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  • FIRST POST
    • pensionpawn
    • By pensionpawn 12th Apr 19, 10:19 PM
    • 188Posts
    • 156Thanks
    pensionpawn
    Equitable Life with profits pension / takeover.
    • #1
    • 12th Apr 19, 10:19 PM
    Equitable Life with profits pension / takeover. 12th Apr 19 at 10:19 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 10:24 PM. Reason: Inclusion of link to Equitable Life.
Page 3
    • pafpcg
    • By pafpcg 3rd Aug 19, 12:00 PM
    • 402 Posts
    • 371 Thanks
    pafpcg
    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.
    Originally posted by feet_up
    I can't get my brain around that double-negative. So, I'll suggest: - there are NO circumstances where this decision would be a no-brainer!

    Take a look at Equitable's Explanatory Booklet Part A on pages 22 to 30, which summarises the issues. My reading of situation is with the current policy you are invested in a single fund with a guaranteed (increasing) value plus a variable capital distribution when you exit; the proposed offering is that you'll have to choose from a range of funds and there's no safety net - your pension fund may be worth less from one year to the next. The other option, which doesn't seem to be discussed in Equitable's booklet would be to transfer your funds to another provider offering something closer to Equitable's original with-profits fund (but wait until after the Implementation Date on 1st-Jan-2020 to collect your full uplift!) It's a fundamental question about how much risk you want to take with your pension funds - I doubt anyone has a no-brainer option. (Except for that guy who planned to invest his pension in bitcoin!)

    The "primary uplift" in policy funds (which replaces the current capital distribution) is expected to be about 68% but the exact value will not be notified until sometime around end-September. All policyholders will be entitled to the primary uplift; some policyholders (about 23%) will also get a secondary uplift of between 5% and 15%. Until the exact amount of funds to pay the secondary uplift has been calculated, the primary uplift (based on what's left in the fund) can't be calculated precisely. See pages 15-19 of Part B of the Explanatory Booklet.

    There is also clarification of the earlier promise to offer individual advice - Page 38 of Part A says in the section on "Helping you to make your decision" that Equitable has arranged for a dedicated team from JLT Wealth Management to provide support via a telephone hotline. If you need further assistance, "JLT can also provide you with advice, including a recommendation on how to cast your vote. The cost of this JLT advice is £95, which has been subsidised by the Equitable". If you have an existing adviser, Equitable will subsidise the cost up to £355. Note: - not a new adviser!

    Edit 10Aug: the "Summary of the Policyholder Independent Expert's Report" in Part B of the Explanatory Booklet on pages 130-164 (AppendixVI) gives a more complete picture of policyholder guidance, which includes subsidised advice from Hargeaves Lansdown: Online Type 1 at £50; Telephone Type 2 at £95 and Full Advice Type 3 at £345. These fees are subsidised by Equitable (see the table on page 158).
    Last edited by pafpcg; 10-08-2019 at 1:48 PM. Reason: Edited for update
    • Mordko
    • By Mordko 3rd Aug 19, 12:02 PM
    • 437 Posts
    • 200 Thanks
    Mordko
    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.
    Originally posted by varne27
    1. Wont be worth very much if the company goes bankrupt

    2. Ditto if inflation were to exceed 3.5%

    3. One can always put money in guilts if he is confident the stocks are about to lose value and the money is needed soon. The yield will be lower but with 68% uplift it would take over 2 decades for the value of guarantees to catch up.

