The information on this page is only relevant to planholders, who are the trustees of an occupational pension scheme, with qualifying with profit investments in the Scottish Life Fund.
This page tells you about our offer to distribute out more of the Estate of the Scottish Life Fund sooner than would otherwise be the case. This is part of our goal to simplify and modernise the way we do things for our long-standing planholders.
During March and April 2021, we wrote to certain planholders with plans invested in the Scottish Life Fund asking for their feedback on our proposal. Many of those who responded told us they were supportive of us making a formal offer. At the Convening Hearing held on 15-16 July 2021, the Court gave us its approval to make a formal offer to planholders. We're now asking you to vote on our offer. We'll be writing to planholders during August and September 2021. If you haven't received your Voting Pack yet, you will do shortly.
The Planholder Meeting is where votes will be formally cast by Eligible Planholders. You or your Proxy can vote in person or virtually at the Planholder Meeting. You don’t need to attend the Planholder Meeting in order to vote if you’ve voted online or by post beforehand. The Planholder Meeting will take place on 5 November 2021. If enough Eligible Planholders vote for the Scheme, the Court will decide whether to approve the Scheme at the Sanction Hearing. The Sanction Hearing is expected to take place on 25 – 26 November 2021.
Our offer can only go ahead if enough planholders like you vote in favour of it and the Court approves it. If our offer doesn’t go ahead, we won’t make the changes set out in your Voting Pack.
You can download a copy of the information we’ve mailed to planholders by clicking on the links in the Voting Pack section.
Update on 16 July 2021
The Court gave us its approval to make a formal offer to planholders at the Convening Hearing held on 15-16 July 2021.
This is the information we have sent to planholders who are the Trustees of an occupational pension scheme and are affected by the offer.
The pack includes:
- A letter summarising our offer, how to vote and what happens next. Here are some examples of the letters:
- Part A of your Explanatory Booklet [PDF, 1.59MB] - This booklet gives you key information about our offer and what it could mean for you
- Part B of your Explanatory Booklet [PDF, 729KB] - This booklet gives more detailed information about our offer. This includes the changes we’re making to the Principles and Practices of Financial Management (PPFM).
- Personalised Illustration - Your Personalised Illustration shows how your plan might be impacted depending on whether or not the Scheme goes ahead. We’ve not included an example of the Personalised Illustration as the values shown are unique to each planholder.
- Voting Form - This form is for information only. Please complete the Voting Form provided in the Voting Pack we sent you. Alternatively, you can vote online here.
Here we’ve gathered some key documents that we refer to in the pack that you may find helpful if you need more information.
- Independent Expert Report
- With-Profits Actuary Report
- Chief Actuary Report
- Scottish Life Scheme Document
- Royal London’s latest audited accounts and financial statements
- Royal London maintains a Principles and Practices of Financial Management (PPFM) document for each of its With Profit Funds. The PFFM is a document that outlines how we manage a With Profits Fund. With profits plans invested in the Scottish Life Fund are managed as part of the Scottish Life PPFM. This will be updated if and when our offer goes ahead. This is the current PPFM that covers your plan.
This is the PPFM with the proposed changes that will take effect at the end of 2021. It also allows for our plans to merge three of our other With Profits Funds into the Royal London Open Fund this year. We won’t know until close to the end of 2021 whether all of these changes will go ahead. This is because some of the changes are dependent on a vote by some directly impacted customers, which is due later in 2021, as part of a series of ‘Schemes of Arrangement’ as they are known.
If you have any questions or would like a copy of any of these documents in a different format, such as large print, please call us on the number provided at the bottom of the page.
Tell us about a bereavement
To make things easier at what is a difficult time, you can notify us about the person who has died by completing our notification of death form.
What is the mailing you recently sent me all about?
We wrote to you earlier this year about a proposal that affects your plan, which you originally took out with Scottish Life and asked you to provide feedback on the proposal.
The majority of the planholders who responded to this letter told us they were supportive of us going ahead. As a result, we have now finalised our offer and we are writing to you again to ask you to vote on it. Within the information we have sent you, there is a Personalised Illustration which should help you understand what the offer could mean for your plan(s).
If enough planholders vote in favour of our offer and the High Court approves it, we expect to implement the Scheme on the 31st December 2021.
What is the offer?
We manage Scottish Life plans like yours in their own fund called the Scottish Life Fund. Within this fund we hold a pot of money called the Estate which helps to protect your plan against future risks and to meet rules set by our regulators.
For Executive Pension Plans (EPP):
We’re currently able to distribute some of the Estate by increasing the value of your plans each year and by potentially adding an extra amount when your plans are claimed. However, the amount we’ll be able to distribute to you is uncertain because it depends on the size of the Estate when your plans are claimed.
