Your pension statement
You normally get one pension statement a year – your provider may call this your annual or yearly statement. Your statement shows:
• how much is in your pot
• an estimate of how much you might get when you start taking your money
• if your pension has any special features, e.g. guaranteed annuity rate
• your ‘selected retirement age’ (the age you agreed with your provider to retire)
• the ‘transfer value’ of your pot – the amount you would get if you moved provider or cashed in your whole pot
What is your pension type?
Your statement should tell you if you have a defined contribution or a defined benefit pension. If your statement shows a ‘total plan’ or ‘fund value’, it’s likely you have a defined contribution fund.
If it shows a pension value at retirement which is linked to your salary and length of service with an employer, it’s likely you have a defined benefit (final salary or career average) pension. Your statement may use the words ‘scheme’, ‘plan’ or ‘policy’ – this is your provider’s way of describing your pension.
Your pension may have a ‘special feature’. This could mean a better deal, like a guaranteed annuity rate. It could also mean a restriction, like an early exit fee. Special features aren’t always listed in pension statements. Contact your provider and ask if your pension has any special features or arrangements.
Guaranteed annuity rate
Look for ‘guaranteed annuity rate’ in your statement – especially if you started your pension during the 1980s or 1990s. This means your pension will pay a fixed rate of income. The amount would have been set when you started your pension and may offer better value than annuities available elsewhere. This is not the same as a ‘guaranteed period’ annuity – one which stops paying at the end of a set term, e.g. 10 years.
Market value reductions or adjustments reduction’ or ‘adjustment’
If your statement shows your pension is invested in a ‘with profits’ fund, it could mean it has a ‘market value reduction’ or adjustment. This means the amount in your pot is reduced in certain circumstances.
Early exit fees
Looking at the transfer value of your pot may help you work out if your pension has an ‘early exit fee’. If the transfer value is the same as your pot value, it’s unlikely you’ll be charged a fee when you transfer. If the transfer value is lower than your total pot value, you may be charged an early exit fee.
This guide is intended as guidance only, and is not financial advice. For financial advice please speak to a qualified adviser. Ammonite is an appointed representative of Julian Harris Financial Consultants Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.