August 2020: An update from the LPFA on Covid-19

 

To LPFA Members:

While newspaper headlines about stock market movements can be worrying, we want to reassure all members that your benefits are secure, and we will continue to pay your pensions. The LPFA is a long-term investor and we aim to protect against market volatility when we invest.  Your pension is also guaranteed by the government so no matter what happens you will continue to receive a pension.

If you’d like more information about the Fund’s finances, you can see our draft accounts here.

 

Contribution flexibilities

Many people are struggling with their finances. If you are in the LGPS and are looking to reconsider your contributions and benefits, then remember that all our members can choose to reduce their pension contributions by joining the 50/50 section.  More information can be found here.

In the 50/50 section, your monthly pension contributions will be halved, and you will also build up half the amount of pension. This will give you more money in your bank account each month, but it will mean you are building up your pension more slowly. Members can choose to join the 50/50 section or return to the main section at any time.

 

Prepare for the winter – Sign up and use My Pension Online

Each winter, the UK experiences large numbers of seasonal flu cases. This, combined with the likelihood of another COVID19 wave, may result in the UK facing another period of lockdown and disruption to daily life this winter. We would encourage all our members to investigate what you can do online including signing up My Pension Online (MPO). Using MPO allows you to keep your contact details are up to date, calculate your income in retirement, tell us about your next of kin, and contact us simply and quickly.

Age UK have also produced a useful checklist for those looking for hints and tips on staying at home that you might also find useful.

 

A warning to all members about scams

Remember - From January 2019, companies are not allowed to call you up about your pension unless you have specifically said you want to be called, or already have a policy with the provider. In short, if you have not asked them to call you, and you do not have a pension with them, the company shouldn’t be calling you.

But scammers are unlikely to be put off by this ban, so it is important to be aware of the tell-tale signs of a pension scam. Scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions transfers, or high-return investment opportunities, including investments in crypto assets.

Beware of investments that appear to be too good be true.

Follow these 7 tips to protect yourself:

  1. reject offers that come out of the blue
  2. beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online
  3. use the Financial Services Register and Warning List to check who you are dealing with
  4. do not click links or open emails from senders you do not already know
  5. avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision
  6. if a firm calls you unexpectedly, use the contact details on the Financial Services Register to check that you are dealing with the genuine firm
  7. do not give out personal details like bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details.

If you suspect a scam or are feeling under pressure, call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040.

To LPFA Employers

There is a high possibility of a more severe COVID19 wave in the UK this winter.  We would urge employers to contact us at [Employer Risk Mailbox]  if you have concerns about your organisation’s ability to pay pension contributions during a lockdown this winter.

You may also have questions about furloughing, your ability to pay your pension contributions or questions about employee ill-health. The LGPS has produced a comprehensive Question and Answer document cover all those areas and more. 

If you’d like more information about the Fund’s finances, you can see our draft accounts here