    4. And if oneís investment horizon is over 2 decades then a balanced fund should provide over 3.5% average annual return with a high degree of confidence
    • Julian999
    • By Julian999 4th Aug 19, 8:33 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Julian999
    In my opinion this process is being conducted the wrong way round. The people with the least experience in the insurance/pension world (i.e. us, the policyholders) are being asked to make a decision that will affect our future income and in so doing relieve Equitable of their responsibilities regarding the safe keeping and growth of our funds. Our current contracts are with Equitable with specified guarantees and safety for our money. It is Equitable who should be telling us that this is the correct way forward and that our guarantees will be maintained even if that means foregoing the uplift, otherwise they should keep looking. What is Equitable's responsibility post transfer if Utmost funds go topsy-turvy?
    • Effervescent
    • By Effervescent 5th Aug 19, 2:08 PM
    • 91 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Effervescent
    Unit-linked
    As I have a unit-linked policy I don't get the right to vote which I feel is a bit unfair. All I can do is write and object to my policy being transferred to a new company
    • Mordko
    • By Mordko 5th Aug 19, 8:39 PM
    • 437 Posts
    • 200 Thanks
    Mordko
    As I have a unit-linked policy I don't get the right to vote which I feel is a bit unfair. All I can do is write and object to my policy being transferred to a new company
    Originally posted by Effervescent
    Thatís the case with most policies though; companies take over each other and policyholders donít get a say unless policyholders actually own the company like with Equitable.

    In any case, you can always switch to another provider.

    Remember, if the vote is ďnoĒ, EL will have smaller amount of funds under management while the costs are hard to reduce. Someone will have to pay and it canít be with profit fund owners.
    • greatgimpo
    • By greatgimpo 5th Aug 19, 8:50 PM
    • 821 Posts
    • 1,149 Thanks
    greatgimpo
    Someone will have to pay and it canít be with profit fund owners.
    Originally posted by Mordko
    ...specially with the 3.5% GAR - does anybody have more than 3.5%?
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 5th Aug 19, 8:52 PM
    • 12,884 Posts
    • 28,634 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    Awaiting my pack with bated breath.

    I expect however, I will still be non the wiser when it does arrive!
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 6th Aug 19, 3:34 PM
    • 12,884 Posts
    • 28,634 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    Awaiting my pack with bated breath.

    I expect however, I will still be non the wiser when it does arrive!
    Originally posted by POPPYOSCAR

    It arrived today.

    Must of cost a fortune to produce and send out.

    What a waste of time and money.

    And as I expected I am non the wiser.

    How they can expect anyone to read through that lot is beyond me.

    Has anyone?

    If so, can they point me in the direction of where it gives details of the actual scheme we would be transferring into and what happens if we want to transfer out of it etc.?







    I have just rung the helpline.(Which is not actually Equitable)

    I had to give them all my details

    According to them my terms and conditions will remain the same as is with Equitable.

    i.e. I will still be able to do flexible draw down and can transfer out with the same terms and conditions as Equitable.

    As the Transfer to Utmost is due to take place 1st jan 2020 it might take place on 31st dec or 2nd Jan.
    Last edited by POPPYOSCAR; 06-08-2019 at 4:13 PM.
    • Scot_39
    • By Scot_39 6th Aug 19, 3:41 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Scot_39
    Times Article
    Maybe early days - but finding very little in press so far.


    There was this small article in "The Times" on Sunday.

    The one advisor quoted errs on the upside - clearly so for those close to retirement - and more cautiously for all / by implication - younger members.

    I am not allowed to post direct link to it (would make it easier for others) - but if you want to have a look type at least some of following into google:-

    the times equitable life vote should you take a final pay off


    Hopefully in coming days / weeks - we may see more commentary / advice in the financial press.


    If you find any more articles please post references and or links if you can.


    Good luck to all (whatever happens / whatever outcome you may prefer ).




    Regards
    • david78
    • By david78 6th Aug 19, 4:37 PM
    • 1,637 Posts
    • 615 Thanks
    david78
    Utmost Life and Pensions is the new name for Reliance Life.
    Utmost have bought the Equitable Life Assurance Society.
    • pafpcg
    • By pafpcg 6th Aug 19, 4:37 PM
    • 402 Posts
    • 371 Thanks
    pafpcg
    .... can they point me in the direction of where it gives details of the actual scheme we would be transferring into and what happens if we want to transfer out of it etc.?
    Originally posted by POPPYOSCAR
    As it seems that I've had longer to look at the paperwork, I can answer some of your questions:

    We won't get the details of the Utmost offerings until the "Investment Choice Pack" is sent out later in August. But, if you look on page 22 of the Part B of the Explanatory Booklet (the big fat one), you can get some indication of what might be on offer, but nothing on charges or T&Cs.

