News relating to the SOCPF or pensions in general.
Message from the Trustee on COVID-19
In these unsettling times, as we all change the way we go about our lives in order to control the spread of COVID-19, we would like to reassure you that the Pensions Administration Team is maintaining normal service while following Shell and Government advice for keeping our staff safe, including working from home as far as possible. Pension payments will be made as normal on the first working day of each month.
Some of you may need to contact us in relation to your Shell pension (for example, an address change) and you can continue to do so in the usual way: email to UK-PensionsAdmin@shell.com or call on +44 (0)20 7934 1190 (if you cannot get through straight away, please leave a message and we will call you back within 48 hours).
Due to possible delays with the post, if you have to mail anything to us you may experience a delay in our response to you. Where possible, we would encourage you to email the Pensions Administration Team rather than using mail. We will accept scanned versions of documents or photographs of documents over email. To help, please add your pension number to the email.
As a guide, the turnaround for most cases is approximately 10-15 working days.
Whilst we continue to operate as normal at the current time, we will update this note should anything change.
The 2019 Source
Changes to the Trustee Board
In September 2019 we welcomed Sharon A. Beesley to the Board. Sharon is a co-founder of the BeesMont Group and CEO of BeesMont Law Limited. Sharon will replace James Hallett who is stepping down from his role as Trustee Director at the end of 2019. Finally, Peter Borland who has been Secretary to Shell Trust Bermuda since August 2002, is retiring in December 2019.
The 2018 Source
We are pleased to announce the new-look 2018 SOCPF Source is ready to view, which, along with the usual information on investments and the Trustee Board, also includes the results of the 2017 actuarial valuation.
New Privacy Notice
The 2017 edition of the SOCPF Source, the newsletter from Shell Trust Bermuda, is now available. To view it please click here.
This edition features a member survey - please take a moment to complete the survey on page 3! Your responses will help us to provide you with information and services that you find most useful.
Funding of the SOCPF
There are often articles in the press that talk about Shell having a large pension deficit. The figures frequently referred to, are taken from the Royal Dutch Shell plc accounts, and refer to the total accounting liability for all of Shell’s schemes across the globe. This includes schemes in other countries that are deliberately unfunded as permitted under local legislation, so will show a shortfall for accounting purposes.
The SOCPF is currently well funded, and its assets are ring-fenced from Shell’s other schemes, including the unfunded schemes mentioned above. You can read more about the SOCPF's funding in the upcoming Source.
The Trustee Services Unit has become aware of unsolicited approaches and cold-calling to SOCPF members from companies offering financial advice and suggesting you transfer your pension from Shell to another pension scheme, often overseas.
These companies often quote inaccurate and misleading information about your benefits from the SOCPF and actions the Trustee or Company have taken (when they have not) or they claim to offer ‘guaranteed returns’ from their own investments.
Don’t be caught out! Read The Pensions Regulator’s five tips for protecting yourself from scammers, by clicking on this link website.
Taxation Of SOCPF Benefits
In January 2017, we communicated on the SOCPF website that there would potentially be changes to the taxation of your SOCPF benefits from 6 April 2017 onwards if you are a UK tax resident.
Legislation was passed in the Finance Act 2017, which received Royal Assent on 28 April 2017, that more closely aligns the taxation of income from foreign pension schemes (such as the SOCPF) with that for UK based pension schemes, such as the SCPF. These changes take effect from 6 April 2017.
The effect on the UK taxation of SOCPF benefits for UK tax residents is as follows:
- Pension income: Up to 5 April 2017 only 90% of pension income paid from the SOCPF was subject to income tax. With effect from 6 April 2017, 100% of pension income, irrespective of when it was accrued, will be subject to tax. This aligns with the tax treatment of pension income paid from the SCPF.
- Lump sum: On retirement, members can choose to exchange 25% of the value of their pension income for a cash lump sum. Up to 5 April 2017 this lump sum was tax-free (provided you were not a UK tax resident during the period of accrual) which aligned with the SCPF. With effect from 6 April 2017 lump sums in respect of benefits accrued after that date will be subject to income tax at an individual’s marginal rate. Tax relief will remain available for lump-sums accrued before 6 April 2017 (subject to being non-resident in the period of accrual).
- Please note, the Company and Trustee are still working with advisors to understand the practical implications of these changes (for example, how to separate benefits accrued both pre-and-post 6 April 2017 for the purposes of establishing amounts eligible for tax relief). You should ensure that you take the appropriate tax advice and understand the tax consequences of any decisions you make regarding the form of your benefits.
Please note that both pension income and cash lump sums are paid from the SOCPF gross, i.e. with no deduction for tax. It will be your responsibility to ensure that the correct amount of tax is paid to the relevant tax authority.
Beware of unsolicited emails and of pension scams. We are aware that some companies have contacted SOCPF members suggesting they can transfer their SOCPF and SCPF benefits to more tax efficient vehicles based offshore. Some have also said that the Company or Trustee are making the changes to the SOCPF. Neither the Company nor the Trustee are changing the benefits to either the SOCPF or SCPF, these changes are entirely because of a change to UK tax legislation. Before you make any decision on where your pension is invested we recommend you follow the UK Pension Regulator’s five steps to protect your pension. These steps can be found here.
The 2016 edition of the SOCPF Source will be issued to all members this month (September). This year we are including a letter requesting your email address so that we can start to communicate electronically with those who are happy to move away from paper. It’s easy to register:
- Visit the website at sp.pensioncomms.info
- Enter your surname as printed on the letter and insert the unique PIN
- Finally enter your personal email address
Once you’ve registered you’ll receive emails letting you know when the Source and other non-personalised communications are available to view online, giving you instant access to important information and resources. We very much hope you will take this opportunity to help us to help you.
