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Life events

Moving house

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Mercer will want to send you information about the Fund from time and time, and they will also contact you as you approach your Normal Retirement Date. It’s therefore important they have your current contact details. If you need to change your contact details, the easiest way to do this is through Mercer OneView, our secure online portal, but you can also call the team on 0330 1027570.

Divorce

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If you’re getting divorced, you will probably be asked to provide details of your pension benefits, so they can be shared with your spouse or civil partner. If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, your pension is valued at the date of divorce or dissolution. If you are in Scotland, your pension must be valued on the ‘date of separation’ and only the value that has been built up during your marriage or civil partnership is taken into account.

MoneyHelper (a Government service that provides free guidance on money, pensions and debt) offers a dedicated appointment service for pension scheme members who are going through divorce or dissolution, to help them understand the options for their retirement benefits. Or you can read their guide here.

Ill health

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If you’re seriously ill and unable to work, you may be entitled to receive your deferred pension from the Fund immediately, even if you are under the age of 50. Your ill-health pension would be reduced to account for its early payment.

Members who are terminally ill with a life expectancy of less than 12 months may request a lump-sum payment instead of a pension.

The Trustees would need to see medical evidence of ill health, which would be reviewed by a doctor appointed by the Fund.

Transferring your pension

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As a deferred member, you have the option to transfer your benefits to an alternative pension arrangement. This can be a registered stakeholder or personal pension plan or your new employer’s pension scheme.

If you do transfer your pension, you will no longer have any entitlement to benefits from the Fund, and neither will your spouse or dependants.

You can log into Mercer OneView to get a free, online illustration of how much you could transfer. The quotes obtained through OneView are illustrative and are not guaranteed, but will give you an idea of how much your transfer value might be worth. If you then wanted to proceed with a transfer, you could ask Mercer to provide a guaranteed quote, called a ‘cash equivalent transfer value’ (CETV). You may request one free CETV in every 12-month period. This CETV will be guaranteed for three months. Additional requests will incur a charge of £210 + VAT.

If you decide to transfer your Smith & Nephew pension to another arrangement, we strongly recommend that you first speak to an independent financial adviser. In fact, if your benefits are valued at more than £30,000, the law requires you to take independent financial advice from an adviser who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can find an adviser local to you on this website: www.unbiased.co.uk. However, please check that your adviser is registered with the FCA to provide advice about defined benefit pension transfers. The FCA Register is available here

Please be aware that there are scammers out there who will try and con you out of your pension savings. Before you make a decision to transfer your pension out of the Fund, make sure you are transferring the money to a bona-fide arrangement. Visit www.pension-scams.com to find out how to spot a pensions scam.

Under new regulations, if you decide to transfer your pension to another arrangement, Mercer must complete certain checks to identify whether you’re at risk of being a victim of a pension scam. If their checks raise any warning flags, your transfer may be delayed while they refer you to MoneyHelper for scam-specific guidance – or even stopped completely, but they will let you know if this applies to you.

You should also know that, if you transfer out, you would lose your right to access your benefits from age 50. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) views any payment of lump sums from a pension (other than on ill health or death) before age 55* as ‘unauthorised’ and will impose a tax charge of 55%.

*Please note, the minimum pension age of 55 is rising to 57 from 6 April 2028

Death

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If you need to tell us about a member’s death, visit the Report a death page. Once Mercer has been notified, they will start the process of paying any death benefits.

If you die before you start receiving your deferred pension from the Fund, Mercer will pay a lump-sum death benefit to your estate. The lump-sum amount would be a refund of your contributions, plus interest, plus the value of your AVC account (if applicable). There is no spouse’s pension payable in the event of a deferred member’s death.

Once you have retired from the Fund, you should complete an Expression of Wish form, which tells the Trustees who you would like any ‘five-year guarantee’ lump sum payable on your death to go to. This lump sum would be payable at the discretion of the Trustees, so it does not form part of your estate.

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