Pensions Action Group:
An independent voice for pension safety and justice in the UK
PAG members are ordinary people from all walks of life who have joined together to campaign for justice for members of UK defined-benefit (final salary) pension schemes which have wound up underfunded. In particular, we seek to address shortcomings within the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS).
The FAS is a UK Government scheme which helps people who lost the pensions they paid for when their occupational schemes started to close down between 1 January 1997 and 5 April 2005. We were promised that our pensions would be safe whatever happened to our employers; the FAS promises 90% of our expected pension but in practice most of us will get much less, mainly owing to the lack of indexation for inflation, and reduced revaluation between closure and retirement date. (more about the FAS here.)
If you are a member of the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and you are concerned about the way you are being treated, join the Pensions Action Group now. Don't struggle on alone. Support the campaign for pension safety and justice. Find out more here.
Join Us - It's free!
If you have found our site because you or someone you know has recently lost part or all of the company pension that they paid for - welcome! This site contains a wealth of useful information - our "What can I do?" page is a good place to start.
After 5 April 2005...
If your occupational pension scheme was wound up after 5 April 2005 your pension is covered by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) rather than the FAS. The two schemes are very similar in effect, but the FAS is funded by Government after taking into the Treasury the remaining assets of the scheme whereas the PPF is funded by a levy imposed on the remaining active defined benefit schemes. (Click here to find out more about the Pension Protection Fund.)
An Issue Of Trust...
'Guaranteed' is a word that Pension Action Group members have heard a lot. The Government told us our occupational pensions were guaranteed. But we are still fighting to receive the pensions we paid for.
For instance, a lot of members were contracted out of the second state pension (SERPS) through what was known as the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP). However, under FAS, all of the inflation protection that applied to GMP's before 1997 is stripped away, so the 'Guarantee' in the title was, as they say, 'economical with the truth'!
We all need to make provision for our retirement, and governments of all parties have encouraged this. But they weren't honest about the risks and until we have pension justice, how can anybody trust what the Government says on this subject?
If You Are Worried About Your Occupational Pension...
You are right to be.
If you are or were in a final-salary scheme and your pension is under immediate threat, you must take action now to protect your financial future. Click here for some pointers from Pension Action Group members about what to do next.
You might think that your own scheme is safe. But in practice an employer can underfund the scheme and even close it if it becomes too 'onerous'. Doing this is very complex but, as seen in the past, it can be done, with the schemes liabilities (i.e. your pension) being "dumped" into the PPF
There is an ongoing legal challenge to how previous entitlements are dealt with in both FAS and the PPF; see here for more details (under Hampshire).
If your scheme closes and your pension is transferred to the FAS (or the PPF) you will be compensated according to the rules of the Fund, not your original scheme. It will be limited to 90% of your original pension (less if your pension is substantial) and will ignore some of the valuable features which your scheme may have provided, such as enhanced indexation, improved survivor's benefit and optional early retirement.
In A Nutshell...
The Pensions Action Group (PAG) are pursuing the occupational pensions which approximately 450,000 workers paid for but didn't receive in full (155,000 covered by the FAS, 295,000 by the PPF). These workers were told by the Government that their pensions were protected and guaranteed by law, no matter what happened to their sponsoring companies.
The 2006 Ombudsman's Report 'Trusting in the Pensions Promise' found the Government guilty of maladministration.
The Government has stepped in to fully protect other occupational pension schemes at risk - for example, the staff at the large banks across the UK that failed in 2008 all had their final salary, inflation proofed pensions fully provided by the Government.
But we are still waiting for our pension justice.
To find out more about the Government's broken promise on occupational pensions, and the scandalous hounding of FAS members who were the victims of other people's administration errors, click here.
Campaigning for Pensions Justice
We would like to hear from people who have been caught in a similar position. If you are interested in joining our action group, or finding out more, send an e-mail to: