Newsroom

Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Any updates will be posted here so please do check back regularly

Update - 1 July

 
The previous update on 4 June remains very much relevant and the Trustee Boards continue to monitor the provision of day to day administration of your scheme. The administrators for your scheme have been able to provide a normal service to members.

Pension scams
The Trustee Boards remain vigilant to the risk of pension scams and members should also remain vigilant and continue to be cautious. Visit ScamSmart to learn how to avoid investment and pension scams. Making decisions about your pension based on short-term events and circumstances can have long-term consequences for your financial wellbeing and retirement. This includes stopping your contributions and opting-out of the pension scheme. If you were to consider this course of action please contact your Scheme administrator who can discuss with you the impact that this will have on your pension. Before making any important decisions about your pension, it is important to get independent guidance or advice.
 
Processing retirement requests
If you are looking to take your benefits from your BAE Systems pension scheme, the forms and information your Scheme administrator requires to process a retirement include the completion and return of a retirement option pack issued to your home address.  The option pack includes confirmation of your option choice, personal bank details and you are also asked to send your original birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) as part of the process.  In the current environment, the agreed process with the administrators is to continue to ask for the original certificates and associated documentation to be returned by post because of the rise in scamming the pension industry is facing.  If you are unable to return the required paperwork by post because of self-isolation constraints, please contact your Scheme administrator for more information and assistance.
 
General enquiries
If you should have a query about your pension we would encourage you to review the relevant section of this website to see if this helps to answer your question. Alternatively please contact your Scheme administrator. The  Contact Us section of this website provides you with the relevant contact details. The helpline for calls is still open should you need to contact the team this way however you may experience longer waiting times than usual and you may be told that a call back needs to be arranged.
 

Update - 4 June

 
The Trustee Boards of all our schemes would like to provide you with continued reassurance that robust measures continue to remain in place to minimise any impact on the day to day operation of your scheme.

During these unprecedented times the Trustees are very much aware that financial security is rightly at the forefront of many people’s minds. A number of the governing bodies associated with pensions and retirement savings have come together to create a guide for pension savers. This follows an increase in the number of enquiries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guide, entitled  COVID-19 and your pension, outlines all the protections that are in place and directs savers to where they can seek free, impartial guidance. Please do take the time to read this guide.

If you are a Defined Contribution (DC) member or a Defined Benefit (final salary) member who pays Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs are a type of DC benefit), then the risk of stock market performance in relation to those DC benefits rests with you. If you are nearing retirement, given the recent stock market volatility and economic uncertainty this inevitably leads to the question – how will this affect my pension and retirement plans?  The article  Market volatility – Impact for DC members is designed as a prompt to members to review decisions which are about to be taken or which may have already been taken but not yet implemented.  Again please do take the time to read this article.
 

Update - 4 May

 
The Trustee Boards of all our schemes would like to provide you with continued reassurance that they are closely monitoring the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the BAE Systems pension schemes. There are robust measures in place to minimise any impact on the day to day operation of your scheme and to ensure we are able to respond to the evolving situation.

At this challenging time it is often difficult to know where to turn for helpful information. This applies whether you are employed and actively contributing to your pension, a deferred member keeping your pension benefits in the scheme, or a pensioner member in receipt of a pension. To follow we focus on three organisations who are providing useful information for pension scheme members.

The Pensions Advisory Service has recently published a new page on its website discussing coronavirus and pensions. The page is aimed at people considering making changes in relation to their pensions because of coronavirus. The page also includes a number of Frequently Asked Questions relating to the impact of coronavirus on pensions.

For members of defined contribution schemes such as the BAE Systems DC Retirement Plan, or for those members who have paid Additional Voluntary Contributions, since the coronavirus outbreak, stock markets have fallen considerably and are likely to remain volatile for a while (see also the coronavirus update below from 25 March and the Standard Life article  Coronavirus, market falls and your investments). It is important to remember that making decisions about your pension based on short-term events and circumstances can have long-term consequences for your financial wellbeing and retirement. Before making any major decisions about your pension, it is important to get independent guidance or advice. 

The  Pensions Regulator has recently published updated guidance on Pension Scams (see also the coronavirus update below from 25 March). If you are thinking about transferring your pension at this time you are urged to exercise extreme caution and visit ScamSmart which has specific guidance relating to COVID-19. With the instability in financial markets this could mean that you are targeted by scammers attempting to lure your pension to alleged ‘safe havens’. Transferring your pension is an irreversible action that will have a lasting impact on your retirement benefits. The Pensions Regulator has also published a letter containing important information on the points you should consider before making a decision to transfer your benefits.  It also provides information on where you should go to obtain impartial guidance.
 
As well as scams relating to the transfer of pension benefits you also need to be on your guard against potential cases of fraud which are believed to be on the increase, this could either be via email or phone.
 
