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01/2017

2016: Year of (pension) changes in the UK

This year seems to be filled with major changes on fundamental issues concerning the United Kingdom and its inhabitants. Besides other developments, some remarkable changes within the pension systems came into force. Britain is a country with many research facilities and a lot of researchers spend at least one phase of their careers there. Thus, the changes in terms of pensions are worth to have a look at and we will give you an overview in our newsletter. Details of the systems are explained in the respective Pension ABCs of the UK Department for Work and Pensions and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).  

 

Automatic Enrolment into a workplace pension scheme
 
Following the ongoing discussions on sufficient provisions for old age, ‘automatic enrolment’ had been introduced by the UK government in 2012. According to this law, employers must offer a workplace pension scheme and automatically enrol certain eligible workers in it. The coverage has started with the largest employers since October 2012, followed by medium-sized and then small ones. The obligation will apply to all employers by 2018. By means of this default-solution more employees are expected to earn supplementary pensions in addition to their State Pension. Nevertheless, it is still possible for workers to optout within a month after the enrolment.
 
 

Reform of the two-tiered State Pension System

The UK state pension system, a so-called two-tier-system, was considered to be very complicated. This was one of the reasons for another reform which was adopted by the government in 2014. The former system comprised two different elements: a basic and an earnings-related part called Additional Pension. Regarding the latter, also known as second tier, reforms already took place when the former SERPS system was closed and been replaced by the State Second Pension = S2P scheme in April 2002. This new arrangement was intended to grant higher benefits to affiliates with lower incomes and contended distributional effects. However, ‘contracting out’ of the Additional Pension towards a workplace (occupational) pension instead was possible and many employees had chosen this option.


According to the latest reform, the State Pension has been transformed into a single-tier, flatrate pension called the new State Pension which started as of April 2016. Following the new rules it is not possible to contract out of the State Pension system as it was in the old, two tiered system. You can learn more about the transformation of accrued entitlements into the new scheme in our UK State Pension ABC (please select your target group and find the Pension ABC).


Many researchers and scientists have been or are members of USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme). Here, changes and new features have been installed as well. So, why the changes and what has changed at USS?

Recent Reforms in the Universities Superannuation Scheme

For many years USS had a so called Final Salary system from which guaranteed benefits resulted under certain requirements (so-called defined benefit (DB) system). These benefits were based on the employee’s last salary. Every three years an asset and liability valuation takes place at USS. After a valuation highlighted a substantial deficit for the future, changes had to be made in order to stepwise replace the so-called Final Salary Section (FS). The first major change took place in 2011 when the Final salary section was closed for new members and a Career Revalued Benefits (CRB) section for new members who joined after 30 September 2011, and for some members who rejoined the scheme, was introduced.


This year, on 31 March 2016 the Final Salary section closed completely. Benefits accrued up to then were calculated resulting from how long members have been affiliated to the scheme, and on how high their pensionable salary was at that point in time. The calculation is made by using a formula known as ‘smoothing out’. The newly (1 April 2016) introduced benefit system (second revision) comprises the following: The so called ‘Revised Career Revalued Benefits’ scheme has two sections, the Retirement Income Builder and the USS.

The Retirement Income Builder includes furthermore a defined benefit (DB) system. DB schemes are such schemes where the pension plan contains a guaranteed pension benefit on retirement which often refers to the salary you have earned. However the Retirement Income Builder is restricted to a threshold salary of £55,000 per year (2016). At the same time the USS Investment Builder was introduced in order to also include the salary components above the mentioned threshold into the pension accrual. Here, pension accrual follows a defined contribution (DC) system, meaning that the employers pay a certain contribution level but there is no guarantee regarding the future benefits. They depend on factors including the amount you pay in, the fund’s investment performance etc.
More details can be found in the new USS Pension ABC… (please select your target group and find the Pension ABC).

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01/2017

FYP My track. - New feature which supports you in remembering your career- and pension biography!

Have you ever thought that assistance in remembering all your career- and pension stations would be helpful? This is what many researchers expressed in the talks at the FYP consultation events during the past three years.

Due to the fact that general pension information alone may not be sufficient to estimate or even remember your pension claims, FindyourPension (FYP) has decided to upgrade its website with a Personal Section, called FindyourPension My track. Especially when moving around you should keep track of all the pension providers you have been insured with in order to never forget ‘Who will pay your pension some day ...?’  By using the new My track function you can easily save your different career stages at the research employers listed on the FYP portal. After entering the specific period, FYP assigns the pension providers affected during this stage in order to be saved in My track as well.
 

