Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, call us on 0118 918 5572 or email [email protected]

This FAQ document relates to current employees of Atos IT Services UK Ltd, Atos UK International IT Services Ltd, or Syntel Europe Limited, who are either active, deferred or pensioner members of the following two schemes:-

Atos UK 2019 Pension Scheme (“Atos UK 2019 Scheme“)
Comprised of former members of the Atos CS Pension Scheme (CS), the Atos (Sema) Pension Scheme (Sema) and the Atos Pension Fund (APF) who transferred to the Atos UK 2019 Scheme following the merger which took place on 1 November 2019

Atos UK 2011 Pension Scheme (“Atos UK 2011 Scheme“)
Includes Saver Plan, Tower Plan, Gloaming/Investor Plan and NIE members

The Trustee is working with our administrators XPS and our other advisors to minimise any disruption to the Scheme as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Key member activities, including the payment of pensions are being prioritised and other more routine or less time critical activities are being given a slightly lower priority and may take a little longer than usual. We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding if this is the case. Any questions that you have can be raised with XPS by email to [email protected] or by phone on 0118 918 5572.

Any active member that wishes to remain employed by Atos and to begin drawing their benefits must submit a formal request to Atos HR. XPS, as the Schemes’ administrator, should not be approached directly with this request. Company consent is required for this to take place across all schemes. Please note that Company consent is not generally granted where an active member wishes to start drawing their benefits and remain in employment with Atos.

It is possible for an active member to stop earning further benefits by completing an opt out form and moving from active to deferred status. The Company has provided its consent for deferred members to draw their benefits and to continue in employment with Atos. An opt out form can be obtained from Atos Payroll or XPS.

No. The schemes do not generally permit individual transfers of previous benefits. The only time at which this would be an option is when there is a bulk take on / TUPE transfer into Atos UK 2011 Scheme.

If you are an active member of the Atos UK 2011 Scheme and wish to pay AVCs, you will need to contact XPS to request a new starter form. For the Atos UK 2011 Scheme, AVCs are paid to Aegon.

The new starter form should be sent to XPS to arrange set-up of the new policy with the relevant provider and copied to Atos payroll (at the address on the form), as the contributions will be deducted directly from your salary.

Once you have reached the maximum service for accruing benefits under the scheme, no further service will accrue. You will therefore have the following choices:

Option 1: Opt out of the pension scheme and continue to work for the Company. Your pension will become deferred. You then have the option to commence drawing your pension at any time. The Company will be legally obliged to auto-enrol you into their Workplace Pension Scheme, assuming you meet the Government auto-enrolment eligibility criteria. You will have an opportunity to opt out of that scheme but the Company will be required to re-enrol you at the next re-enrolment date (every 3 years) – you will be able to opt out again at that stage. You should be aware that if you chose to opt out of the Company Workplace Pension Scheme you will not be eligible for enhanced Life Assurance cover and will instead receive a basic Life Assurance cover of 1x annual salary.

Option 2: Leave the Company and retire from the pension scheme, taking immediate payment of your benefits.

If you wish to pay a lump sum into Atos UK 2011 Scheme upon being made redundant, it will be treated the same as an AVC, and therefore invested with Aegon. See ‘How do I pay Additional Voluntary Contributions into the Scheme?’ above.

It is very important to note that dependent on the amount of money invested, a member may exceed the Annual Allowance for the current Pension Input Period (which runs from 6 April to the following 5 April each year i.e. in line with the financial tax year). This is generally £40,000 but a different Annual Allowance may apply depending on your circumstances (e.g. if you are a high earner).

Where the Annual Allowance is exceeded the member may incur tax charges. Please therefore contact XPS in the first instance if you believe that you may have exceeded your Annual Allowance in a particular Pension Input Period.

For any period of paid or unpaid Ordinary Maternity Leave while an active member, you will still continue to accrue pensionable service at the same level as before you went on maternity leave even if you make reduced or no contributions yourself. If you are an active member and receiving Statutory Maternity Pay, employee contributions will continue to be paid into the pension scheme, although at a lower level.