To help protect yourself against phishing emails:
 
  •   Guard against spam. Be especially cautious of emails that come from unrecognised senders.
  •   Communicate personal information only via phone or secure web sites.
  •   Do not click on links, download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders.

In relation to phone scams Age UK has provided four golden rules to help you protect yourself:
 
  •   Do not reveal personal details. Never give out personal or financial information over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from your bank or pension provider.
  •   Hang up. If you feel harassed or intimidated, or if the caller talks over you without giving you a chance to speak, end the call.
  •   Ring the organisation. If you are unsure whether the caller is genuine, you can always ring the company they claim to be from. Make sure you find the number yourself and do not use the one provided by the caller.
  •   Do not be rushed. Scammers will try to rush you into providing your personal details. They may say they have a time-limited offer or claim your bank account is at risk if you do not give them the information they need right away.

Age UK is an organisation which is dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. It has a lot of helpful information and advice on its website on how to stay safe at the current time. Age UK has also produced some Frequently Asked Questions covering many of the questions they are being asked. In addition to this they have produced Coronavirus: a short guide, which covers information about coronavirus, staying safe and well at home, what to do if you are worried about someone else as well as contact details for a number of useful organisations. You can download a copy of the guide from their website or request a free copy to be sent to you by calling their advice line.
 

Update - 7 April

 
The Trustee Boards of all of our schemes have recently held their quarterly Trustee Meetings and have reviewed the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the BAE Systems pension schemes. This has been considered from an operational perspective as well as funding and investment.
 
In light of the operational challenges posed by COVID-19, a key focus for all of our Trustee Boards is to ensure that benefits continue to be paid to pensioners on time and other benefits are put into payment as and when they fall due. Assurance has been sought and received in this respect from the scheme administrators, Equiniti and Capita, as well as other providers. 

For SIPS Benefits members the Capita Administration Centre, and the Pensions Service Centre for all other members, remain ‘open’.  The Contact Us section of this website provides you with the relevant contact details.  Please continue to direct any queries to them for specific assistance but do remember that this website contains helpful information of a more general nature.

We will be responding to the most urgent queries first, so if your question is more routine please do not worry if there is a slight delay before we get in touch with you.

For pensioner members we can confirm that work is underway to implement the annual pension increases and this remains on schedule.

We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving many of us feeling worried and isolated.  These are difficult and challenging times but we do want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure you receive a normal service during these unprecedented circumstances.  The Trustee Boards will continue to monitor the position on an ongoing basis and any further updates will be posted here so please do check back regularly.
 

Update - 25 March

 
The Trustees of all BAE Systems pension schemes have been working with their providers and administrators to ensure that your pension schemes continue to be administered on a timely basis.
 
A key priority is to ensure all our pensioners continue to receive their pension payments as and when they fall due and measures have been put in place to ensure this can be achieved. We would also prioritise retirement processing and our bereavement services.
 
For our members of the BAE Systems Pension Scheme - DC Retirement Plan and the BAE Systems Executive Pension Scheme – 2012 Retirement Plan or members who have paid AVCs or have a Level 100+ Retirement Account, we recognise the increase in market volatility due to the coronavirus may be causing you some concern. We appreciate this can be unsettling, especially if you have seen your pension value fall as a result of recent events. The Standard Life article Coronavirus, market falls and your investments explains, when markets experience volatility due to major global events like this, they tend to recover over time. We are also focusing on ensuring that your scheme contributions continue to be received and invested on a timely basis. 
 
You can access your DC Account with Standard Life via their website at standardlife.co.uk. If you are not already registered, click on ‘Register’ at the top right hand corner of the page and follow the simple registration procedure. You will need your Plan number which you can find on your Standard Life annual statement, or by contacting Equiniti. 
 
* NOTE: Be ScamSmart with your pension
Action Fraud has reported an increase in scamming activity linked to people’s fears around COVID-19. 
 
Pension scams can be hard to spot. Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible-looking websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.
 
With the impact that COVID-19 has had on stock markets around the world and the affect that it is now having on our daily lives it is now more important than ever that you protect your pension.  It is anticipated that scammers could contact you to:
 
  •  Offer a review of your personal finances in the light of recent stock market losses; or to
  •  Offer you the ability to have early access to your pension savings.
To help you spot the signs and protect yourself from a scam, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator suggest the following four simple steps:
 
Step 1 – Reject any unexpected offers
This applies to all offers whether they are made online, on social media or over the phone. 

Step 2 – Check who you are dealing with
Check the ScamSmart website or call 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA to give you pension advice.

Step 3 – Do not be rushed or pressured into any decision about your pension
Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down what seems to be an amazing deal.

Step 4 – Get impartial information or advice
You should seriously consider seeking financial advice before changing your pension arrangements.  In some cases, for example where you are wanting to transfer more than £30,000 from a final salary scheme to a defined contribution arrangement, it is a requirement to do so. Consider using The Pensions Advisory Service which provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.
 
Be ScamSmart with your pension.  For more information visit the websites of the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator.