Transition

Moving to a new administrator

Latest information

We are changing the Scheme’s administrator from Aptia (formerly Mercer) to Buck, a Gallagher Company (Buck) from 28 October 2024.

You do not need to do anything but if you are planning to retire or make another change in September or October 2024 you may need to factor in longer processing times. Please refer to the key dates below for more information.

This change will not affect the value of the benefits you’ve built up in any way.

Buck is an award-winning pension administrator with a track record of using technology to make pension scheme members’ lives easier. We looked at a number of pension administrators before choosing Buck, and we believe their emphasis on putting members first is in line with our own values.

Background

The Santander (UK) Group Pension Scheme Trustees delegate the day-to-day administration of the Scheme to a third party. They are responsible for maintaining records, updating information, and importantly calculating and paying your pension. This work is currently carried out by Aptia (formerly known as Mercer) but from 28 October 2024 will be carried out by Buck.

The Trustees considered this change carefully, and selected Buck from a number of potential organisations offering administrative support.

Buck’s key offerings are:

  • Strong service-level commitments
  • Commitment to learning and improving
  • Secure online member portal with self-serve options
  • Good quality member communications

The Trustees’ assessment is that these features are vital to the continued provision of pension services to the Scheme and its members. In particular, the digital capabilities of Buck, and its partner organisations, will lead to significant positive changes to the administration of the Scheme and improve your experience of the Scheme.

Key dates

Early June 2024

We’ve launched our new website with more information about your pension and informed you of the change of administrator.

Mid July 2024

If you are an active or deferred member, we’ll write to you again to remind you of the dates you need to be aware of if you’re retiring before November 2024. If you need to change your address, you can continue to do this through Benpal or the Contact Mercer Admin portal until 23 September 2024.

From 5 August 2024

If you are planning to retire before November 2024, you must return all your completed forms to Aptia by 5 August 2024. If you return your forms after this date, your monthly pension payments will not be set up until after the changeover to Buck is complete.

From 23 September 2024

After this date please do not update your details in Benpal or the Contact Mercer Admin portal. If you need to change your address, you will need to wait until after 28 October 2024 and do this through the new member portal or by contacting Gallagher.

From 25 October 2024

Benpal will be switched off. Documents held on Benpal will not be transferred to the new member portal so you will need to save any documents you wish to keep before 25 October 2024.

From 28 October 2024

The changeover will be complete. You can now register on the new member portal to manage your pension. We will write to you again after 28 October with instructions for how to register.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are you changing the administrator?

We want you to get the most out of your pension and feel confident managing it. It’s also important to us that we’re making the most of advances in technology to improve your experience as a Scheme member. We expect the change to an automated system will make our processes more efficient, giving you a better service and offering more ways to manage your pension online.

Why have you chosen Buck?

Buck is an award-winning pension administrator with a track record of using technology to make pension scheme members’ lives easier. We looked at a number of pension administrators before choosing Buck, and we believe their emphasis on putting members first is in line with our own values.

Specifically, the key reasons for choosing Buck to provide this service are:

  • Strong service-level commitments
  • Commitment to learning and improving
  • Secure online member portal with self-serve options
  • Good quality member communications
What will I be able to do in the new member portal?

You’ll be able to:

  • check out your pension benefit details
  • submit queries online and check their progress through the Gallagher case tracker
  • update your personal details if you are a deferred or pensioner member
  • update your bank details if you’re receiving a pension
  • let us know who you’d like to receive any benefits payable when you die
  • see how much your pension benefits would be worth if you decided to transfer them to another scheme
  • get a retirement quote to see how much your pension benefits could be worth when you retire
  • complete your retirement request online

You can also download a mobile app to log into the member portal on the go.

Will this affect the value of my pension?

No. The value of the pension benefits you’ve already built up in the Scheme won’t be affected in any way by the change of administrator.

Will the date my pension is paid change?

No, your pension payment date remains the same.

I am planning to retire before November 2024, what do I need to know?

You need to submit your completed retirement request to Aptia by 5 August 2024 if you want to receive your first monthly pension payment in September or October 2024.

If you submit your retirement request on 6 August 2024 or later, your first monthly pension payment will be in November or December 2024 (depending on your normal payment date).

If you choose to receive a cash free lump sum this will be paid in September or October 2024 provided Aptia receives all the information required to process the payment.

What will happen to my retirement request if I miss the 5 August 2024 deadline?

If Aptia receives your request to retire on or after 6 August your monthly pension payments will not be set up until after the changeover to Buck is complete.

If you choose to receive a tax-free cash lump sum, it will still be paid in September or October 2024 provided Aptia receives all the information required to process the payment.

However, you won’t get your first monthly pension payment until November or December 2024 (depending on your normal payment date).

I want to transfer out of the Scheme, what do I need to know?

You can get a transfer value from Aptia as normal, and if you choose to transfer during the changeover period your request to transfer will be processed as normal by Aptia up until 25 October 2024.

From 28 October 2024 transfer requests will be handled by Buck. In the immediate period after the changeover the Buck team will be prioritising pension payments so there may be a short delay in completing your transfer request.

It’s important to remember that transfer values go up and down over time. Your transfer value is influenced by a number of factors, including market conditions and changes in life expectancy.

I need to update my details, where can I do that?

Until 23 September 2024 you can update your personal details on Benpal, on the Contact Mercer Admin portal, or by contacting Aptia direct.

Please don’t use Benpal or the Contact Mercer Admin portal to update your details after 23 September 2024.

Between 24 September and 27 October 2024 there will be no changes to member records. Between these dates Aptia can take your amends to pass on to Buck, the new administrator, to update your record from 28 October 2024. Alternatively, you can wait until after the 28 October 2024 when Buck will have your record set up and make the change direct with them. Please note Buck will be prioritising changes which impact pension payments.

From 28 October 2024 you can update your details on the new member portal.

Will I still be able to access my documents on Benpal?

After 25 October 2024, you will no longer be able to access any documents on Benpal. Documents held on Benpal will not be transferred to the new member portal so you will need to save any documents you wish to keep before 25 October 2024.

I’m not good with technology, do I have to use the new member portal?

No, you’ll still be able to talk to a person on the phone, or deal with them in writing, as you do at the moment. But we are aiming to make the member portal as easy to use as possible so most people will benefit from it. We’ll contact you after 28 October 2024 to explain how to register for the new portal.