If employee contributions are not paid in full during any period of unpaid Additional Maternity Leave, your scheme service will be pro-rated down to take account of the lower contributions actually paid (similar to part time service). When you return to work, you will be given the option to make up these contributions to what you would have paid in order to receive your full scheme service in respect of this period. Where you do not make employee contributions, a service break will be recorded for any period of unpaid Additional Maternity Leave while an active member. However, any pensionable service under the scheme from both before and after any period of unpaid Additional Maternity Leave will be added together and treated as being continuous when calculating your benefits.

For the purposes of this FAQ:

Ordinary Maternity Leave means the 26 week’s statutory leave available to an employee who gives birth.

Additional Maternity Leave means the period of 26 weeks' statutory leave which may be taken from the first day after the end of an employee’s Ordinary Maternity Leave; and

Statutory Maternity Pay means the statutory benefit payable (subject to certain conditions and time limits with regards to payment) to a woman who takes maternity leave or stops work due to childbirth.

Retirement or Transfer Value quotations can be requested by post, email or telephone – details are below. In most circumstances, XPS will aim to respond to all requests within a 10 working day timescale.

XPS will require confirmation of your name, identifiers such as Member Number, Date of Birth and Home Address (in order to match your records) and the Scheme of which you are a member, together with confirmation of the date at which the quotation is required.

Please note that the calculation of a transfer value may at times be referred to the Scheme Actuary. In this instance, you will be notified as it will take longer to provide the quotation, and a full quotation will follow once we have received confirmation of the figures.

Email requests should be sent to XPS's dedicated mailbox: [email protected]. The helpline number is 0118 918 5572.

Alternatively the postal address is: XPS PO Box 205, Huddersfield, HD8 1ET.

All members approaching their Normal Retirement Age (which varies between schemes) will automatically receive a retirement quotation approximately six months ahead of their retirement date.

Changes to pension legislation in 2014 allowed members with ‘Small Pot Pensions’ greater access to these benefits. To determine whether a member is eligible, a test is undertaken to ascertain the value of benefits, which is then measured against the trivial commutation limits. There are two levels: (i) under £10,000; and (ii) between £10,000 and £30,000.

Test 1: The value of benefits in any one scheme is no more than £10,000
In this scenario, the Trivial Commutation Lump Sum is calculated based on the value of the benefits payable to or in respect of you under the specific pension scheme. If the value is under £10,000, the benefit may be trivially commuted for a single cash sum. If the value is over £10,000, test 2 will apply.

Test 2: The value of all benefits across all schemes (excluding the State Pension) is between £10,000 and £30,000.
In this scenario, the value of your scheme pension is multiplied by a factor of 20 to calculate its Capital Value for these purposes. For those members of the Atos UK 2019 Scheme with legacy CS benefits, the cash lump sum payable at retirement would also be added into this value. If the Capital Value is between £10,000 and £30,000, a request would be made for information regarding other pensions you may have. Upon receipt of this information, test 2 will be carried out again, taking into account all benefits.

If the Capital Value is in excess of £30,000, trivial commutation will not be an option.
You should note trivial commutations are currently on hold pending a Trustee review on GMP equalisation. Please note this could take at least 12 months to resolve.

Please contact us by emailing our dedicated email box, [email protected], or by calling the helpline number of 0118 918 5572 if you require an update.

After a transfer value quotation has been issued and the finalisation paperwork has been received, a Pension Scams check is undertaken by XPS on behalf of the Trustees in an effort to prevent payments to fraudulent providers.

Upon receipt of all completed transfer forms, XPS will electronically verify your identity, and also check the FCA register in relation to the financial advisor from which you have received financial advice on the potential transfer. Once these checks have been completed, a letter will be sent, asking you to contact XPS to arrange a telephone interview with the Pension Scams team, at a time and date to suit you.

