As a Scheme member, you’re entitled to the following benefits:

Your retirement entitlement depends upon which section of the Scheme you are in. Check your member guide for full details.

How your pension builds up

You build up pension based on:

To build up your benefits, you pay a percentage of your Basic Annual Salary while you’re working for Santander. This is your basic salary each year, plus any other payments Santander UK plc decides should be included.

If you stop paying into the Scheme before you retire, your pension will be worked out at the date you stopped paying in. This is known as a ‘deferred’ pension (and you’ll therefore be referred to as a ‘deferred member’). Your deferred pension will increase each year, to help it keep pace with inflation, until you retire and take your benefits. How much it increases depends on which section you’re in.

Check your member guide to find out:

Boosting your benefits

If you are still working for the Santander and you want to boost your pension benefits, you can pay extra contributions. These are known as additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) and would be paid to LifeSight. You can find out more about LifeSight on One HR under the Rewarding you section.

You can pay AVCs to LifeSight, Santander UK plc’s defined contribution (DC) scheme.

If you’re a current Santander employee, you can find out more about LifeSight, including how to pay AVCs on One HR under the Rewarding you section.

You can also contact the LifeSight Administrators for this information.

You are no longer able to pay AVCs directly to the Scheme. However, any AVCs you paid before 6 April 2010 remain part of your benefits.

When you can take your benefits

You can take your benefits from the Scheme when you reach 65. This is the Scheme’s Normal Pension Age.

You may be able to take your benefits earlier – from age 55 in most cases – although changes to legislation mean this will increase to age 57 if you retire after 6 April 2028. Some members may have a protected pension age of 50, check with the administrator if you are not sure if this applies to you.

If you retire before age 65, the amount of annual pension you receive will be reduced to reflect the longer period you will spend in retirement. If you retire early due to ill-health you may be able to receive your pension without any reduction. In both cases, you might need the Trustees and your employer to agree you can take your benefits early.

You may also be able to carry on working past age 65 and build up more benefits in the Scheme. However, there may be a limit on how much pension you can build up in the Scheme, check your member guide for details.

Go to Planning your retirement to find out more about when you can take your benefits and your options for taking them.

Opting out of the Scheme

You don’t have to carry on paying into the Scheme while you’re working for Santander. You can opt out, and stop paying in, at any time. If you opt out, you’ll become a deferred member and your deferred pension will be calculated from the date you stopped paying in.

However, you should think very carefully before doing this. Once opted out, you won’t build up any more benefits in the Scheme and, if you change your mind, you won’t be able to rejoin the Scheme in future. You’ll join LifeSight instead.

If you’re still working for Santander and decide to opt out, you might be enrolled into LifeSight in the future anyway, due to auto-enrolment legislation. This states that all employers must put their eligible employees into a pension and pay contributions into it for them. Every three years schemes must therefore check for employees who are not in a pension and enrol them if they qualify. If this happens to you and you still don’t want to save into a pension, you can opt out again.

If you’re a current Santander employee, you can find out more about LifeSight on One HR under the Rewarding you section.

Transferring your benefits out of the Scheme

Moving your benefits to another pension scheme is a serious step. It involves converting your Scheme benefits into cash (known as a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value) and paying them into a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme.

This completely changes your benefits as you’ll no longer be entitled to a pension for life that increases to reflect inflation. You will also lose your entitlement to a pension for your dependants if you die before them. You may however have more choices around how to take your retirement income.

Transferring out is unlikely to be in most members’ best interests and a transfer cannot be reversed.

If you do decide you want to transfer your benefits out, we recommend you take independent financial advice. In fact, if your transfer value is £30,000 or more, you’re legally required to take financial advice from an independent financial adviser who is:

As pension transfers are a prime target for scammers, the Scheme Trustees also have the power to query or even block transfers that look as if they might involve fraud. This means they may ask you for more information about the pension scheme you want to transfer to. They may also ask you to have a pension guidance appointment with MoneyHelper and you’ll need to be able to prove you’ve done this.

Find out more about pension scams.

Requesting a transfer quote

You can use Benpal to get an informal, on-the-spot estimate of the current cash equivalent transfer value of your Scheme benefits.

To get a formal quote, please get in touch with the Scheme Administrators. You can ask for a formal quotation at no cost, twice in any 12-month period.

When you die

Your loved ones may be entitled to benefits from the Scheme if you die before them.

If you die before you retire

A cash lump sum will be paid at the Trustees’ discretion. The amount paid out depends on:

Please tell the Trustees who you’d like to receive the cash. This is important as it can mean they will receive the money more quickly. Find out more under Benefits payable after your death.

The Scheme will also pay a pension to your spouse or civil partner and children’s pensions may be available. The amounts payable depend on which section of the Scheme you’re in.

Check your member guide for more details about the benefits available for your loved ones.

If you die after you retire

If you die within five years of retiring, the Scheme will pay the rest of your first five years’ pension payments as a cash lump sum. This won’t include any allowance for future pension increases.

In most cases, the Scheme will also pay a pension to your spouse or civil partner and children’s pensions may be available. The amounts payable depend on which section of the Scheme you’re in.

Check your member guide for more details about the benefits available for your loved ones.

Benefits payable after your death

The Trustees sometimes have discretion over who receives benefits payable after your death. The Trustees will look into who the most appropriate person(s) are. If you’ve told us in advance this speeds up the process and can mean any money due is paid out quickly.

Log in to Benpal and go to My account> Personal details> Add beneficiaries. Or, ask the Scheme Administrators for a Nomination of Beneficiaries form.

Remember to update your nominations if anything changes, so we’ve always got the most up-to-date information.