FAQ

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If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please contact the Pensions Management Team who will be happy to help you.

A pension is a tax-efficient way of saving money that you can use to live on when you’re no longer working. In a workplace pension, like FuturePlanner, both you and your employer pay into the plan.

There are lots of different types of pension plans. Workplace pension plans are set up by employers to help their employees save for retirement. Both you and your employer pay into this type of pension. With workplace pensions, you can get defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans. FuturePlanner is a defined contribution plan.

You can also join a personal pension, where you pay into the pension but your employer doesn’t.

In a defined contribution pension plan, you build up a pot of money that you can take at retirement. The amount of money you get depends on how much you paid in and the fund’s investment performance. You can choose how to take your pot of money including an option to take 25% as tax-free cash. It doesn’t have to be a monthly income.

A defined benefit pension plan is one where the amount you get at retirement is worked out using a formula, based on how many years you paid into the plan and your salary. You get a monthly pension and can take part of it as tax-free cash.

There are a lot of good reasons to join your workplace pension. Firstly, your employer helps you save for retirement by paying money into your pension (on top of the money you pay in yourself). If you didn’t join the workplace pension, you wouldn’t get this extra contribution.

Another reason for joining is that the government wants to help people save for the future, so you don’t pay tax on your pension contributions, which means it costs you less than you think. If you’re a basic rate taxpayer, every £1 you pay into your pension actually only costs you 80p. Your employer may also allow you to pay through something called salary sacrifice (Smart), which reduces the cost for every £1 to 68p.

In addition to this ‘free money’, joining a workplace pension is easy. Your employer sets it all up for you, so you don’t have to think about setting up direct debits or any of the other hassles you might have in taking out a personal pension.

Your entitlement to a State pension depends on the number of qualifying years of National Insurance (NI) contributions you have. To receive any State pension at all, you must have a minimum of 10 qualifying years. To get the full State pension, you will need to have 35 qualifying years. If you have between 10 and 35 years of NI contributions, you will get a proportionate amount of State pension.

In 2012, it became compulsory for employers to automatically enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension and for both the employer and employee to make contributions towards it. Once enrolled, employees have the option to leave the pension plan (opt out).

If you don’t join FuturePlanner when you are first invited to, or you opt out of the Plan, the Company will have to automatically re-enrol you every three years or when you reach certain age or salary levels.

While you are a member, you build up a pot of money during your employment, made up of contributions from you and the Company. These contributions are invested with the aim of increasing your Retirement Account over time.

A board of Trustees is responsible for the administration of FuturePlanner in accordance with legislation and the Plan Rules. Some of the Trustees are selected by Leonardo and some are nominated by FuturePlanner members.

Your annual benefit statement will summarise the contributions paid into your Retirement Account by you and Leonardo, how your investments have performed, your prospective pension at retirement (assuming you buy an annuity), and your death benefits.

You will also have an online Retirement Account which you will be able to access at any time. This has useful modellers so you can see what difference paying more or changing retirement dates might make to your pension.

New employees are automatically enrolled in FuturePlanner, but it is not a condition of your employment to be or remain a member of FuturePlanner. To opt out, you would need to complete and return an opt-out form.

Should you have a complaint which cannot be settled by the Plan administrator, XPS Administration, you can use the Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure, which the Trustees have put in place to resolve complaints or disputes. XPS Administration will send you the forms needed to make an application along with a copy of the IDR procedure.


What you pay in is up to you. Anything you choose to pay in between 1% and 5% of your salary will be matched by the Company on a two-for-one principle. So, the Company pays in £2 for every £1 you put in, up to the maximum of 5%.

Your contribution is also eligible for tax and NI relief so each £3 saved costs 68p (for a basic rate taxpayer).

The money paid in by you and the Company is used to buy units in investment funds which aim to grow over time. The number and value of these units determine the size of your Retirement Account.

Smart stands for ‘save money and reduce tax’. It is a salary sacrifice arrangement, which reduces the cost of your pension contributions to you by making National Insurance (NI) savings.

No, you can pay via deduction from salary instead but you would then pay National Insurance on the value of your contributions.

You cannot participate in Smart if the salary sacrifice would result in reducing your salary to below the National Minimum Wage (or National Living Wage, if you are over 25). It is also not possible to sacrifice statutory pay, for example on maternity, paternity, adoption or sick leave.

Yes, you can pay up to 100% of your salary in any month if you wish but the Company will only double-match up to 5% of your earnings (subject to an Earnings Limit which is currently £154,800). You should also be aware that the Annual Allowance puts a limit on tax-free pension savings, which for most people is £40,000 but for some could be as low as £4,000.

The government places a limit on the tax-free amount of money that can be saved into a pension each year. This is currently £40,000 a year. You can save more than this into your pension in a year, if you wish, but any contributions above this amount would not receive tax relief. Your Annual Allowance may be reduced if you earn more than £150,000 p.a. It would also be reduced if you have flexibly accessed any other pension plans.