    I have just rung the helpline.(Which is not actually Equitable).
    No, it's JLT Wealth Management who are being paid by Equitable. See page 38 of the Explanatory Booklet Part A (inside the back cover) for details of the support being offered by Equitable.

    I had to give them all my details

    According to them my terms and conditions will remain the same as is with Equitable.

    i.e. I will still be able to do flexible draw down and can transfer out with the same terms and conditions as Equitable.
    That's useful information (and encouraging!). Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by pafpcg; 06-08-2019 at 4:46 PM. Reason: typo corrected
    • pafpcg
    • By pafpcg 6th Aug 19, 5:28 PM
    • 402 Posts
    • 371 Thanks
    pafpcg
    In my opinion this process is being conducted the wrong way round. The people with the least experience in the insurance/pension world (i.e. us, the policyholders) are being asked to make a decision that will affect our future income and in so doing relieve Equitable of their responsibilities regarding the safe keeping and growth of our funds. Our current contracts are with Equitable with specified guarantees and safety for our money. It is Equitable who should be telling us that this is the correct way forward and that our guarantees will be maintained even if that means foregoing the uplift, otherwise they should keep looking. What is Equitable's responsibility post transfer if Utmost funds go topsy-turvy?
    Originally posted by Julian999
    I support your sentiment. My partner's investment in the Equitable with-profits fund might only be a relatively small part of our overall pension "portfolio", but its guaranteed-never-to-drop-in-value fund has for the last thirty years been a comfort that there'll always be something to help pay our living costs in our dotage! We are reluctant to switch to a market-driven fund - that's where the bulk of our funds are already. I have an idea that we might transfer-out the Equitable fund as soon as the uplift is added, to buy an annuity a few years earlier than originally planned.

    However, I'm not sure it's fair to say "It is Equitable who should be telling us that this is the correct way forward". According to the quotes from within the paperwork, "I, and the Board firmly believe that the Proposal is the fairest way forward" (Chairman on page 19) and "The Board believes that the Proposal is the best way of securing the future for our Policyholders ........." (Chief Executive on page 28). What more would you expect? Given that Equitable is a mutual organisation, it has to put this proposal to a vote for all members/policyholders.

    But, I agree, the proposal offers only one option (other than outright rejection) which is to switch to a unit-based model and not to offer an option equivalent to the one we selected when we initial started funding at the Equitable. Certainly from the Equitable's perspective, the proposal's purpose is to close itself down and will have absolutely no responsibility to the current policyholders if the Utmost funds ultimately prove to be poor value.
    • TArquintp
    • By TArquintp 6th Aug 19, 7:18 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    TArquintp
    I note that the policy holders meeting is in Westminster (almost opposite Parliament) on November 1st. What are the odds that there will be a mass demonstration that day which might prevent anyone reaching the venue?
    I quite fancy going to the meeting but don't want to invest in a train ticket unless I know for sure that the meeting will go ahead. Equitable/Utmost and the Police may have different ideas about the feasibility of going ahead. I emailed the helpline to find out if the risks have been assessed. At a minimum Equitable/Utmost should discuss the issue with the Police and agree a route for accessing the venue. I expect a reply within 2 weeks.
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 7th Aug 19, 8:07 AM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I note that the policy holders meeting is in Westminster (almost opposite Parliament) on November 1st. What are the odds that there will be a mass demonstration that day which might prevent anyone reaching the venue?
    I quite fancy going to the meeting but don't want to invest in a train ticket unless I know for sure that the meeting will go ahead. Equitable/Utmost and the Police may have different ideas about the feasibility of going ahead. I emailed the helpline to find out if the risks have been assessed. At a minimum Equitable/Utmost should discuss the issue with the Police and agree a route for accessing the venue. I expect a reply within 2 weeks.
    Originally posted by TArquintp


    Good point!


    I hadn't even thought about this - maybe more of us should email the helpline to raise this query so that it can't be ignored.
    • MissConception
    • By MissConception 8th Aug 19, 3:43 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    MissConception
    Is this proposal going to be properly regulated?
    We all know to our cost that we cannot rely on our shoddy regulatory bodies so to what extent can we believe the terms of this proposal?

