In response to our recent letter titled ‘Who do you want to receive any benefits payable from the Plan?’ we have received several very good questions from members and we thought to share the responses more widely.
As the Plan’s Trustee, we will use your Expression of Wish Form to help determine who should receive any benefits payable after your death. You will shortly have access to a new feature on ‘MyPension’, the secure member area of our website, which will allow you to view and update your Expression of Wish information online. It is important that the information we hold about you and your wishes is accurate and up to date. We therefore took the decision to ask all members to provide an updated Expression of Wish Form.
We were also advised not to disclose the content of your existing Form as doing so may have breached the confidential nature of the information you previously provided — for example, a family member may have opened the letter on your behalf.
All the Forms currently held by Equiniti, our Plan Administrator, are stored in sealed envelopes that cannot be opened until the relevant members death. Therefore, Equiniti cannot confirm the content of any existing, or previous, Expression of Wish Form. Going forward, once the information has been transferred to your electronic record, on ‘My Pension’, it will be possible for you to review the content of your last Form, and subsequently keep the information up to date, online. Alternatively checks can then be made by calling Equiniti and going through the identification protocols.
The Form asks you to confirm who you would wish to receive any lump sum that may be payable. The letter you received, which accompanied the Form, explains whether a lump sum is payable and, if so, provides a summary of how this lump sum will be calculated.
If you provide a new Form your old Form will be destroyed. If you do not provide a new Form the information held on your existing Form will be securely transferred to your electronic record. The hard copy of your latest Expression of Wish Form will also be retained.
I would encourage you to complete and return a new Form even if it contains exactly the same information as your current Form, as it provides the Trustee with greater certainty that they are in possession of your current wishes.
The Freepost address on the envelope, although brief, is correct and at the time of writing over 2,000 returned Forms have been safely received.
The letter refers to some benefits as being ‘broadly equal to 60% of your pension’. It should be noted that the exact amount payable can depend on a number of factors, specific to the Rules covering your membership of the Plan, for example, if you have exchanged pension for a cash sum at retirement, the actual amount payable to your spouse or registered civil partner may be higher than 60% of your pension.
The purpose of the exercise is to ensure that Equiniti hold the most up to date Expression of Wish information as possible. The availability of a recently completed Form can significantly speed up how long it takes to pay benefits to your loved ones, after your death.
You will also see that we have included within the ‘Your details’ section of the Form, a space for you to provide your email address. I would strongly encourage you to provide a non-work-related email address, if possible, as it is unlikely that anyone else can access emails sent to a personal email account. Holding email addresses, as an alternative contact point to your postal address, will help Equiniti to contact you, quickly and efficiently, if the need arises.
If you require a further copy of the Form you can either download one from the Library section of our website (HPRBP.com) or alternatively request Equiniti to send you a copy by calling 0333 207 6553.
I hope you find this additional information helpful.
Trustee Director and Chair of the Operations Sub-Committee