We recommend to frequently update your track with every move in your career.

Should you be interested in using our learning tool you are invited to complete the e-form presented and choose the characteristics of the pension schemes applicable. Step-by-step FYP will present example pension statements by the single providers in this section. With the help of the explained or translated statements you may have received during your career in research, we assist you in gaining the necessary information to better understand and estimate your later pension benefits. For example: The German State Pension DRV- and the VBL- statements explained are already available as well as VBV-Pensionskasse AG (Austria), Publica (Switzerland), Swedish Pension Agency (Sweden) and Ruhegehalts- und Zusatzversorgungskasse des Saarlandes (RZVK). In the upcoming weeks examples statements from:

For example: The German State Pension DRV- and the VBL- statements explained are already available as well as VBV-Pensionskasse AG (Austria), Publica (Switzerland), Swedish Pension Agency (Sweden) and Ruhegehalts- und Zusatzversorgungskasse des Saarlandes (RZVK).
In the upcoming weeks examples statements from:

  • Finland: VARMA
  • Ireland: SINGLE PUBLIC SERVICE PENSION SCHEME (SPSPS)
  • The Netherlands: ABP
  • Poland: ZUS Social Insurance Institution
  • Slovenia: Closed Mutual Pension Fund for Civil Servants (ZVPSJU), managed by Modra Zavarovalnica
  • Sweden: Statens tjänstepensionsverk (SPV)

will follow. In conclusion you can find all your entered pension entitlements and stages in the Pension Summary.
The registration process is easy to complete, but please take a look at the Terms and Conditions. We fulfil the German standards of data privacy and security and also guarantee to inform everyone registered about any changes in the system, the responsible company or hosting platform.


After registration you will be able to save your personal career- and pension track and find assistance in accounting your later benefits in the Pension Summary. The online service is a work in progress and has been developed as a Betaversion. Please give us your feedback in order to continuously improve our work.
https://www.findyourpension.eu/en/registration

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01/2017 3. Edition: FYP visiting Bremen

As stated in many surveys and studies about old age provision: Thinking on old age is one of the biases (aversions) to actively deal with old age provision. However, there is one situation where employees start wondering on pension provision. This is when looking at their pay slips and realizing that deductions have been made from their salary  

due to monthly contributions or premiums into one or more pension systems. Especially as a mobile researcher who works in different countries and has been affiliated to several pension schemes in his/her working life, it is not easy to keep track and handle the complex pension issue. This was one of the reasons the participants at a FYP pension event in Bremen indicated, when being asked about their motivation to join the 3 hours lecture named ’Who will pay my pension some day…?’
 
The Welcome Centre Bremen had invited to the training again and around 40 researchers joined the event and left the Rotunde - an impressing high-tech room - with new knowledge on the German and European Pension Landscapes and the FYP initiative. ‘Make this information more accessible for mobile workers. It would have been great to know about this before’, one statement was. ‘The FYP initiative/website is very helpful and important. Just continue!!’, it was commented on the feedback sheets.


The organizers of the event and the FYP team were happy about the positive feedback. ‘In particular the appreciating reactions on the FYP website and its new tracking function encourage us to move forward’, the FYP representative said. She asked the audience to ‘share this opinion’. ‘We would be thankful if you could help us to spread FYP as a source of comprehensive pension information for mobile researchers! The FYP website is an ongoing work in progress – comments and suggestions are always wanted!’
 
 
 
 

Many thanks to the research institutes and universities for hosting us and to the participants for joining the event in Bremen and elsewhere in 2016 (Frankfurt, Tübingen, Berlin, Bielefeld, Cologne, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Göttingen). Now we have had the last pension event for the year 2016, but we are currently planning the Roadmap for 2017!

If you are interested to attend a FindyourPension-event, please talk to the welcome offices or HR departments of your university or research institution!
 

We have already confirmed events at

TU Dresden, 6 April 2017, 4.00 pm until approx. 7.00 pm

Hörsaal des IFW Dresden
Helmholtzstraße 20
01069 Dreden

Download postcard

KIT Karlsruhe Campus Souhth. 9 March 2017, 2.30 pm until approx. 6.30 pm

Lecturer Room A&B
Building 30.95 (Audimax)
76131 Karlsruhe

Download postcard

 

TU München, 18 May 2017

 

University Siegen, 28 June 2017

 

More events in 2017 will be published soon.

