What you can do
Update your personal details
If you move house, get married or divorced, or have children it’s important that you let us know.
Updating your details is straightforward and will help us to make sure that:
- You receive important messages about your retirement savings
- Your pension payments are processed quickly and made on time
- When you die any money owed goes to the people you want to receive it.
To make a change, please contact us.Contact us
You can move your benefits from Vodafone Group Pension Scheme (VGPS) to another registered pension scheme. Defined Benefit (DB) retirement benefits can be very valuable. Moving your benefits is a significant decision which must be considered carefully.
If your benefits are worth more than £30,000 you are required, by law, to take independent financial advice.
You can find an Independent Financial Adviser at unbiased.co.uk.
People with DB pension benefits are targeted by scammers who may encourage you to transfer your funds out of the Scheme so that they can take your money. Find out more about how to spot a scam and where to go for further information and help.
If you wish to transfer your benefits out of VGPS to another registered pension scheme, simply fill in a transfer out form.Transfer out form
Please note this is an illustration only, your actual pension calculation may differ. Your final pensionable earnings will be the higher of either:
- The annual average of your past three years’ earnings including the average of any pensionable commission and/or bonus payments paid in the past three Scheme years (the Scheme year runs from January to December); or
- The annual average of any consecutive three years’ earnings in the past 10 years.
The proportion used to calculate your pension is called an accrual rate. For more information about how your pension is calculated please contact your Scheme Administrator.
How much do you need?
Do you know how much money you will need to fund the kind of retirement you want to have? It can be difficult to imagine what your life will be like when you retire. The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has developed a set of Retirement Living Standards to help you imagine the retirement you want and work out how much it will cost. Find out more in Your retirement lifestyle.
Additional Voluntary Contributions
As a member of VGPS you may have previously chosen to pay Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to increase your retirement savings.
If you have paid AVCs, where these are held and your options at retirement may vary depending on when you made your AVC payments and which section of the Scheme you were a member of.If you were a member of the Vodafone Section of VGPS (for employees of Vodafone who joined the Scheme between 1 November 1988 and 31 December 2005), you may have paid your AVCs to Equitable Life or Prudential or to both, depending on the options you selected at the time.
If you paid AVCs to Equitable Life, your savings were initially transferred to Utmost. If you were entitled to the guaranteed uplift, this was added to your account as part of the transfer. Subsequently your AVCs (plus any applied uplift) were transferred from Utmost to LifeSight. At retirement, you will be able to take your AVCs as cash (either as a single lump sum or in multiple withdrawals known as ‘drawdown’), or you can use them to buy additional VGPS pension. Find out more in the dedicated LifeSight section.
If you paid AVCs to Prudential, there were two sections you could pay into, unit-linked and with-profits, you could have paid into one or both of these.
The unit-linked funds transferred to LifeSight in August 2020 (with the exception of the Prudential UK Property Fund, which transferred in February 2021). At retirement, you will be able to take your AVCs as cash (either as a single lump sum or in multiple withdrawals known as ‘drawdown’), or you can use them to buy an additional pension (known as an annuity). Find out more in the dedicated LifeSight section.
The with-profits AVCs have remained with Prudential and VGPS. You can find details of your investments on your annual benefit statements from Prudential or by speaking to the Scheme Administrator.
At retirement, you will be able to take your with-profit Prudential AVCs as cash (either as a single lump sum or in multiple withdrawals), or you can use them to buy an additional pension (known as an annuity). Please refer to the update for members with Prudential AVCs for more information.
If you were a member of the CWW Section of VGPS (created as a result of the merger between the Cable & Wireless Worldwide Retirement Plan and VGPS on 5 June 2014), your AVCs are now held in LifeSight (having previously been transferred to the DC Plan). The transfer to LifeSight was completed in June 2020. Find out more in the dedicated LifeSight section.
If you paid AVCs to Equitable Life, your savings were initially transferred to Utmost. If you were entitled to the guaranteed uplift, this was added to your account as part of the transfer. Subsequently your AVCs (plus any applied uplift) were transferred from Utmost to LifeSight. If you were a CWW member entitled to a 3.5% annual increase guarantee as part of your AVC arrangements, this continues to be backed by VGPS. At retirement, you will be able to take your AVCs as cash (either as a single lump sum or in multiple withdrawals known as ‘drawdown’), or you can use them to buy additional VGPS pension.
Tax allowances and your retirement savings
You do not pay tax on the money you save into a pension up to certain amounts. Once your savings reach these amounts there are tax charges to pay. There is an annual amount, known as the Annual Allowance (AA) and a lifetime amount called the Lifetime Allowance (LTA). There is a different allowance for people earning over £200,000 a year (Tapered Annual Allowance).
Annual Allowance (AA)
The AA is the maximum amount your pension benefits can increase each year and still attract tax relief. Your AA applies to the total increase in the value of your benefits, and any pension savings you make elsewhere. There is no limit on the amount you can save in a pension plan, but there is a limit on the amount that receives tax relief each year. The Annual Allowance for the 2020/21 tax year is £40,000. If the increase in the value of your benefits is more than the AA you will pay a tax charge on the amount over the AA.
Tapered Annual Allowance (Tapered AA)
From 6 April 2020, a reduced or ‘tapered’ AA has been introduced for those with a threshold income over £200,000. To find out more about the Tapered AA visit gov.uk
Lifetime Allowance (LTA)
The LTA is the maximum amount of pension and/or lump sum that you can take from all your pension arrangements and still benefit from tax relief. There is no limit on the amount of benefits that your pension arrangement can pay you. However, if your Scheme gives you benefits of more than your LTA, you will pay an extra tax charge on the amount above your LTA. The LTA for the 2020/21 tax year is £1.073m.