This is a limit that the government places on the total value of tax-efficient pension savings you can build up over the course of your working life from ALL sources including FuturePlanner (but excluding the State pension). It is currently set at £1 million (increasing to £1,030,000 in 2018/2019).

Yes, you can change your contribution rate at any time with one month’s notice by completing a contribution change form.

The contributions from you and the Company are used to buy units in your chosen investment funds. The number and value of these units determine the size of your Retirement Account. The day-to-day price of the units moves in lines with the value of the fund’s investments; therefore the value of your Retirement Account could go up or down, depending on investment returns.

You can choose the Default investment strategy, if you prefer not to be involved in day-to-day investment decisions. Currently this is the option that around 90% of members use.

Alternatively, if you don’t think the Default strategy is appropriate for your circumstances and you would like to manage your Retirement Account more actively, you can choose to invest in one or more of eight ‘Pick & Mix’ funds that have been made available by the Trustees.

No, you cannot invest in both at the same time. If you choose the Default strategy, 100% of your Retirement Account must be invested in this way.

Yes, you can make changes to the way your Retirement Account is invested at any time by completing an investment switch form or logging into My Account.

Yes, investment involves taking risk in the expectation that this will be rewarded over the long-term time frame that applies to a pension.

You are able to take different levels of risk (using the different funds in the ‘Pick & Mix’ range) and using a low risk fund would make it less likely that your fund would go down in value. However, it also reduces the chances of investment markets helping your Retirement Account to grow and it is important to remember the impact inflation can have on the real long-term value of your savings.

If you don’t feel confident with investment you have the option of using the Default strategy overseen by the Trustees which is designed to be suitable for the needs of most members.

Lifestyling is the automatic process of switching your Retirement Account from higher-risk funds into lower-risk funds and then finally into funds which provide a platform for the retirement options available to you. It takes place gradually through your career as you progress towards your Target Retirement Age.

This is the age at which you plan to take your FuturePlanner benefits. It can be any age after 55. It’s really important to tell us your target retirement age so that the gradual de-risking of your Retirement Account matches when you want to retire.

If you do not choose a target retirement age, the Trustees will assume that you wish to retire at State pension age (or age 65, if later).

Remember that the target retirement age influences the rate at which risk is lowered – so the earlier the age you choose, the lower the risk you will be taking.

You can find more information about the types of investment you are able to choose here. Neither Leonardo nor the Trustees are permitted to give you advice. If you need further information and guidance, the Pensions Advisory Service is a useful first port of call, or you can find an independent financial adviser local to you at unbiased.co.uk.

FuturePlanner is a defined contribution pension plan which means that you won’t know exactly how much your pension will be until you retire. It depends on the amount of money that is paid into your Retirement Account as contributions along with how your investments have performed.

Your annual benefit statement will give you an estimate of your prospective pension at retirement or you can use the modellers within your Retirement Account.

The earliest you can take your benefits in FuturePlanner is 55. The government is planning to raise this minimum retirement age to 57 by 2028.

FuturePlanner has a new name; Leonardo FuturePlanner, but there are no other changes. The Leonardo pension arrangements in the UK have been managed on a joint basis for many years.

If you leave FuturePlanner before age 55, no further contributions will be payable into FuturePlanner and your benefits will be ‘deferred’.

Yes, you can take the value of your Retirement Account with you to a new employer’s plan or another registered pension arrangement, provided you have not started to receive your benefits.

If your benefits remain in FuturePlanner for at least a year after you have left service, the Trustees may set up an individual ‘buy-out policy’ for you so that you can have a direct relationship with a pension provider. The current buy-out provider is Fidelity.

You can take the money that has built up in your FuturePlanner Retirement Account at any time from the age of 55. The government is planning to raise this minimum retirement age to 57 by 2028.

You can take up to 25% of your Retirement Account as a tax-free cash lump sum. You can then use the rest in the way that suits you best. You can choose to purchase an annuity (a guaranteed income), set up a drawdown account, or take it as taxable cash.

When you reach retirement, you can refer to our ‘at retirement’ service from Fidelity for support in making your decision.

An annuity is a pension for life that you can buy from an insurance company. There are several options for how the annuity may work, which influence how much it would cost. For example, you could have a flat-rate annuity or one that increases each year with inflation. Fidelity's retirement service can help you to find an annuity.

Drawdown allows you to transfer your retirement savings to a new provider at retirement, keep the money invested and then draw an income from it. It is more flexible but more risky than buying an annuity. Fidelity's retirement service can help you explore income drawdown.

If you become seriously ill, FuturePlanner includes income protection insurance that may provide an income of 50% of your salary for two years.

If you are too ill to return to work, you may receive a lump sum as your employment ends plus the value of your Retirement Account on ill health retirement.

If you die in service as a member of FuturePlanner, you are covered by a life insurance policy and a lump sum equal to four times your annual salary would be payable to your beneficiaries.

The value of your Retirement Account at the date of your death is paid to your beneficiaries as a lump sum.