We hope to meet many of you in 2017!

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04/2016 Meet the experts and get basic pension knowledge at the consultation days.
These consultation days first started at the end of 2012.

During such a morning or afternoon event; the FindyourPension web portal is introduced, explaining the basics about pension provision in Europe and offering information on the different pension systems. Thereafter, pension provision for the public sector employee in Germany is looked at more closely and this is done by experts from the German statutory pension scheme – Deutsche Rentenversicherung - and the occupational pension scheme – VBL. At the end of these presentations, a generous Q&A timeslot is allowed for to clear remaining uncertainties or queries.  

Bonn was our kick-off event in 2012. On request, we have returned for a second consultation day on the 11th of November 2015. The Welcome Centre and the FYP team co-ordinated and planned both consultation days together. Despite the fact that it was the start of the carnival period in the area, 70 participants showed up and made use of the 3 hour event to gain more insight into this complex topic.
 
 

Feedback received:“The consultation day addressed to my individual questions and issues. It made clearer how the German pension system works, how the different national legislation within Europe interact and what I can expect in the future regarding my pension. The FindyourPension Initiative is great to have the overview of all possible funds where someone could have contributed during the working life in one website and the possibility to save individual data there”.

This participant was one individual out of 800 researchers we’ve had the opportunity to inform on this topic at various venues thus far.

It surely is a great experience to see how we can contribute to the disintegration of confusion during the event already, and to discuss different aspects of pension with those present.

Many thanks to all employers for organising consultation days at their university or research institute, as well as to all participants for taking time off their busy schedules to attend the events.  

In 2016, we would like to continue spreading pension literacy and meet as many interested researchers as possible.

Here are our upcoming dates:
  • 20th of April - Max-Planck-Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne
  • 4th of May - Technical University of Berlin with the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin
  • 9th of May - University of Bielefeld
  • 8th of November - University Bremen
  • 15th of November - University Göttingen
If you would like to join one of these consultations days, please contact us*.
 
*There is a limited number of participants; employees of the employer responsible have priority.
 
Further events we are attending:
  • 2nd of May - European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Heidelberg, Marie Curie Alumni Association
  • 25th of May - ESIP Meeting, Brussels
  • 1st of June - TTYPE Meeting “Grand Finale”
  • 15th - 17th of June - EAPSPI Meeting, Helsinki
  • 6th  of September - ESIP Meeting, Brussels
  • 29th - 30th of October – EAPSPI Annual General Meeting 
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02/2016 Declaration on Partnership signed in Brussels.
The year 2016 started with a hopeful sign towards the development of a Tracking Service for all mobile workers in Europe.

Whereas FindyourPension (FYP) – the first European Tracking Service (ETS) in place - is mainly created and contains information for mobile researchers and academics, another project started in 2013 in order to connect all pension providers and national tracking services (NTSs) in Europe and provide personal pension data for every European citizen.
During the past 3 years the so called Track and Trace your Pension in Europe (TTYPE) Project explored if such a service would be feasible and how it could be established. Many expert meetings and other exchange opportunities have been held to achieve consensus and motivation for the establishment of such a service.
On the 14th of January the last TTYPE expert meeting took place before the termination of the project. During the morning all existing Pension Tracking Services in Europe were invited to exchange their experiences, challenges and ideas. Thus 11 out of 14 NTSs and the European Service for mobile researchers FindyourPension presented their websites and provisions in order to consider and discuss a possible support in the development process.

In the afternoon the general expert meeting took place discussing costs, roadmap and a possible governance of a future ETS. In front of around 60 participants from the pension scene a declaration on partnership was signed between TTYPE and FYP. Both parties declared to share the mission to strive for establishing a European pension tracking service and therefore declared their partnership by underlining 5 principles. Acknowledging that FYP is an ETS already in place it was agreed to cooperate in developing a solution for a complete ETS in which FYP will be preserved as an independent component. It was said that FYP is an efficient partner and inspiration towards implementing the general and basic knowledge on European Pension systems and Landscapes. In addition FYP’s knowledge and experience gained in terms of providing information to internationally mobile workers will be a useful contribution.
 
Interested in learning more about the National Tracking Services of Belgium, France, Finland, Norway and Sweden? Then have a look in the respective Pension Landscapes (section Pension Landscapes) or at the Pension ABCs of the listed pension providers/schemes in those countries.