HMRC’s Annual Allowance and Tapered Annual Allowances
Before 6 April 2020
|Over £150,000 (including pension contributions) and less than £210,000||–||In a range reducing from £40,000 to £10,000|
After 6 April 2020
|Over £240,000 (including pension contributions) and less than £312,000||–||In a range reducing from £40,000 to £4,000*|
*The £4,000 limit also applies if you are already in receipt of your defined contribution pension. This is known as the Money Purchase Annual Allowance. See ‘Other tax allowances’ section below for more information.
More detailed information on tax and your pension is available on gov.uk.
Other tax allowances
If you also have savings in a Defined Contribution scheme, such as LifeSight, and have started to take some or all of your money, whilst continuing to save into a pension arrangement, you may also be subject to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA). Find out more on gov.uk.
If you become ill and are no longer able to work
You may be able to take ill-health retirement. To be eligible you must be unable to do any paid work. Eligibility for ill-health retirement is at the Trustee’s discretion.
If you retire on ill-health grounds your pension will be calculated based on your final pensionable salary and your pensionable service. The Trustee has the discretion to extend your pensionable service forward as if you had worked for Vodafone until age 65. Ill-health retirement is payable at any age.
If you retire due to ill-health and subsequently recover and become able to work again your ill-health pension may be reduced or suspended.
If you die whilst still working for Vodafone
Cash lump sum
A cash lump sum of three times your pensionable earnings (if you were a capped member it will be three times your capped pensionable earnings) will be payable to your spouse or dependants.
Spouse or dependant pensionYour spouse or other financial dependant may receive a pension of around half your anticipated pension for the rest of their life.
A children’s pension may be payable if, when you die, your children are under age 18, or are under age 21 and in full-time education, or are otherwise financially dependent on you (up to a maximum of three children, subject to the Trustee’s discretion).
If you die after you have retired
Cash lump sum
If you die within five years of retiring, a lump sum will be paid equal to the unpaid balance of five years’ pension payments (excluding inflation increases).
Spouse or dependant pension
Your spouse or other financial dependant may receive a pension worth around half of your anticipated pension (ignoring any lump sum you have already taken).
Looking after your loved ones
If you’ve recently married, or had children, you can update the information the Trustee holds about your beneficiaries. This is so that they know who you wish to receive any money owed when you die.
The Trustee has the final say on who gets a lump sum when you die. However, it is guided by your wishes. To let the Trustee know who you’d like to receive your lump sum death benefit you need to update your Expression of Wish. You can do this online, or by returning an Expression of Wish form.
Letting us know someone has died
If a member of the Scheme has recently died, you need to contact the Scheme Administrator, Willis Towers Watson:
Phone: 01737 227 517
Write: Vodafone Pensions, Willis Towers Watson, PO Box 545 Redhill, Surrey RH1 1YX
Deferred pension increases
If you paid into the VGPS whilst you were employed by Vodafone you will have a deferred pension.
This means your pension benefits stay in the Scheme until you reach Normal Retirement Age. How much you get will depend upon your final pensionable salary when you stopped working for us and how long you worked for Vodafone.
Your deferred pension will increase each year between the date you left and the date you retire. These annual increases will be in line with the relevant price index.
Once you are ready to retire you have a choice to make about how you take your benefits – find out more about your retirement options.
Future Changes to the Retail Prices Index
For some members of Vodafone Group Pension Scheme (VGPS) , pensions in payment, in excess of Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)*, increase in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI). In some cases, revaluation increases that apply before retirement are also calculated in reference to the RPI. This is set out in the Scheme Rules (different minimum and maximum increase limits may apply depending on what section of the Scheme you’re in and when you joined) .
You may have heard that the UK Government has announced plans to make changes to the RPI. On 11 March 2020, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) and HM Treasury launched a consultation which looked at the option of reforming the RPI formula to align it with the inflation calculation for the Consumer Price Index including an allowance for housing (CPIH).
On 25 November 2020, the Government announced that the outcome of this consultation was that RPI would be calculated in a manner aligned with the calculation of CPIH from 2030.
What does this mean for me?
Depending on which section of the Scheme you're in and when you joined, the Scheme Rules may require increases to your benefits (before and/or after retirement) to be calculated in reference to RPI (subject to certain minimum and maximum levels).
The Trustee of the Scheme has a legal duty to ensure that benefits are paid in line with the Scheme Rules. This means that, where the Scheme Rules relating to your benefits refer to RPI-linked increases, any changes to the way in which RPI is calculated will automatically flow through to the increases you receive.
The Bank of England has suggested that increases in CPIH would likely be around 1% per annum lower than the current RPI. Pension benefits that are increased in line with RPI are therefore expected to increase at a potentially lower rate from 2030. If increases to your benefits are linked to RPI (this will depend on what section of the Scheme you’re in and when you joined), the increases to your pension from 2030 onwards may be lower than they would have been if the formula for calculating RPI had not been updated.
If you would like more information about how this change may impact you, please contact us.
Impact on the Scheme’s funding level
The planned changes to RPI are not expected to impact the Scheme's funding level. This is because, whilst the change to RPI may reduce the value of the Scheme’s liabilities, there is expected to be a similar impact on the value of the Scheme assets, which are invested broadly to match movements in the liabilities.
GMP is the part of your pension that reflects the extra benefit you would have received as part of your State Pension had the Scheme not been contracted out of the State Second Pension. The underlying principle for pension schemes that contracted out is that they must provide members with a minimum level of pension at ‘GMP age’ (age 60 for women and 65 for men) that corresponds to the pension members would have earned under the State Pension Scheme if the schemes had not been contracted out.