    It seems to me that we are being asked to give up our guarantees for only an estimated future benefit (ie the uplift). We are already being slightly misled about the size of the uplift as it is based on the non-guaranteed value. So in my case a stated uplift of 74% ir really 26% when calculated properly. That is a much smaller margin of buffer to guard against an outcome where the "74%" turns out to be a big overestimate.

    Where are the safeguards?

    I applaud anyone who has been able to read this information pack thoroughly and understand it. Personally I think the article in the Times (mentioned in an earlier post) was far too premature being penned all to quickly after the release of the information pack. It might look appealing on the face of it but it pays to be cautious.

    Call me cynical if you like but having been with EL for 28 years and lost countless thousands in the value of my pension I have earned the right!
    • Scot_39
    • By Scot_39 8th Aug 19, 4:06 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    Scot_39
    Taking Funds - News / Changed From Utmost website statements
    Re help line answers on taking funds - this is news



    If you go the utmost website - the pension hub - it suggests that Utmost are in fact currently less flexible than Equitable - only really supporting annuities.




    For both 'drawdown' ( think this is as Utmost's "take a flexible income" ) or 'UFLSP' ( as Utmost's - "take number of lump sums" ) style withdrawals - the Utmost website currently says



    "You will need to transfer to a different pension provider to do this."





    Perhaps Utmost are going to change for us ? ( Perhaps they legally have to ? )




    Did anyone get the ongoing flexibility confirmed in writing ?
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 9th Aug 19, 8:22 AM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I still haven't received my information pack, is this normal? I don't know how long it is taking to send them all out.
    • BlondeHeadOn
    • By BlondeHeadOn 9th Aug 19, 8:48 AM
    • 2,219 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    BlondeHeadOn
    I still haven't received my information pack, is this normal? I don't know how long it is taking to send them all out.
    Originally posted by BlondeHeadOn


    Forget my last post, the EL doorstop has just thudded through my letter box with a seismic shudder.


    That's my bedtime reading sorted for the weekend....
    • varne27
    • By varne27 9th Aug 19, 12:03 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    varne27
    1. Wont be worth very much if the company goes bankrupt

    2. Ditto if inflation were to exceed 3.5%

    3. One can always put money in guilts if he is confident the stocks are about to lose value and the money is needed soon. The yield will be lower but with 68% uplift it would take over 2 decades for the value of guarantees to catch up.

    4. And if oneís investment horizon is over 2 decades then a balanced fund should provide over 3.5% average annual return with a high degree of confidence
    Originally posted by Mordko
    (The above from Mordko in reply to my previous post)
    I see from your previous replies that you are in favour of acceptance. Until I see the fund choice offered by Utmost, the fund charges, management charges & general T&Cís including exit possibilities, I could not possibly share your enthusiasm.
    I have other investments that satisfy my appetite for market risk. Many other people will be in the same position. My point is that the existing 3.5% guarantee is Extremely Valuable and not available in any other market today.

    In reply to your points:
    1) if voted down and Equitable goes bankrupt then ALL markets have collapsed.
    2) Why should inflation of 3.5% have a worse effect on the ďmarketĒ in which Equitable remains invested than it does on markets in general ?
    3) The gilt market is currently at record highs. To suggest same as a short term sanctuary is strange advice.

    My choice, like everybodyís, will suit my circumstances, after seeing detail of all of the options.
    Other than to point out the value of 3.5% guaranteed, I would not presume to advise anybody.,
    • Haydnjc
    • By Haydnjc 9th Aug 19, 5:18 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Haydnjc
    Gir
    I also noticed on my personal illustration that the gauanteed 3.5 percent figure was not displayed for when I retire. Using a quick online calculator the figure was sat between the higher and medium projected new scheme calculations. With nearly 19yrs to go the 3.5 percent gauanteed annual increase is a good return to have. My total uplift is 89 percent probably due to my age. Disappointed that they don't include the guaranteed amount though.
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