If you have been asked to verify your address, it is important that you do
You may have received a letter recently asking that you complete and return a form to confirm your current address. We understand that you may be concerned about fraud, and may be unsure that this request is genuine. We would like to assure all recipients of such a request that it is genuine, and it is so that we make sure all our records are as up to date as possible.
If you have received a form, please complete and return it as soon as possible, so that you do not miss out on receiving vital information about the Fund.
If you have misplaced your form, you can download one here. Please choose the one relevant to you:
Alternatively, you can complete our online verification form at www.contactpensionsadmin.com/greenwichverification
Keeping your personal information safe is very important to us. Only when you have returned this form or completed the electronic version can we update our records.
Ill Health Retirement – Further High Court Update 23 June 2021
As members may recall, a hearing was due take place in the High Court over two days from (or shortly after) 5 July 2021. This was in relation to settlement of a case about the ill-health early retirement (“IHER”) benefits paid by the Fund.
The issues in the case relate to whether IHER benefits paid by the Fund from 1985 onwards were validly introduced and the legal effect of various subsequent changes to those benefits. In particular, from 1991, certain IHER benefits were reduced or suspended, and from 8 October 1993, no further IHER pensions were provided to members leaving service after that date.
Whilst the parties have made considerable progress in the confidential settlement discussions, the hearing listed for July needs to be re-scheduled. This is primarily to allow more time for discussions to take place with HMRC over the tax treatment of any payments made under the settlement.
The Judge has therefore agreed to re-list the hearing, and it will now take place over two days from (or shortly after) 11 October 2021. As before, the intention is that if settlement terms are agreed, they will be considered by the Judge for approval at that hearing. The Judge will only approve the settlement if it is considered to be in the interests of both the members and the employers.
Further information about the proposed settlement will be made available to members before the hearing in October 2021.
The Trustee strongly recommends that, where possible, members who (a) previously retired for reasons of ill health on an IHER pension, or (b) who left service on or after 8 October 1993 without taking IHER, retain any medical and employment history and/or knowledge about their past health.
The Trustee also recommends that, where possible, a members family/dependants also retain knowledge of, and/or records related to, a members employment and medical history in the event of a members incapacity or death. This is relevant for all members with service before 8 October 1993 who either (a) have or had IHER benefits or (b) left service through ill-health after that date without taking IHER (at the time of leaving service). This could be relevant whether or not the case settles.
Statement on recent news articles
The Trustee is aware of the article that appeared in the Times on Monday 31st May. The Trustee wishes to assure members that their benefits are secure. The Chair of Trustees has released the following statement:
“The overriding concern of the Trustee is the ability to pay members benefits in full and on time. As a multi-employer, last man standing, pension scheme, we’re always alive to the possibility of a participating employer struggling to pay contributions. If and when that happens it is a cause of concern as the knock-on effect is that other employers are required to meet the “default” contributions. The Trustee is very alive to the need to treat all participating employers fairly and equally.”
The Trustee would like to re-assure all members that their benefits remain secure and will continue to be paid in full and on time.
Trustee Board update
The RMT and Employers Group have recently agreed that the current Trustee Board will continue in its current form until the end of July. This is so it can complete the Fund’s valuation and progress its work around resolving the ill-health court case at a critical time.
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund - Regulatory intervention report
On 16 December 2020, the Pensions Regulator published its Regulatory Intervention Report in regard to the MNRPF. This document reports on its findings on the governance of the Fund and relates directly to matters highlighted in the communication issued to all members by John Oldland in March 2020 and the update provided in the recent Newsletter to members. Click on the links to see copies of these documents on this website.
Since the Determination Panel hearing on 27 February 2020 the Trustee Board has been working effectively together, in the interests of the MNRPF and its members.
The announcement from the Pensions Regulator confirms the outcome of its investigation and closely aligns with what John Oldland mentioned in his letter.
You can view the Pension Regulators report at: https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/enforcement-activity/regulatory-intervention-reports/merchant-navy-ratings-pension-fund-regulatory-intervention-report
The Trustee would like to stress that, throughout the difficulties that led to the Determinations Panel hearing and since, the day-to-day affairs of the Fund (e.g. payment of Benefits, collection and investment of contributions, triennial valuation and annual funding update, annual audit, etc.) have continued to be effectively managed by the Trustee, with the assistance of its advisers. So hopefully members have seen little or no change in the routine operation of the MNRPF.
However, we understand that members may have some questions and hope that the following provides you with reassurance to any concerns you may have.
1. Is my pension at risk?
No your pension is not at risk. The MNRPF is well funded and as previously mentioned the day-to-day affairs of the Fund (e.g. payment of Benefits, collection and investment of contributions, triennial valuation and annual funding update, annual audit, etc.) have continued to be effectively managed by the Trustee, with the assistance of its advisers.
2. Do I need to do anything?
No there is nothing for you to do.
3. Can I transfer out?
If you are a deferred member and have not yet retired then transfers out of the Scheme are allowed. For any member considering this option we would very strongly encourage you to take independent regulated financial advice to see if this is an appropriate course of action for you.
4. Are the issues all dealt with?
As outlined in the letter from John Oldland in the Summary Annual Report good progress has been made.
Further appointments are expected to be made to the Trustee Board in the new year. We expect this to happen Q2 2021.
5. Who is paying the £1m of adviser costs? Has this come out of my pension?
No. The costs of running the Fund do not impact the level or amount of your pension.
6. How secure is the Fund?
The Fund is in a good financial position with a successful regime of getting financial contributions from the sponsoring employers. The three-yearly formal valuation process is currently underway and will value the fund as at 31 March 2020 but this process takes many months to complete. The Trustee will write to you again once this process has completed.
7. Who is responsible for the governance issues?
The Trustee Board as a whole is responsible for the governance of the Fund.