For VRBP, Crest DB Growth or Crest DC Growth Plans:
We’re currently able to distribute some of this money to your plan through bonus declarations. However, the amount we’ll be able to distribute to you is uncertain because it depends on factors outside of our control, such as how many planholders claim each year and investment uncertainty.
Our offer is to distribute more of the Estate to planholders like you sooner than would otherwise be the case. This would increase the current value of your plan and give you more certainty over the amount available when your plan is claimed and your member(s) takes their retirement savings.
What is the Estate?
When we refer to the Estate, we are referring to a pot of money which is held back within the Scottish Life Fund. We are not referring to your personal Estate.
The Estate is there to protect your plan against future risks, it’s in addition to the money we use to pay out plan values when plans are claimed. You can think of the Estate as a ‘rainy day fund’.
For Defined Contribution plans, we aim to distribute some of the Estate each year by increasing your Qualifying Plan Value. We may also add an extra amount when your pension scheme member takes their retirement savings. Both of these distributions are used to increase the size of the Final Bonus when your pension scheme member takes their retirement savings.
For Crest Growth DB Plans, we aim to distribute some of the Estate at ad-hoc intervals by increasing your Qualifying Plan Value. We do this by declaring Special Bonuses.
What should I do if I need help understanding the offer?
We understand that some of this information is technical. Please read your Voting Pack carefully.
If you still need help, please feel free to call us on 0345 646 1016 (or +44 1625 718588 if you’re calling from outside the UK) between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
We can’t give you advice, but we can explain our offer and answer any questions as best as we can.
If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can find a professional in your area. Advisers may charge for their services, but they should agree any costs with you up front.
Why is Royal London doing this?
Our offer would allow us to give planholders like you a known distribution from the Estate. This means you’ll have more certainty over the amount available when your pension scheme member(s) take their retirement savings. We’re making our offer now so as many planholders like you as possible can benefit from it.
Our offer is also part of our plan to simplify and modernise the way we do things for the benefit of our longstanding customers. Our offer will help us become a more efficient business.
When would this offer take effect?
If enough planholders vote in favour of the formal offer, we’ll go back to the High Court and ask for its final approval. If the Court approves, we expect to implement the changes on 31 December 2021.
How do I know what you're doing is fair?
We're using a court approved process called a Scheme of Arrangement to make our formal offer to you. As part of that process, we’re taking the following steps to make sure our offer is fair:
- An Independent Expert has reviewed the scheme very carefully and provided a report to the Court on the fairness of the Scheme
- Our With Profits Actuary and Chief Actuary have prepared reports on the fairness of the offer which have been provided to the Court
- We’ll keep our Regulators informed
- Eligible Planholders will consider and vote on the Scheme
Is my plan safe?
Yes, please don’t worry. Nothing is going to change to how your plan is looked after and we will still pay out your plan to you or your family when it’s claimed.
The Royal London Open Fund, just like the Scottish Life Fund, is in a healthy financial position and is well-equipped to protect the Eligible Plans against future risks.
How do I know this isn't a scam?
We understand that everyone needs to be cautious these days. If the name Royal London doesn’t ring any bells, we’re the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK. We’ve been looking after your plan since it transferred to us from the Scottish Life Assurance Company in 2001. So you feel safe that we’re not trying to scam you, you can find us registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
I still pay into my plan, what will happen to the amount I pay?
The amount or frequency of the payments you make won’t be affected by our offer.
What Uplift will be applied to my Plan Value?
If the Scheme goes ahead, we'll increase your Qualifying Plan Value by 29.9.% (the Uplift). We will also top up your Qualifying Plan Value by applying the same Uplift for any payments you make into your plan after the Implementation Date as and when you pay them. The amount or the frequency of the payments you make won’t be affected by our offer.
Will there be any change to how my plan is administered if the offer goes ahead?
No. We’ll continue to administer your plan in the same way as we currently do.
How do I vote?
There are different ways you can vote:
Online: you can vote here no later than 12 noon on 2 November 2021, you’ll need your security codes shown on the letter that came with your Voting Pack.
By post: complete the Voting Form which you can find in your Voting Pack and return it in the postage paid envelope provided so that it reaches us no later than 12 noon on 2 November 2021.
At the Planholder Meeting in person: use your Attendance Card at the Planholder Meeting at The Edwardian Manchester, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5GP starting at 11am on 5 November 2021.
At the Planholder Meeting virtually: visit attend.cesjoinin.com/login and use the Meeting ID 30050 and security codes shown on the first page of the letter that came with your Voting Pack.
