Introducing workplace pensions
Your workplace pension is a tax-efficient investment vehicle that you use to save for retirement. You put money in every month and your employer may make contributions as well. Over the years, you may end up with a significant amount of money. It could be one of your most valuable assets and is probably among the most important benefits your employer provides.
Four essential facts
- This isn’t the State Pension – the State Pension is paid by the government when you reach retirement age and would be paid in addition to your workplace pension. The amount you receive from the State Pension is based on the National Insurance contributions you have paid. You can check what age you are eligible for the state pension using the GOV.UK website.
- You become a member automatically – if you are between 22 and the State Pension age, earn at least £10,000 and are working ordinarily in the UK, you will be enrolled in your workplace pension without having to do anything, though you have the right to opt out if you choose. This is thanks to auto-enrolment.
- You’re in control of your savings – if you don’t make any choices and you'd rather leave it up to the experts your plan will be invested in your plan’s ‘default’ investment option. Alternatively, you can decide how the money in your pension is invested through the range of funds offered in your plan. When the time comes to take money out of your pension, you will be able to choose what you do with your savings, subject to your plan’s rules. Although your pension will have a default retirement age, you can adjust this at any time if it doesn’t match your plans. It is currently possible for most people to take money out of their pension at any time after they reach age 55. Find out what affect your retirement age has on your pension savings.
- You don’t lose your money if you move jobs – if you change employer in the future, the regular contributions into your workplace pension will stop but the savings you’ve built will stay invested in your account and you will still be able to manage them and have access to them when the time comes. You may also have the option of transferring your pension savings into your new employer’s workplace plan, or into a private pension.
Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. Currently, withdrawals from a pension product will not normally be possible until you reach age 55.
It’s important to remember that the value of investments can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.
How your pension works
Once you have been enrolled in your pension plan, your employer will pay a percentage of your salary into your account in line with any contributions you are required to make, along with their own contribution. If your contributions are deducted from your pay after you have been taxed, we will claim back 20% tax relief automatically on your contributions from the government, and you can reclaim any higher rate back via your self-assessment.
There are minimum contribution levels for any qualifying workplace pension. However, some employers choose to pay in more than this. You can check the contribution levels for your plan by logging in to PlanViewer and finding the Contribution Information document in your ‘Forms and documents’.
You may also be able to increase your contributions, which could mean your employer puts more in too, as well as receiving tax relief from the government.
Once the money is paid across to Fidelity, it will need to be invested. Your workplace pension has a default investment option which is designed to suit the needs of many different members throughout their working lives.
Your money will be invested in this default investment option unless you choose your own funds from the range of funds and options available in your plan. You can change your investment options at any time via PlanViewer or calling our Workplace Investing Service Centre.
You can find out more about these options on our 'How pensions are invested page'.
What it costs
There are no explicit charges for putting money in your pension plan. This means that if you contribute £100, the whole £100 is invested in your plan.
However, there are charges for the administration of your plan and management of the fund(s) you invest in. These are collectively known as a ‘Total Expense Ratio’ (TER). They are taken from the fund’s assets and reflected in the quoted daily price. They are not explicit charges taken from your pension savings and thus do not show on your transaction history.
In addition to the TER, other transaction costs can be incurred on your funds, such as the costs involved in buying and selling a fund’s underlying investments. Like the TER, they are not explicit charges and are built into the daily unit price of your funds.
You can find out what funds you are invested in, and read fund factsheets to find out each fund’s TER, as well as what it invests in, by logging in to PlanViewer. You can also use our costs and charges tool to see how all the above charges may impact your plan.
Ready to find out more?
Your employer may make regular payments into your pension pot, and you may also pay regular contributions from your salary. These will be deducted automatically before receiving your pay each month.
You’re an investor
We typically invest your pension savings in funds designed to make your money grow in the earlier years, or to protect your money from sudden falls caused by volatility as you approach retirement.