Link: TTYPE-Newsletter
 
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12/2015 Have you been working in Slovenia or Ireland? Or are you planning to work there for a while?
Zavod za pokojninsko in invalidsko zavarovanje Slovenije  (ZPIZ) is the Slovenian State Pension Scheme for all employees and self-employed persons int.al. Check the new Pension ABCs containing the answers to your main questions about the ZPIZ. If you work as a researcher at the University of Primorska, University of Ljubljana or Unversity of Maribo we recommend also to take a look at the Occupational Pension System for public servants, managed by Modra zavarovalnica.

Regarding researchers working at universities in Ireland we are now lucky to present the Pension ABCs of the Occupational Pension Scheme for public employees provided by the Irish Department of Public Expenditure & Reform.

Many thanks to all people involved in providing these useful information!
 
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10/2015 Special features. My track and User Guide.
With the new feature - My Track - you have the option to save your employer details when visiting the FYP website. This will save you time when having to refer to your former or current employer(s) on consecutive site visits. And to make that work, after consenting to it, cookies are kept for one year when referring to your employment biography. Currently the project team is working on the establishment of a personal section. In this tool it will be possible to save both your detailed personal employment- and pension biography.

In order to help the users to search for their individual pension schemes, we have included a User Guide on the site. Your employer is your key search criteria because it determines your pension provider and leads to the required information about your later pension. You may also search via a specific country and obtain an overview of employers and providers found on the site. But should your employer not be listed under EMPLOYER, please note that
  • The statutory pension scheme will apply to you in almost every case.
  • Registration/participation at an occupational or company pension scheme may depend – among others – on your contract/work status or both aspects.
  • Some employers are not listed on FYP, even though they are affiliated to the same pension schemes as the listed employers in the same country. Have a look on your pay-slip and you should find information on your pension provision and institutions.
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10/2015 Upcoming Events - 10.2015 till 01.2016.
The FYP – Team provides pension information events in cooperation with employers and pension providers since March 2014. During these events ‘The wheres and hows of pensions in Europe’, the FYP-portal and general information on the different pension sources and schemes in Europe are being introduced. Below you’ll find the dates and venues of our upcoming events in Germany. The FYP-Team also seeks to cooperate with other European universities (e.g. Switzerland) to set up training sessions abroad.
Place Date
Freie Universität Berlin 28.10.2015
Universität Bonn 11.11.2015
Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin 18.11.2015
Goethe University Frankfurt 28.01.2016

Furthermore, we will be presenting FYP at training sessions for employers’ HR staff and Welcome Centres:
Place Date
Euraxess Germany Workshops for researcher advisors, Bonn
Link: More information
16.-17.11.2015
VBL. Kolloquium Berlin 17.11.2015
VBL. Kolloquium Karlsruhe 24.11.2015
VBL. Kolloquium Köln 01.12.2015

Moreover, we will be attending the following events, where we will meet up with representatives of pension providers from the state and occupational pension schemes.
 
Place Date
EAPSPI Conference 2015, in Slovenia 22.-23.10.2015
TTYPE Expert Meeting, Brussels 29.10.2015
ESIP Meeting, Brussels 17.11.2015

 
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09/2015 New Pension ABCs for the Swiss occupational pension schemes
The FYP-Team was in Switzerland at the beginning of July this year and visited two universities and an occupational pension fund in Lucerne in order to update and optimize our Pension ABC for the Swiss company pension schemes. One very important question that people might ask themselves is what happens when their contract ends and they have a new employer within or outside Switzerland. In such a case certain facts have to be taken into consideration.

The combination of the experience of the universities along with the competence of the pension funds makes it easier to present tailor-made information on the FYP website. After our trip, we are now in a position to provide new and improved Swiss Pension ABCs (e.g. the pension fund in Lucerne (LUPK).

Thank you to all of the institutions involved. We are looking forward to our next planned joint pension events!

Check out the Pension ABCs of our Swiss pension providers.
 