Even if you plan to attend the Planholder Meeting (either in person or virtually), we suggest that you also vote either online or by post beforehand. This is to ensure that your vote counts, just in case your plans change and you can no longer attend the Planholder Meeting.
You can appoint a proxy to attend the meeting in person on your behalf. Please read your Voting Pack for more information.
When and where is the Planholder Meeting?
The Planholder Meeting will be held on 5 November 2021 starting at 11am at The Edwardian Manchester, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5GP.
If you or your Proxy are planning to attend the Planholder Meeting in person, please let us know before 28 October 2021 by calling us on 0345 646 1016 (or +441625 718588 if you are calling from outside the UK) between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Alternatively, you can attend and vote at the Planholder Meeting virtually at attend.cesjoinin.com/login. To join the meeting, please enter the Meeting ID 30050 and security codes shown on the first page of the letter that came with your Voting Pack.
What do I do if I can't find my Voting Pack?
Don't worry if you can't find your Voting Pack, we can send you a new one. You can call our dedicated customer services team on 0345 646 1016 (or +44 1625 718 588 if you're calling from outside the UK) between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
What happens if I don't vote?
We encourage you to vote on our offer. The result will apply to all planholders eligible to vote on the Scheme, regardless of how they voted or if they didn’t vote at all. So, it’s very important you vote online or by post by 12 noon 2 November 2021 or at the Planholder Meeting on 5 November 2021.
I provided feedback on the proposal earlier this year. Do I still need to vote?
Earlier this year we asked planholders in the Scottish Life Fund for feedback on our proposal. Many of those who responded told us they were supportive of us making a formal offer. So, we’re writing to you again to ask you to vote on our formal offer. Our offer can only go ahead if enough planholders vote in favour of it and the Court approves it.
If the vote passes and the Court approves it, the Scheme will be binding on all the Included Planholders, regardless of how they voted or if they didn’t vote at all.
When would your offer no longer apply to my plan?
Our offer only impacts your With Profits investments in the Scottish Life Fund committed to before 11 September 2000. We sometimes call these ‘With Profits 1’ (WP1) investments. Our offer will no longer apply to you if no part of your plan is invested in ‘With Profits 1’ immediately before our offer is implemented.
What will happen if the offer doesn't go ahead?
If our offer doesn’t go ahead, we won't make these changes. The amount that we’ll be able to increase your plan value by from the Estate will remain exposed to future risks and could be higher or lower than under our offer.
Will the offer change the UK tax treatment of my plan?
You should read Section 9 of Part B of your Explanatory Booklet for further details on tax implications of the Scheme. A paper copy is available on request. If you are unsure how this impacts you, you may wish to talk to a financial adviser.
I’ve changed my contact details. How can I notify Royal London?
Please complete the update your details form or give us a call on 0345 646 1016 (or 01625 718588 if you're calling from outside the UK) between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). There may be certain documents we need to update your details.
When will we know the results of the vote?
After the Planholder Meeting, all votes that were made by post, online and at the Planholder Meeting will be counted. The results will be announced shortly after the Planholder Meeting on this website.
What happens after the vote?
If enough planholders vote in favour of the Scheme, we’ll go to the Court and ask for its approval at a Sanction Hearing scheduled for 25-26 November 2021.
If the Court approves the Scheme, we expect to implement the changes for all planholders in the Scottish Life Fund on 31 December 2021. We’d write to you shortly after implementing the changes to confirm that they’ve been made.
What happens if the Court doesn't approve the Scheme?
If the Scheme is not approved by the Court, we’ll continue to manage the Scottish Life Fund and your plan as we do now.
I want to discuss this with my pension scheme members. How can I get further copies of this Explanatory Booklet?
You can direct them to this webpage to access the documents in the Voting Pack section.
The trustee has changed for this plan. How can I notify Royal London?
Please give us a call on 0345 646 1016 (or +441625 718588 if you're calling from outside the UK) to change your contact details. There may be certain documents we need to update your details.
There are multiple trustees for my pension scheme. Do we all need to vote on the Scheme separately??
You should agree between you which way you wish to vote, and then the person(s) with the authority should vote online, by post or at the Planholder Meeting.
Can I receive the Voting Pack in an alternative format?
We’re happy to provide your documents in a different format, such as Braille, large print or audio. Just call us on 0345 646 1016 (or +441625 718588 if you’re calling from outside the UK).
If you're calling from outside the UK you can phone us on +44 1625 718 588.
Our customer services team are available between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Alternatively you can write to us at:
Royal London House