Here are some answers to common questions about the Sony UK Pension Scheme and retirement planning in general. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please get in touch with the administrators.

Pensions in general

What is the value of my ‘pot’?

Your benefit is worked out by reference to your Final Pensionable Salary at your date of leaving and the Pensionable Service you completed while an active member of the Scheme.

This type of pension arrangement is commonly called a ‘Defined Benefit’ scheme. The benefit you have built up in the Scheme is in the form of an annual pension rather than a ‘pot’ of money.

To work out the value of your benefits for the purposes of transferring your benefits to another arrangement, a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) needs to be calculated.

What is a CETV?

A Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) is the cash value placed on your pension benefits. This is the amount that is available to transfer to an alternative plan in exchange for giving up your rights under the Scheme.

Do I need advice if I want to transfer my pension?

Yes, if the CETV of your Defined Benefit pension is over £30,000, you will need to have taken impartial advice from a financial adviser who is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

What is my normal retirement age?

Normal retirement age for the Scheme is 60. However, for male UK members who joined the Scheme before 17 May 1990 and male Basingstoke members who joined the Company before 1 November 1987, part of the pension is payable unreduced from age 60 and part from age 65 due to the equalisation of benefits for men and women. The part of the pension accrued prior to 17 May 1990 is payable unreduced from age 65 and the part accrued after 17 May 1990 is payable unreduced from age 60. The pension for all females regardless of which section of the Scheme they are a member of is payable unreduced from age 60.

What are my retirement options?

You usually have two options at retirement, either to take a full annual pension payable for the rest of your life or to take a tax-free lump sum and a reduced pension payable for the rest of your life.

If you have Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) or an Aviva Nest Egg Account – both of which are Defined Contribution arrangements, rather than Defined Benefit – then there may be additional options available to you.

How much lump sum can I take?

Under Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) legislation you can take 25% of the value of your benefits as a lump sum. This is not a straightforward calculation as your benefits first need to be valued in order to work out the maximum lump sum permissible. The HMRC standard valuation factor of 20 times the annual pension is used in conjunction with the Scheme-specific commutation factors in order to work the lump sum payable.

Can I take early retirement and if so from what age?

Yes, the current legal minimum early retirement age is 55. However, former members of the Basingstoke section of the Scheme who were actively contributing to the Scheme as at 6 April 2006 have a protected minimum pension age of 50.

If I retire early will my pension be reduced and by how much?

If you take early retirement then the pension will be reduced for the number of years and complete months the pension is taken early. Details of the early retirement factors can be obtained by contacting the Sony Pensions team at Willis Towers Watson.

Do I have to take my benefits at the Scheme’s normal retirement age of 60?

No, you may defer taking your retirement benefits up to a maximum age of 75. Late retirement increases will be applied to your pension if taken after your normal retirement date, along with any missed pension increases that would have been applied.

Does my pension increase in payment?

Yes, pensions are reviewed annually on 1 April each year. The following link provides details of the increases that are applied depending on the elements of your pension: https://www.sukps.org.uk/im-a-pensioner/pensioners/

Please note that the first increase applied after your retirement date may be pro-rated if the pension has been in payment for less than a year.

How will the pension be paid?

Pensions are paid monthly in advance on the 28th of each month. If the 28th falls on a non-working day then the pension will be paid on the last working day beforehand.