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  • FIRST POST
    • pensionpawn
    • By pensionpawn 12th Apr 19, 11:19 PM
    • 188Posts
    • 156Thanks
    pensionpawn
    Equitable Life with profits pension / takeover.
    • #1
    • 12th Apr 19, 11:19 PM
    Equitable Life with profits pension / takeover. 12th Apr 19 at 11:19 PM
    I thought I would open a thread for everyone who have a pension with them who may wish to share their experience and offer advice while we wait for the resolution of the take over.

    I was within days of commencing a transfer to a Sipp last summer when the news broke and have stayed put watching my fund continue to grow at 3.5% whilst this all sorts itself out.

    I have seen no news since around last October. Does anyone else have anything to add?

    Equitable Life
    Last edited by pensionpawn; 12-04-2019 at 11:24 PM. Reason: Inclusion of link to Equitable Life.
Page 2
    • pafpcg
    • By pafpcg 5th Jun 19, 12:18 PM
    • 422 Posts
    • 389 Thanks
    pafpcg
    I am a with profits guy and Id like to know who is Utmost? Never heard of them - does anybody know their background - how safe are they?
    Originally posted by chazzaboy
    If you're going to trust your pension with them, then doing your own research would be sensible. I'll be waiting until I see what Utmost will be offering (no point researching if we'll be going elsewhere), but feel free to share your findings!

    Also strange to me is that this changeover started with Reliance and seems odd to me that mid process to change - does anybody agree?
    Following the takeover of the Reliance group in April 2018 by the Utmost group, there's been a name change ("rebranding") - the agreement between Equitable Life and Reliance came AFTER the takeover by Utmost. The outfit seems to have grown through takeovers and mergers over the past half-century - the takeover of Equitable Life is just another.

    Equitable appear to be a bigger player than Utmost so why not go with one of the big boys LV/Aviva etc?
    Because Reliance/Utmost offered the best deal? My *speculation* is that the board of Equitable Life stipulated that the continued employment of the staff was a condition of the takeover. A large company such as Aviva or Allianz would probably expect to see profitability gains by taking over the Equitable's business but running it using their existing staff, so might not be interested.
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 12th Jun 19, 11:27 AM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I have an EQ with-profits pension, and was due to start taking my pension in August this year. EQ have sent me info suggesting that I should defer my retirement date by 2 years beacause of the takeover and expected uplift. In fact this is the default position for me - if I do nothing then my pension date will automatically be deferred for 2 years.

    I'm thinking that I would prefer to defer for just 1 year, then take my 'uplifted' pension, but I'm not sure if this is possible. I also don't know if I could defer again for another year if that looks like a better option next August.

    Does anyone have any views - or experience of this kind of scenario?
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 12th Jun 19, 11:43 AM
    • 12,962 Posts
    • 28,935 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    I have an EQ with-profits pension, and was due to start taking my pension in August this year. EQ have sent me info suggesting that I should defer my retirement date by 2 years beacause of the takeover and expected uplift. In fact this is the default position for me - if I do nothing then my pension date will automatically be deferred for 2 years.

    I'm thinking that I would prefer to defer for just 1 year, then take my 'uplifted' pension, but I'm not sure if this is possible. I also don't know if I could defer again for another year if that looks like a better option next August.

    Does anyone have any views - or experience of this kind of scenario?
    Originally posted by BlondeHeadOn

    Who knows?

    It seems strange to me that no real details of the new scheme have been given to us by Equitable.

    All the information is about the legalities of the transfer and timescales.

    They surely must have formulated something with Utmost but keep telling us details are to come.

    I have a feeling that given the expected uplift there may well be something to stop us all from cutting and running from the off!
    • crv1963
    • By crv1963 12th Jun 19, 12:18 PM
    • 1,004 Posts
    • 2,275 Thanks
    crv1963
    I have a feeling that given the expected uplift there may well be something to stop us all from cutting and running from the off!
    Originally posted by POPPYOSCAR
    My thought too!
    CRV1963- Light bulb moment Sept 15- Planning the great escape- aka retirement!
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 12th Jun 19, 2:01 PM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    Who knows?

    It seems strange to me that no real details of the new scheme have been given to us by Equitable.

    All the information is about the legalities of the transfer and timescales.

    They surely must have formulated something with Utmost but keep telling us details are to come.

    I have a feeling that given the expected uplift there may well be something to stop us all from cutting and running from the off!
    Originally posted by POPPYOSCAR
    Glad it's not just me who thinks this, I thought I was missing something obvious... looks like everyone's as much in the dark!
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 12th Jun 19, 2:15 PM
    • 12,962 Posts
    • 28,935 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    Glad it's not just me who thinks this, I thought I was missing something obvious... looks like everyone's as much in the dark!
    Originally posted by BlondeHeadOn
    I also do not understand why they have advised you to defer for two years.

    If this goes ahead my understanding is the transfer will take place at the end of this year or shortly after.