STB Board said thank you and goodbye to Bob Stewart who retired after 40 years as a Trustee Director in March 2015. We welcome his replacement on the Trustee Board, James Hallett.
Shell Trust Bermuda welcomed two new Trustee Directors to the Board, Pablo Gamero as Vice President and Michael Clark who joined in August 2014.
2013 Annual Benefit Statements – Active members
SOCPF Active Members
As in previous years, SOCPF Active members can request their benefit statement(s) (including their AVC statement, if applicable) by e-mail. SOCPF active members should send an e-mail to
Pensions-SOCPF-Benefit-Statements@shell.com including their Pension number (if known) and their date of birth. Please do NOT send the e-mail marked as Private.
2012 Annual Benefit Statements
SOCPF Active Members
The 2012 SOCPF and SCPF (if applicable) annual benefit statements are now available. As in previous years, these statements are available on request and will be sent as a pdf attachment by e-mail. Should you wish to receive your statement(s) please e-mail your request to the mailbox address below, including your full name and date of birth to enable easier identification. If you contributed towards the Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) Arrangement whilst an active member of the SCPF the 2011/2012 AVC statements are also available by request using the same mail box:
2011 UK Retirement Benefits Review
The Company announced today that it is proposing to develop a UK defined contribution pension plan for new hires to Shell to reflect market trends in the UK. Timing is proposed to be Quarter 1 2013. The plan will be designed to ensure that the reward package in the UK for new hires remains strongly competitive.
Current active members, deferred members and pensioners of the Shell Contributory Pension Fund (SCPF) and the Shell Overseas Contributory Pension Fund (SOCPF) are not impacted by this proposal. Active members of the SCPF and SOCPF will continue to accrue pension benefits within those plans on the same basis as now. The Company has confirmed that its commitment to funding the SCPF and SOCPF remains unchanged. Further details of the proposed pension plan for new hires will be made available as the design is progressed.
9 December 2011
SOCPF Benefit Statements
The Shell Overseas Contributory Pension Fund (SOCPF) Benefit Statements are usually made available for all active members of the SOCPF to request in late June each year. We decided to delay the statements this year as we had introduced a new and upgraded pensions administration system (Compendia). We advised active members, in late June, that we expected to be able to make the statements available during October 2011.
Unfortunately, there is a further delay while final checks are made, for which we apologise. Your SOCPF Benefit Statement will be available for you to request from 11 November 2011. Please e-mail your request to the mailbox below and we will aim to issue your statement within 4 weeks from the date of your request:
Please include your full name and date of birth to ensure you are correctly identified. Please note that if you also have benefits in the SCPF, you will receive two separate statements covering your benefits in each fund.
Please check your statement carefully on receipt. If you have any queries regarding your statement, please contact the Pensions Advisory Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Pensions Administration System - Important Information for All Members
On 31 May 2011, the Trustee Services Unit implemented a new Pensions Administration and Payroll System, called Compendia. This will enable us to improve our service to members.
Pensioners should note that there are some minor but important changes which affect them - the article below explains the new pension numbers and the new pension payment advice slip layout.
Active members should note that Benefit Statements are usually available for all active members of the Fund in late June each year. Earlier in the year the Trustee Services Unit made a decision to produce the Benefit Statements for the year to 31 March 2011 using Compendia rather than the previous pensions administration system. Having implemented Compendia on 31 May 2011 we now need a period of stability before we prepare the Benefit Statements. It is likely that Benefit Statements will be available at the earliest during October 2011. We apologise for this delay and any inconvenience caused.
We will update you on the expected timing of availability of Benefit Statements later in the year. In the meantime, should you require an update of the information for a specific purpose e.g. you are approaching your Normal Pension date or are thinking about early retirement, you may request this information from the Pensions Advisory Unit.
All members should note that the Trustee Services Unit has not been in a position to respond to queries from members as quickly as usual during the period when we switched over from our previous administration system to Compendia. We aim to return to our normal response times as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience in the meantime.
Commutation Factor Review November 2010
When you first take your pension you can exchange some of your pension for a pension commencement lump sum. Commutation factors are used to calculate how much pension you would give up.
The Founding Companies review and set the commutation factors in the SCPF and the SOCPF, after consultation with the Actuary.
The most recent review and consultation took place in November 2010 and as a result the commutation factors were increased from 1 January 2011. The Trustees of the SCPF and SOCPF approved the necessary amendment to the Trust Deed and Regulations at their Trustee meetings in November and December 2010.
As commutation factors are subject to review, you will receive an estimate of the maximum pension commencement lump sum available to you when you take your pension.
If you would like further information about the change in commutation factors please go to HR Online/My Benefits/My Pension or contact the Pensions Advisory Unit FTT/21 email: email@example.com you are an active member. If you are a deferred member, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pension Increases - RPI History
In February 2011 the Bank of England made a comment that one component of inflation (clothing) may have been understated by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in their inflation calculations.
The ONS has stated that it regularly updates its methodology and that there has been no change to the published inflation index (RPI). The latter is what is referenced in the Trust Deeds to calculate pension increases for the Shell Contributory Pension Fund and the Shell Overseas Contributory Pension Fund. As there are no changes to the published RPI, pensions will continue to be uplifted by the published RPI and no changes will be made to the historic pension increases for both funds.
Pension Increases - RPI/CPI
You may have heard or read about the Government's plans to look at whether pensions should be increased by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) or the Retail Prices Index (RPI). The Government's consultation process is due to end in March 2011. We await the conclusion of the consultation but at this stage we are not anticipating that we will need to amend the rules in the Trust Deed and Regulations which give RPI as the basis for the annual review of pensions.