government had not acted
unlawfully in making this change. An appeal against this judgement was
House of Commons Debate on the Issue:
RPI/CPI e-petition attracted more than 100,000 signatures but when the issue was
debated in the House of Commons on 1st March it was lost by 232 votes to 33.
20th March, the Court of Appeal handed down its judgement on the appeal against
the outcome of the judicial review. The final appeal has been defeated.
of the above proceedings seem to show that the Government, since it is
responsible for Pension payments, can legally decide how Public Sector pension
increases will be calculated.
the Court of Appeal Judgement, my impression was that the main considerations
were, which of the two indices RPI or CPI, was most representative of actual
inflation and which was most suitable for Treasury purposes.
I came to the conclusion that neither of the two indices were a good measure for
Inflation related to pensioners purchases but can’t see that a Pensioners
Purchases Index (PPI) would ever be considered.
Who will take up that challenge? Logically it should be the Unions representing BT employees. The CWU has already expressed it's intention to Challenge BT and the BTPS on the RPI/CPI issue -See http://www.cwu.org/defending-bt-pensions.html
Click on links below to see what various commentators and politicians have said
Other Organisations Resisting the Imposition of RPI
National Federation of Occupational Pensions: www.nfop.org.uk/
This is the time of year when we are
informed of the BT pension increase for 2013/14. My notice of increase arrived
24 April and as expected the increase was 2.2% based on the September 2012 CPI
measure of inflation.
This change to rules was determined by
the Trustees probably under pressure from BT Board. It was not mandatory on the
Trustees to follow the Government’s lead to adopt the CPI measure. The
trustees however make it appear that they had no option but to follow the
In our notice of increase they use a
Phrase “pension currently increases every April in the way that public sector
pensions are increased by the Government.” In fact, BT pensions are increased
in the way that BT Trustees have decreed! Which follows what happens in the
Pension Scheme Enquiries
Peopleline are open between 8.30am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. If you are calling from
within the UK, please telephone 0800 731 4747 if you are a BT employee, or 0800 731 1919 if you
are no longer employed by BT.
If you would rather put your enquiry in writing, please write to:
BT Pension Services
Accenture HR Services Limited
Venture House, Venture Way
Chesterfield S41 8NR.
Or by Email email@example.com
Pension Tracing Service
Information about the Scheme (including a contact address) has been provided to the Pension Tracing Service as required by law. Because the Pension Tracing Service holds the same information for other pension schemes, it offers a service which enables members to trace benefits from previous employers’ schemes. The Pension Tracing Service can be contacted at the following address:
Pension Tracing Service
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