Scheme Overview

The AECOM pension scheme is a Group Personal Pension (GPP) from Scottish Widows which offers a combination of investment choice and simplicity, together with competitive charges. You can find information about the plan at the dedicated AECOM Scottish Widows site.

Your contributions will be determined by your contract of employment and you can check your position through your MyFlex system. You will also need to elect to join the scheme through that system if you would like to benefit from paying via salary sacrifice. By opting to join this way you will contribute 4% of your basic salary with AECOM contributing 6%, or from May 2019 you are also able to contribute 3% with the employer paying 5% also by salary sacrifice.

If you have not opted-in to the high-value voluntary scheme, it is likely you will end up in a pension anyway as you will likely be auto-enrolled. If you are auto-enrolled you will not pay using salary sacrifice and instead will pay using the relief at source method. If you are auto-enrolled the contributions are 3% from you and 5% from Aecom as a minimum.

Under UK law all eligible employees must be automatically enrolled into a pension unless they are already members of a qualifying workplace pension scheme. Therefore, assuming you are eligible and you have not joined the scheme already, AECOM will automatically enrol you into the pension scheme within three months of joining the company. If you are placed into this scheme automatically, you do have the option to “opt-out” should you wish – but only once you have been put in. Please note that in line with government legislation, you will also be placed back into the scheme in line with AECOM’s re-enrolment duties. This will happen approximately every three years, although exactly when will be determined by when during the three year period you join the scheme.

We strongly recommend you attend one of the free monthly pension webinars where an adviser will explain the key features of the pension, where the money is invested and be available to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions at any time, you can always contact someone at TISCO and we will be happy to help answer any questions.

With TISCO available to help and the dedicated Scottish Widows AECOM microsite you can always access information on your scheme.

 

Learn More

Choosing to Join the Scheme

There are two ways of joining the scheme. Electing to join through the MyFlex system, or being auto-enrolled if you meet the age and earnings related criteria and do not elect to join the scheme.

If you are auto-enrolled you will pay your pension payments via the relief at source method where you will get 20% tax relief at source. Higher and additional rate tax payers will have to reclaim the extra tax and no personal National Insurance contributions are saved. The contribution levels are 3% employee and 5% employer as a result of the auto-enrolment rules from April 2019.

By choosing to pay via salary sacrifice using MyFlex, pension payments are now made before tax is paid so there is no need to reclaim any higher or additional rate tax. You will also save your national insurance contributions on the amount you sacrifice. The contribution levels are also higher from both you and AECOM with you contributing 4% of your salary and AECOM now paying 6% into the pension. However, from May 2019 you are also able to pay the auto-enrolment minimums of 3% employee and 5% employer via the salary sacrifice method.

To learn more please attend one of the monthly webinars.

You will receive access to the MyFlex System via email within the first week of your employment. Once you have these details you will be able to sign up and join.

Who is eligible for auto-enrolment?

Auto-enrolment only applies if you do not elect to join the scheme through MyFlex. Everyone joins the same scheme, but the contributions from AECOM will be much, much lower if you are auto-enrolled.

If you are over the age of 22, under your own personal State Retirement Age, and earn more than £10,000 per annum, you meet the criteria for auto-enrolment. This is almost everyone who works at AECOM.

If you do not elect to join the scheme through MyFlex, the company will assess you and if you meet the criteria, will place you in the plan. You can opt-out, but only after you have been put in.

Your pension is a valuable benefit and you should carefully consider either opting out of the plan or allowing yourself to be auto-enrolled with lower contributions. Please attend one of our regular webinars to learn more.

Default Fund & Investment Options

The default fund is the Scottish Widows Balanced Pension Approach and your first months premiums will be initially invested into this fund, as will subsequent monthly payments unless you switch funds.

The fund is part of the Scottish Widows Investment Approach which is a strategic lifestyle fund range and is designed for customers investing for retirement.

Lifestyling means that your fund will change over time – reducing in volatility as you approach retirement. Volatility is how much and how often your fund goes up and down. The general idea is that you want to reduce volatility as you approach retirement, so this process starts 15 years before the retirement age on your pension. This is 65 as standard, but you can change it should you wish.

The fund starts off investing largely in stocks and shares meaning good potential for long term growth but with greater volatility. As you approach retirement, the fund starts to invest in less volatile areas such as Government Gilts and Corporate Bonds.

5 years from the retirement age on your pension, you will be given a choice as to how the fund works to reflect the different choices you have at retirement.

Whilst suitable for a large number of employees, the default fund may not be suitable for you, so in addition to the default fund, there are many other options.

There are funds with different risk ratings – from low risk funds which usually provide lower growth in exchange for less volatility, to high risk funds which will usually invest entirely in stocks and shares meaning potential for very high growth but also very sharp losses.