The interview will take no longer than 20 minutes and is designed to help identify whether your transfer displays any of the characteristics of a pension scam. Please note that before the transfer can proceed, all of the information received will need to be considered, with any further action taken as appropriate.

After completion of the telephone call, the Pension Scams team provides a report to the XPS administration team detailing the content of the call, in order to enable a decision to be taken as to whether the transfer payment should proceed.

Where a member has a Personal Money Fund (PMF) or Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), these funds are invested with external Investment Managers.

XPS have to rely on the external company to process the disinvestment of funds and this tends to be done within the Investment managers’ own timescales. The disinvestment process starts once the specified retirement date is reached.

Upon confirmation from the Investment Manager of the final fund value, XPS would then need to re-calculate benefits to take into account the updated values.

Annual Benefit Statements are issued each year to active and salary linked Scheme members only, or to deferred members of the Atos UK 2019 Scheme with legacy Sema or APF (FS1 or FS2) benefits and who ceased to be active members as part of New Deal on 31st March 2008 but who are still actively working for Atos.

If you are a deferred member in any other scenario, you can request a update of your pension at any time from XPS by either emailing the dedicated email box, ([email protected]), or by calling the helpline number of 0118 918 5572.

Generally, pensions will increase whilst in payment. Please note however, that there are some instances where an increase will not be applied - these will be scheme specific and will be notified to you within the notes section of your Retirement Quotation.

Pension increases are applied each year on 1 April for the Atos UK 2019 Scheme and the Atos UK 2011 Scheme with the exception of those Atos UK 2019 Scheme members with legacy APF (FS1 or FS2) benefits for which increases are applied on 1 November.

Pension payments are made via our payroll department on the 1st of the month.

Depending upon the timing of your retirement, and the payroll cut-off date (which is usually 15 working days prior to the payment date), your first payment may be either the first of the month following retirement, or the month after.

Please note however, that any pension arrears for the period from your date of retirement to the first payment date will be included with payment of your Pension Commencement Lump Sum ("PCLS”) (i.e. the tax-free cash element) if you have chosen to receive a PCLS at retirement. If you are not taking a PCLS, only the pension arrears will be paid in this scenario.

For most members monthly pension payments remain at a consistent level throughout the year and, typically, will only change where an annual increase is applied or where Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs advise a change to the tax code.  From 1 September 2020 a payslip will only be issued to you when the net amount of your monthly pension (i.e. the amount that is paid to you following the deduction of tax) has changed by more than £1 from the previous month.  As well as helping to minimise the risk to your personal data, the reduction in the use of paper will also have a positive environmental impact.  The Trustee will provide a minimum of one printed payslip each year, and will continue to provide separate notification of any annual increases due to your pension (where relevant) and the P60 notification.

The death in retirement Spouse's pension differs between the Atos schemes and you should refer to your scheme booklet for more details. Please note however, that death benefits are specific to each member, and will be calculated at the time in accordance with the applicable scheme rules.

Please tell XPS if you change your address. A change of address can be notified to XPS by post, email or telephone (the details are below), and in order to verify the identity of the member/caller, security questions will be asked.

Upon completion of this process, our records are amended to show the new address. If the member is a pensioner, our payroll department is also notified. As standard, two letters are issued - one to verify the change to the new address and one to the old address to confirm that the change is not fraudulent.

Telephone notifications can be processed instantly. Email and post notifications are completed within a 10 working day timescale.

You can call the helpline number on 0118 918 5572. Email the dedicated email inbox, ([email protected]), or write to XPS, PO Box 205, Huddersfield, HD8 1ET

If you require a transfer value (CETV) for Divorce purposes, you should contact XPS with this request. Please note that if you have already received a transfer quotation within the previous 12 months, a charge will apply.

If your divorce is proceeding, we will need a copy of the Court Order, together with details of the Receiving Scheme for the Ex-Spouse's benefit allocation, and any fees payable for implementation of the Court Order. In all instances, the Ex-Spouse's benefits will be transferred out.
Your pension will subsequently be reduced by the appropriate percentage of the allocation.

