Q: How is my pension affected if I go part time?
A: Pension accrues on the basis of your Pensionable Service and your Final Pensionable Salary. For many Fund members, assuming their contractual arrangements remain the same throughout their Pensionable Service, it's simply a case of the pension being calculated as one 54th or one 60th of Final Pensionable Salary for each year of Pensionable Service, depending on the Section that applies to you.
However, if different contractual hours have applied during your Pensionable service, the calculation is based on the full-time equivalent Final Pensionable Salary but service is pro-rated for periods of lesser or greater hours.
For example, an employee who has been a member of the Pre-2009 Section since the end of 1995 and whose service has been full time since that date, changes his or her contractual hours at the end of 2010 to work 3 days a week. His or her full time salary was £40,000 a year. The employee subsequently leaves Company service in 2015. The five years working at 3 days a week is pro-rated to 3 years’ service.
The calculation of that employee’s pension would be as follows:
1995 - 2010: 1/54 x 15 years x £40,000 = £11,111
2011 - 2015: 1/54 x 3 years x £40,000 = £ 2,222
Total Pension payable at Normal Pension Date = £13,333 a year
Q: I understand that members do not pay pension contributions on reaching 36 years’ pensionable service. Does my pension grow once I have completed 36 years’ service?
A: Yes. Although SOCPF member contributions for Pre-2009 Section members cease after 36 years’ Pensionable Service, the pension still continues to accrue at the rate of one 54th of your Pensionable Salary a year (and part year) of service. SOCPF member contributions for Post-2009 Section members continue after 36 years’ Pensionable Service and the pension continues to accrue at the rate of one 60th of your Pensionable Salary a year (and part year) of service.
Q: What do I do if I want to take my pension early?
A: You may take your pension after the age of 55 and before Pension Age if you leave Company service. You must have at least two years’ Pensionable Service or have transferred benefits in.
You have to resign from the Company (giving at least your contractual notice) and notify the Pensions Administration Team that you want to take your pension straight away. The Pensions Administration Team will then send you the relevant forms to complete in order to set up the pension. An early retirement factor will be applied for each year you retire before Pension Age and this factor is subject to periodic review.
Q: If I transfer to the UK do I lose my rights as a Pre-2009 Section member?
A: No. You will become a deferred member of the SOCPF Pre-2009 Section, but if you return to work overseas and have been in continuous Pensionable Service in the SCPF while you were in the UK, then you will be able to rejoin the Pre-2009 Section as an active member.
The Linked fund membership factsheet gives full details of how the two funds are designed to complement each other.
Q: When will I receive the annual pension benefit statement?
A: SOCPF members will be notified by email when the statements are available and can request theirs by emailing Pensions-SOCPF-Benefit-Statements@shell.com
Q: Who is my nominated beneficiary for Death in Service Lump Sum?
A: Your Death in Service Nomination Form is held on your personal file, so you should contact the HR service desk who should be able to check the details for you. If your personal circumstances change you should complete a new form which will replace any previous nominations.
Q: Can I attend a pre-retirement course?
A: The Company offers a pre-retirement course to employees leaving with an immediate pension and employees approaching Normal Pension Date. You should receive an invitation to the course automatically but you can contact the Course provider direct by using the contact details given in HR Online.
Q: How is my pension increased from my date of leaving to the date I take my pension?
A: Your deferred pension is revalued from your date of leaving until you take your pension. Your pension increases by the movement in the RPI up to 7% (5% for Post-2009 Section members) each year. If RPI exceeds 7% (5% for Post-2009 Section members) then the Founding Companies can ask the Trustee to approve an increase over 7% (5% for Post-2009 Section members) up to RPI.
Q: My pension isn’t always credited to my account on the 1st of the month, why is this?
A: Your pension is due to be paid on the first working day of the month. As your pension is paid in advance, if the 1st falls at a weekend or on a bank holiday, it will be paid on the next working day. For example, if 1 October was a Saturday, your pension would not be credited until Monday 3 October. This has always been the case and is not a change in practice. We would recommend that you bear this in mind when arranging standing orders or direct debits from the account into which your pension is paid.
Q: Will my pension be paid early before Christmas or a bank holiday?
A: No. It will always be paid on the first working day of the month.