There are also internal and external funds – those managed by Scottish Widows internally or those managed externally by investment houses. There can be different charges for different funds, so be careful to read the relevant information on the Scottish Widows microsite.

There are also active and passive funds – this is nothing to do with risk and is rather to do with how the fund makes decisions. A passive fund follows a market or a list of investments. This is why they are often known as index or tracker funds – they passively follow something. Active funds make decisions for themselves – they decide what to do rather than following. But they can get decisions right or wrong meaning that active funds will sometimes be better than passive funds and sometimes worse. It is very common for active funds to have higher charges than passive funds so you will want to check carefully.

To learn more about how the default fund works, please contact us, head to the Scottish Widows microsite or attend one of our webinars.

Charges

All pension schemes in the UK have management charges of some sort or another. The AECOM pension scheme has an annual management charge of just 0.25% of the fund value. This is calculated by Scottish Widows and deducted from the pension fund accordingly. This charge includes the default fund and access to a core range of investment funds. Other external funds (non core funds) are also available although these may carry an additional charge.

FAQs

    • Where Can I find out more information?

    There is lots more information on your plan at the dedicated AECOM microsite from Scottish Widows.

    • What is a Group Personal Pension Plan?

    It is a personal pension designed to provide you with a fund to use during your retirement. You can also take some of the fund back tax-free.

  • You have lots of options as to how to use it and you do not need to take your income from Scottish Widows.
  • It is not a final salary scheme. At retirement you can draw an income  and you can also take part of the plan as tax-free cash. The option to purchase an annuity may also be preferred by some.
    •  How much can I pay into my pension each year?
  • This depends on your personal circumstances so please contact us for more information. However, unless you are a very high earner – earning in excess of £150,000 a year – it is more likely that how much you can pay in will be limited by what you can afford rather than what you are allowed to pay in.
    •  Can I change my mind or cancel the plan?

    Yes – you can cancel the policy within 30 days of the plan starting. If you have been auto-enrolled you have one month to opt out. You will be provided with details of how to opt-out by Scottish Widows

    •  Can I change how much I pay in?

    You can change the amount you pay into the scheme at any time during the year via the MyFlex system.

    •  Can I transfer in other pension plans?

    You can transfer many types of pension into this plan – but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! Scottish Widows provide a non-advised transfer service allowing you to transfer funds into you AECOM plan. There is no charge for their service, but there is also no advice.

  • Transferring a pension is not something to be taken lightly, so please consider carefully any decisions you make. If you would like to discuss pension transfers with TISCO we can offer initial conversations free of charge as part of your AECOM service or fully advised transfer recommendations for a fee – please contact us. We are sure you would find an initial conversation useful.
    • Can I transfer this plan to another provider?
  • There is no charge on the plan for transferring this scheme to another provider. There may be advisory or administration charges, but that will depend on how you undertake any transfer and to whom the transfer is made. Speak to your financial adviser about whether this is appropriate for you.
    •  When can I take my pension benefits, and what can I take?

    Your plan allows you to take your benefits including your tax free cash anytime from a minimum retirement age. This age depends on your age but it will be at least 55.

    You will have a number of options available to you, details of which are covered in the free pre-retirement webinars. You can also take advantage of the free Annuity service provided for the Scottish Widows pension. You may also wish to consider taking independent financial advice around the options available. This can be from your own financial adviser or through a TISCO adviser. Please note that AECOM do not pay for individual advice and we would agree our service and any charges with you prior to commencing work.

    •  What will I get back from my plan when I take benefits?

    This will depend on many factors – your age, your health, interest rates and how you take your income, for example. The biggest factor will be your final plan value which will be determined by the level of contributions you make and where your funds are invested.

    • What happens if I die before I take my benefits?

    If you die before you take your benefits, the full value of the plan (the value of the fund, not what you have paid in, and this may be more or less than the contributions you have made) will be paid out to your beneficiary. You should inform Scottish Widows who you want that to be and can get a form to do that from their microsite or the MyFlex system. However, under some circumstances they may not pay the money to who you have named on that form – this is a positive rather than a negative and provides you with protection in a number of ways. You should still complete the form, but if you want to learn more about this, please contact TISCO.

    • What happens if I leave the company?

    If you leave AECOM, the plan detaches from the group and goes with you, you have a number of options:

    1. Stop paying in contributions to the scheme.
    2. Set up a personal contribution, or ask your new employer to pay in.
    3. Transfer your plan to another provider.
    • How can I see how much my plan is worth?

    You will receive a statement each year that shows you what your plan is worth, what’s been paid in and where your money is invested. It is important to review your plan regularly to ensure it is on track to provide the benefits you hope for.

    You can also view your plan online in a number of different ways summarised in our Client Log In section, and your information pack will contain details of how to access your plan online.

Get Started

Free Pension Webinar

Book your webinar now for more information

Get Started