    So why could you not take your pension next August 2020?
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 12th Jun 19, 2:35 PM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I also do not understand why they have advised you to defer for two years.

    If this goes ahead my understanding is the transfer will take place at the end of this year or shortly after.

    So why could you not take your pension next August 2020?
    Originally posted by POPPYOSCAR
    My thoughts exactly, my inclination is to defer for just one year to get the uplift and then take the pension. I don't understand why my letter from EQ says that if I do nothing my pension will automatically be deferred for 2 years. It doesn't mention any other deferral choice, just a list of options if I still want to take my pension from August.
    • woolly_wombat
    • By woolly_wombat 12th Jun 19, 2:53 PM
    • 671 Posts
    • 474 Thanks
    woolly_wombat
    I have an EQ with-profits pension, and was due to start taking my pension in August this year. EQ have sent me info suggesting that I should defer my retirement date by 2 years beacause of the takeover and expected uplift. In fact this is the default position for me - if I do nothing then my pension date will automatically be deferred for 2 years.
    Originally posted by BlondeHeadOn
    I was due to start taking my Equitable Life wp pension late last year and received a similar communication from them, also with a default 2 year deferral.

    I'm wondering if it was just a standard 2 year deferral period automatically applied to all policyholders close to retirement who would otherwise miss out on an uplift.
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 12th Jun 19, 3:20 PM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I was due to start taking my Equitable Life wp pension late last year and received a similar communication from them, also with a default 2 year deferral.

    I'm wondering if it was just a standard 2 year deferral period automatically applied to all policyholders close to retirement who would otherwise miss out on an uplift.
    Originally posted by woolly_wombat

    Thanks for this, that would mske more sense. Thank you!
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 21st Jun 19, 5:35 PM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    UPDATE - 2 years deferment question
    I have an EQ with-profits pension, and was due to start taking my pension in August this year. EQ have sent me info suggesting that I should defer my retirement date by 2 years beacause of the takeover and expected uplift. In fact this is the default position for me - if I do nothing then my pension date will automatically be deferred for 2 years.

    I'm thinking that I would prefer to defer for just 1 year, then take my 'uplifted' pension, but I'm not sure if this is possible. I also don't know if I could defer again for another year if that looks like a better option next August.

    Does anyone have any views - or experience of this kind of scenario?
    Originally posted by BlondeHeadOn
    UPDATE

    I received another big pack of info today from EQ, again stating the 2 years automatic deferment if I don't do anything. So I took the direct approach and phoned their number given in the letter, and spoke to a nice lady from EQ.

    And she told me.... I can start taking my pension anytime at all after my 60th birthday, just phone them to request to start taking it and it will take about 4-6 weeks to sort it out. She said that they put the 2 year automatic deferment on their pensions at the moment because of the takeover thingy, as it saves them having to send out constant reminder letters to people who are due to take their pensions but want to wait and see(?) But once the uplift etc has been actioned, I can start taking it whenever I want.

    I hope this answers the questions for other people as well, or if you are still unsure then just give them a ring. The person I spoke to was very helpful.
    • Mordko
    • By Mordko 22nd Jun 19, 12:43 AM
    • 594 Posts
    • 306 Thanks
    Mordko
    I am a with profits guy and Id like to know who is Utmost? Never heard of them - does anybody know their background - how safe are they? Also strange to me is that this changeover started with Reliance and seems odd to me that mid process to change - does anybody agree? Equitable appear to be a bigger player than Utmost so why not go with one of the big boys LV/Aviva etc?
    Originally posted by chazzaboy
    Utmost = Reliance. Rebranding exercise
    • Grumpygit
    • By Grumpygit 22nd Jun 19, 7:15 AM
    • 354 Posts
    • 507 Thanks
    Grumpygit
    Utmost is the brand name of the group of companies that have been bought with a view to putting them under one name.


    It is run by two individuals who have several years experience in life insurance one being an actuary.


    They have backing and have bought several companies in Ireland, IOM and Guernsey with a view to creating a large group company (Utmost) which will offer lots of different products to both individuals and Corporates (ie pensions and savings plans)