Access to Compendia allows members to view the personal information held on them by the administration department.

If any information is incorrect, there are a variety of downloadable forms available to notify a change of name, address, etc.

Nomination of Beneficiary forms, enabling members to indicate how they would like their lump sum benefits to be paid when they die, are also available. Where the recipient of a benefit is at the Trustee’s discretion, the Trustee is not legally bound to follow a nomination but will take it into account.

There are also a variety of Scheme Documents available for viewing online as well as announcements. See question 25 for the list of documentation available.

The link is https://www.xpsonline.co.uk/

You are able to change and reset your password yourself via Compendia, but for any other queries regarding access or functionality, please contact the dedicated Compendia Helpdesk: compendiahelpdesk[email protected]

Our standard response time for all queries is 10 working days from receipt of the query/request.

In exceptional circumstances, we may contact you to advise that there will be a delay, for example, if a transfer value calculation has been referred to the Scheme Actuary.

You may however, contact us at any time, by either emailing our dedicated email box, [email protected] , or by calling the helpline number of 0118 918 5572.

Please write to XPS at the following address: XPS PO Box 205, Huddersfield, HD8 1ET.

Part of your pension entitlement may include a right to a guaranteed minimum pension (GMP).

The High Court’s decision on 26 October 2018 concerning the Lloyds Bank pension schemes has clarified in certain respects how overall pension scheme benefits should be calculated where members’ pension entitlements include a GMP accrued during the period between 17 May 1990 and 5 April 1997. There are members who accrued GMPs within this period under a previous scheme, but whose GMPs are now payable by the Atos UK 2019 Scheme or the Atos UK 2011 Scheme. The High Court’s decision is relevant to the benefits payable to these members.

It is possible that, as a result of the High Court’s decision, your benefits will need to be adjusted resulting in an increase to the overall level of pension that is payable, although for most members the adjustment (if any) is likely to be relatively small. It is likely to take some time for the full effects of this judgment to be considered and any adjustment to your benefits to then be applied. If it is necessary to adjust your benefits in this way, you will be notified of this in due course.

If you take your Scheme pension before your State Pension Age, you will be expected to experience a step-up in your total retirement income once your State Pension comes into payment. You may prefer your overall income to be smoother over time rather than stepping-up in this way, in which case, provided you meet certain criteria, you could opt for the recently introduced Bridging Pension Option. Under this option you would receive a temporary additional pension from the Scheme when you first retire in return for giving up some of your lifetime Scheme pension after State Pension Age.

This temporary additional pension would stop at your State Pension Age and your Scheme pension paid after that date would be lower than if you hadn’t taken the BPO. Your overall income in retirement taking into account State Pension once it starts to be paid would be expected to be more level under this option and this may mean that you can afford to retire at an earlier age than you may have previously considered. You can find out your State Pension Age here: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-age.

At present, the Bridging Pension Option is currently available to members of the Atos UK 2019 Scheme who are former members of APF and CS, and some former members of Sema. Atos intends to extent the Bridging Pension Option to the remaining former Sema membership categories and the members of the Atos UK 2011 Scheme in the near future. More details regarding this option will be provided when you approach retirement and further information can be requested from XPS – contact details are set out below.

XPS Payroll
Wellbar Central
36 Gallowgate
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4TD
Tel: 01913 410669

The compendia system holds the following Atos scheme documentation:
• Summary Funding Statements
• Scheme Booklets
• Actuarial Valuations
• Trustee Report & Accounts
• IDRP Process
• GDPR Notice
• Newsletters & Trustee Correspondence
• FAQ’s

Please note that Annual Benefit Statements are only available to Active Scheme members.

Disclaimer
Parts of this FAQ document summarise, in very general terms, the benefits generally payable under the Atos schemes. The benefits you are entitled to, however, are those payable under the Trust Deed and Rules for the applicable Atos scheme. The information contained in this document has been issued as at 17 January 2019.