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06/2015 New movie clip: Researchers’ perspective on pensions and the FYP website
New movie clip: Researchers’ perspective on pensions and the FYP website!, was presented at the VBL premises in the presence of some of the interviewees. The interviews, in which the researchers explain their individual experiences regarding the pension issue, were conducted at the FYP consultation event on 4 March 2015 at the KIT south Campus. This movie clip clearly states the need of mobile researchers to deal with the pension’s topic and the FYP website as an adequate, worthwhile tool in meeting this specific need.
Link

02/2015 Training sessions for mobile researchers in Germany
The FindyourPension Team provides training sessions for mobile researchers in Germany. During this event ‘The wheres and hows of pensions in Europe’, the FYP-Portal and general information on the different pension sources and schemes in Europe are being introduced. Furthermore the German Pension Landscape is explained by speeches from the state and occupational pension institutions (DRV and VBL). Thereafter individual consulting appointments can be arranged. We already celebrated consulting days in Bonn, Göttingen, Bremen, Potsdam, Bochum, Heidelberg/Mannheim. In February 2015 the event was hosted by the TU Dresden.
Link

10/2014 Seminar in Munich, May 2014
Report on the 2nd FindyourPension Seminar in Munich, May 2014
PDF, 636 KB

07/2014 Strategy of the Federal Government on the European Research Area (ERA)
The German Federal Government supports the further development of the interactive platform www.findyourpension.eu. See page 18 of the Strategy of the Federal Government on the European Research Area (ERA).
PDF, 584 KB

07/2014 Europa: Gemeinsam forschen – gemeinsam wachsen.
Kabinett beschließt Strategie zum Europäischen Forschungsraum / Wanka: „Europa ist ein Kontinent der Ideen und Innovationen“
Link

12/2013 IPE News from December 18, 2013: Germany's Roll-out of pension platform for researchers. PDF, 89 KB

07/2013 EURAXESS website
"Find your pension" portal incorporated into the European Commission's EURAXESS website.
PDF, 103 KB

01/2013 EAPSPI EURO PENSION BULLETIN 1/2013, French
PREMIER SÉMINAIRE « FIND YOUR PENSION » À KARLSRUHE, Claudia Wegner-Wahnschaffe, VBL, Allemagne, EAPSPI EURO PENSION BULLETIN 1/2013
PDF, 393 KB

01/2013 EAPSPI EURO PENSION BULLETIN 1/2013
THE FIRST “FIND YOUR PENSION” SEMINAR IN KARLSRUHE, Claudia Wegner-Wahnschaffe, VBL, Germany, EAPSPI EURO PENSION BULLETIN 1/2013
PDF, 392 KB

11/2012 Beschluss des Bundesrates vom 23.11.2012 zur Mitteilung der Europäischen Kommission: Eine verstärkte Partnerschaft im Europäischen Forschungsraum im Zeichen von Exzellenz und Wachstum (COM(2012) 398 final). In seinem Beschluss begrüßt der Bundesrat ausdrücklich die Find your Pension Initiative, Tz. 15, BR-DS 414/12, Seite 6 PDF, 143 KB

08/2012 Das „Find your Pension“-Portal für mobile Wissenschaftler, Abhandlung erschienen in der Zeitschrift Betriebliche Altersversorgung 8/2012 PDF, 330 KB

11/2012 IPE News from November, 13, 2012: Germany’s VBL launches pension tracker platform for researchers PDF, 177 KB

2011 Find your Pension Portal – First Europe-wide Tracking and Information Service of Pensions, EAPSPI ANNUAL REPORT 2011, 13- 19 PDF, 127 KB

05/2011 Beiträge zur Hochschulpolitik 2/2011: Wissenschaftlermobilität im globalen Kontext: Rechtliche Probleme und strategische Herausforderungen für die deutschen Hochschulen im Bereich der Alterssicherung, herausgegeben von der Hochschulrektorenkonferenz im Mai 2011 Link

03/2011 Wissenschaftlermobilität – Herausforderung und Chance für die europäischen Zusatzrenteneinrichtungen, Abhandlung erschienen in der Zeitschrift Betriebliche Altersversorgung, 3/2011 PDF, 172 KB

01/2011 La mobilité des chercheurs : un défi et une opportunité pour les institutions de retraite complémentaire, Claudia Wegner-Wahnschaffe, VBL, Allemagne, EAPSPI EURO PENSION BULLETIN 1/2011 PDF, 156 KB

01/2011 Mobile researchers: challenge and opportunity for supplementary pension institutions, Claudia Wegner-Wahnschaffe, VBL, Germany, EAPSPI EURO PENSION BULLETIN 1/2011 PDF, 151 KB

2010 Mobile researchers: challenge and opportunity for supplementary pension institutions, C. Wegner- Wahnschaffe, Germany, ANNUAL REPORT 2010 of the European Association of Public Sector Pension Institutions (EAPSPI) PDF, 234 KB

 
 
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