Update: As at 18 October 2019 all employer and employee pension contributions paid for retained staff have been received into the pension scheme.
27 September 2019
With Thomas Cook falling into insolvency we are sure that you have lots of questions about how this affects you and the other members of the UK DC pension scheme.
This is clearly a concerning time, but we would like to reassure you that all of the savings that you have put aside to date in this scheme are safe and protected within the pension trust. Going forward however, there will not be any further contribution to your DC pension pot from Thomas Cook from when your pay stops.
There are a number of options for you to consider over the coming weeks including leaving the money where it is (it is perfectly safe and protected with our pension provider) or you will be able to transfer your pot to another scheme.
On the proposed change of pension provider
As previously announced, we are in the process of changing our pension platform from Mercer to Aviva. This process will continue and you will be contacted in the coming weeks. Any queries before 8th November should be addressed to Mercer – contact details are below.
As we explained in the trustees’ letter in August, we are in the process of transitioning all monies across to Aviva from Old Mutual Wealth. This process will continue as we expected with all monies moved by the end of November. This is nothing for you to worry about – it is being handled by Mercer and Aviva through the pension trust and is completely separate from the insolvency of the business.
1. What happens to the pension scheme and its members now?
• No further payments will be made to the scheme once your pay stops. Payments made to date are held separately in the pension trust and are fully ring fenced from the Company’s assets and debts.
• Do please be aware of pension scammers who often appear at these times. Pension scammers will try to convince you they can by-pass normal tax and pension regulations – they cannot and many people in the UK have lost their savings to scammers. If in doubt do nothing and contact the scheme administrator – details as below.
2. Are members likely to see a reduction in benefits?
• As the scheme is a defined contribution scheme your savings are made up of your “pension pot”. This will not change – although your pension pot will remain invested as now and may move up and down in line with the underlying investment funds.
3. Is there any chance a deal could be done to take the business out of liquidation?
• That is not in our control and is a question for the insolvency practitioners.
4. Will the pension trust remain in place?
• The pension scheme will remain in its current legal trust structure in the short term and certainly until all monies have been moved over to Aviva and Aviva are fully operational. A trustee board will remain in place and we will write to you as soon as we can to confirm who is on that trustee board.
5. Can I take my money?
• You can start taking your savings out if you are age 55 or above if you want to. Your money is available to you in the same way as before. However there are tax implications for starting to take money out – if possible we recommend that you do not make any hasty decisions now and seek professional financial advice. And do bear with us – we are moving all monies to Aviva so transfers may take a little longer than usual until the move is completed. Please note that due to the transfer of administration from Mercer to Aviva there will be a delay in any benefit payments and quotations until all assets are with Aviva and able to be processed, which will be in December.
6. Should I transfer my pot?
• We cannot provide advice on the best course of action for you. Your pot is safe but if you have questions on what to do next the Money & Pensions Service offers useful information for members. They can be reached at https://moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk/
or you can call them on 0800 011 3797. Please note that due to the transfer of administration from Mercer to Aviva there will be a delay in any transfer payments and quotations until all assets are with Aviva and able to be processed, which will be in December.
7. Contact details:
UP TO 8 NOVEMBER 2019
Thomas Cook UK DC Pension Scheme
St Paul’s Square
Old Hall Street,
Liverpool, L3 9SJ
Tel: 0344 209 6608
FROM 9 NOVEMBER 2019
Tel: 0345 600 6303