Q: Is my pension reduced when I get my State Pension?
A: Your pension is not reduced at State Pension Age.
Q: Why don’t I get a Payment Advice slip each month?
A: Pension Payment Advice slips are only sent to you when the net payment to your bank account changes by £1 or more. You will be sent one in April each year and also for the month of May as this is the first payment made in the new tax year. If you don’t receive one at any other time, you can assume that your payment is within £1 of the previous month.
Q: Why don’t I get a P60 for my Shell Overseas Contributory Pension Fund (SOCPF) pension?
A: As you are probably aware, payments from the SOCPF are classed as overseas income and no tax is deducted at source. It is a Bermudian Trust and, therefore, Shell Trust (Bermuda) Limited, the Trustee of the SOCPF, cannot issue P60s. However, each, April, they issue an April Pension Payment Advice slip which includes the total payments that particular tax year. You should retain this advice slip and use it when preparing your tax return.
Q: How much pension will my qualifying spouse receive if I die?
A: A qualifying spouse is entitled to a pension on the death of a member, from the first day of the following month. A qualifying spouse is the legal spouse or civil partner at the date of death. The amount paid will generally not be less than 60% of your pension at Pension Age before taking any tax free cash. However the spouse’s pension on the death of a total incapacity pensioner before pension age is based on a notional pension and not your actual pension.
For further details please see the SOCPF Explanatory Booklet. If you wish to receive an estimate of the pension please contact the Pensions Administration Team.
About the SOCPF
Why use a trust?
Using a trust ensures that the SOCPF assets are kept completely separate from those of the Company, which provides security for members.
How does the SOCPF work?
The SOCPF is a Final Salary Scheme (a type of Defined Benefit arrangement). This means that your pension is based on your Pensionable Service and Final Pensionable Salary at the date you take your benefits, leave or die (whichever is the earliest), and your Accrual Rate.
How are my contributions taken into account?
In a Defined Benefit Scheme, such as the SOCPF, pension benefits are defined by reference to salary and service, not by the contributions or performance of the underlying investments. The Company bears the risk of uncertain investment returns and pays the ‘balance of cost’. The cost to you as a member is much lower than the actual cost of providing the scheme benefits, the burden of cost being borne by the Company.
A pension arrangement where benefits are based on the value of contributions (the contributions paid and the investment gains or losses on those contributions) is known as a Defined Contribution Scheme (also sometimes known as a ‘money purchase’ arrangement). In this case, the member bears the risk of uncertain investment returns.
How are the contributions invested?
The Trustee prepares and maintains a Statement of Investment Principles (SIP), which sets out the principles governing decisions about the SOCPF’s investments. When preparing the SIP, the Trustee obtains advice from the Trustee’s independent investment adviser. The Company is also consulted.
What types of investment are there?
The Trustee determines the investment strategy and how the SOCPF’s investments will be allocated between the different asset classes (known as the strategic asset allocation). The main asset classes are equities, bonds, property and cash. The SCPF also invests in some more complex types of asset such as private equity and hedge funds.
The actual asset allocation may differ from the strategic asset allocation for a variety of reasons, such as market movements or during a period when a revised investment strategy is being implemented. A change of investment strategy cannot be implemented all at once, as it would mean selling and buying a large amount of assets at one time and not necessarily at the most favourable time to do so. Therefore, the agreed strategy is approached more gradually. Further information about the SOCPF’s investment strategy can be found in The SOCPF Source and SCPF Annual Report of the Trustee and Financial Statements (“the Accounts”).
Who invests the assets?
The Investment Manager appointed by the Trustee is Shell Asset Management Company B.V. (SAMCo). The Investment Manager invests the SOCPF assets in accordance with the investment strategy and guidelines set out by the Trustee. These are set out in detail in the Statement of Investment Principles (SIP).
What is the investment adviser’s role?
The independent Investment Adviser appointed by the Trustee is Aon Hewitt. The Investment Adviser liaises with the Investment Manager and provides investment advice to the Trustee. The Investment Adviser helps the Trustee to monitor investment performance and the performance of the Investment Manager.
How do I find out about investment performance?
Full details are given in the SOCPF Annual Report of the Trustee and Financial Statements and a more summarized account is given in The SOCPF Source.