    They are easily googled
    • JohnWinder
    • By JohnWinder 22nd Jun 19, 9:46 AM
    • 52 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    JohnWinder
    Thanks for that information.
    I wonder if there is anything of significance in your ‘etc’, because surely you won’t be able to take your pension money from Equitable Life once the uplift has been applied, because the uplift is contingent upon the ‘Scheme’ being executed, and the ‘Scheme’ involves Utmost being handed your uplifted fund which they’ll turn into units of one of their market-valued managed funds.
    It’s reassuring to learn you could take your money whenever you want after age 60, through all these change, but your legal entitlement to take retirement savings after 60 could only be taken away by the Parliament I’d imagine.
    • Mordko
    • By Mordko 22nd Jun 19, 12:09 PM
    • 594 Posts
    • 306 Thanks
    Mordko
    Thanks for that information.
    I wonder if there is anything of significance in your ‘etc’, because surely you won’t be able to take your pension money from Equitable Life once the uplift has been applied, because the uplift is contingent upon the ‘Scheme’ being executed, and the ‘Scheme’ involves Utmost being handed your uplifted fund which they’ll turn into units of one of their market-valued managed funds.
    It’s reassuring to learn you could take your money whenever you want after age 60, through all these change, but your legal entitlement to take retirement savings after 60 could only be taken away by the Parliament I’d imagine.
    Originally posted by JohnWinder
    I asked and was told there wont be any penalties for transferring your money out of Utmost plans, at least in the short term. This is something we need to be sure of before the vote. If true, I see no downside.
    • ricki77
    • By ricki77 28th Jun 19, 8:05 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    ricki77
    Utmost will make £90 mln if we all transfer out on day 1 possibly much more assuming Equitable fund is worth £1.8 billion. My personal calculations are as follows: transfer value now 48000 incl. 12500 uplift. So, double the uplift to £25000 would make £60500 to be transferred to Utmost fund. 5% spread would cost me £3000 so I should still be better off by £9K unless Utmost have some hidden charges.
    • varne27
    • By varne27 29th Jul 19, 3:07 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    varne27
    It seems that most posters are looking for reassurance prior to accepting. This is fair enough if about to take pension benefits.
    I am not, and would be extremely unhappy about investing a large sum in todays markets. Any long overdue market correction could wipe out my value uplift overnight.
    Anybody know the market value of the present 3 1/2% quaranteed return? ....... Well no, because it is not available anywhere. So you might say it is priceless.
    This is all before I consider the terms that will be available from a dubious feeder on troubled pension funds.
    • pafpcg
    • By pafpcg 1st Aug 19, 3:14 PM
    • 422 Posts
    • 389 Thanks
    pafpcg
    Are you sitting comfortably?
    The next batch of paperwork from Equitable has arrived, all 1.08kg!

    This is the Explanatory Booklet and a 215 page Part B with all the appendices to the proposals. In the package there should be a separate envelope containing a personalised illustration with the projected values of the policyholder's funds and the expected uplift in value at the Implementation Date (1st Jan 2020), plus the voting forms.

    The expected uplift is expected to be 68% of the fund value as at December 2017. Some policies may have a higher uplift.

    We still await the Investment Choice Booklet giving details of the unit-linked funds (to be managed by Utmost) which should be distributed sometime in August.

    My initial comments based on a quick scan:

    1. Opting-out of the transfer of funds to the unit-linked funds managed by Utmost isn't addressed directly, but it should be possible. Section 22.7 on page 20 of Part B of the Explantory Booklet says: "Subject to the terms of your policy, you can choose at any point, before or after the Implementation Date, to transfer your benefits away, for example, to a provider who offers with-profits benefits." [There's lots of cautionary notes to say any move before the Implementation Date will lose the uplift.]

    2. The personalised Illustration offers three unit-linked funds: Multi-Asset Moderate Fund, Multi-Asset Cautious Fund, Money Market Fund and a short-life Secure Cash Investment Fund (to be used to hold transferred funds prior to allocation). There are brief details of each fund on page 22 of the Part B, plus details of some US$ denominated funds. There are no specific details of charges or T&Cs for these funds, that I could find. Nor could I find any match for these three funds either on the Equitable or the Utmost websites. Could they be entirely new?
    Edit 10Aug: The "Summary of the Policyholder Independent Expert's Report" in Part B of the Explanatory Booklet on pages 130-164 (AppendixVI) makes clear that the unit-linked funds listed in the Explanatory Booklet orginate from an Equitable internal modelling exercise (called "Extent Better Off") which attempted to predict the results of switching from a with-profits fund to a range of unit-linked funds. (See Post #64 below.)

    Happy reading!
    Last edited by pafpcg; 10-08-2019 at 2:59 PM. Reason: Update to include reference to the Independent Expert's review
    • feet_up
    • By feet_up 2nd Aug 19, 12:44 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    feet_up
    Nothing very profound from me.


    In what circumstances would this not be a no-brainer for me?


    My guarantee is 3.5% annual growth and I have a guaranteed value of 32K oh and I'm 64


    Serious question.
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 3rd Aug 19, 10:57 AM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I am still waiting for my information pack, they must be sending them out in batches. Or - if they are so weighty - my postman has gone off sick with back strain.

    The suspense is ... suspenseful.
    • pafpcg
    • By pafpcg 3rd Aug 19, 11:53 AM
    • 422 Posts
    • 389 Thanks
    pafpcg
    The suspense is ... suspenseful.
    Originally posted by BlondeHeadOn
    No need to fret! Even with this bundle of paperwork, don't take any decisions until the Investment Choice Pack arrives in the few weeks. Meanwhile, perhaps plan your own timetable for when to consider your options and take a decision on voting (deadline end-October) and, assuming the transfer is agreed, when to decide what to do with your funds (deadline 13-December)?
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