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FAQs about URPS

1. What do I need to do to sign up /into My Money?

Once you have joined the scheme, Aviva will write to you at your home address and will provide you with your login details. If you are unable to find your login details, you will need to contact Aviva directly to retrieve them. Please find Aviva’s contact details in the 'Aviva's Contact Details' section. 

2. How do I find out my membership number with Aviva?

Once you have joined the scheme, Aviva will write to you at your home address and will confirm your membership number. After this, your membership number should be shown on any correspondence you receive from Aviva. You can also find your membership number on your online account if you have signed up with My Money. If you still can’t find it, you can either contact the Pensions Office or Aviva directly. Please find the contact details for Aviva in the 'Aviva's Contact Details' section and the Pensions Office's contact details in the 'Contact us' section.

3. How can I pay in more contributions?

If you wish to make Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) in order to secure additional pension benefits in the scheme, you can complete an URPS AVC Application Form. Once you have completed this, please send this to the University’s Pensions Office who will arrange for your AVC payments to be set up at the next available pay date. Please note, you can also request for the Pensions Office to stop the AVCs if required.

4. Can I stop paying contributions and leave the scheme?

Yes, you can, but you should consider what you will lose by doing so. By leaving the scheme, you would miss out on the life cover for death in service which would provide a tax-free lump sum to your beneficiaries of 6x your salary. You would also lose the employer contributions that the University would pay on your behalf. This is currently 5% of your salary or, if you have been in continuous employment for 5 years, 7%. Finally, once your contributions cease, you will lose the tax and National Insurance relief that your pension contributions provide. Therefore, there would be an increase to your monthly tax and National Insurance contribution payments. If you would like to leave the scheme, please contact the Pensions Office using the contact details in the 'Contact us' section.

5. I’ve stopped contributing but my net pay hasn’t increased by the same amount I put in (4%), why is that?

Your gross pay will have increased by 4%, but your tax and National Insurance payments will also increase as they will now be based on a higher gross salary. Therefore, your net pay will increase but it will not be equivalent to 4%.

6. Can I take my pension and continue working?

Yes, you can as long as you have reached the normal minimum pension age (which is currently set at age 55). If you wish to explore this option, please contact the Pensions Office.

7. I want to finish working and retire. How can I draw on my benefits?

There are a number of options available to members in respect of their URPS pension savings which can be found in the retirement packs provided by Aviva. In order to obtain a retirement pack, you will need to give Aviva a call on 0345 604 9915. Because this process will be specific to your personal position, the University’s pension team are unable to make this request on your behalf.
Once you have reviewed your options and if you are interested in buying an income in the form of an annuity, it is worth shopping around as you may be able to get a higher pension for your pension savings. If you need help with this, the Trustees of URPS have partnered with Hub Financial Solutions in order to give members access to their guided annuity service. In short, by providing HUB with some information about you and your URPS fund value, HUB will send you a bespoke retirement report which includes access to a personalised annuity website. You will also have access to their helpdesk team. If you decide to buy an annuity through their services, then there will be a commission payment. Please see the Hub Financial Services brochure for further information. 

If you would like to take advantage of the HUB service, please send the Pensions Office an email stating the following: "I authorise the Pensions Team at the University of Reading, acting on behalf of the URPS Trustees, to send my personal data to HUB Financial Solutions for the purposes of receiving annuity quotations". Please be assured that your data would be sent securely via an encrypted file.

8. I’m leaving the University, what happens to my contributions?

After you leave the University, the Pensions Office will inform Aviva of your leaving date. After Aviva have been notified, you will receive a leaver’s statement from Aviva which will provide you with your leaving options. The Pension’s Office would recommend that you check that your home address is accurate on the Employees’ Self Service portal as this will be the address that Aviva will use. 
If after receiving your leaver’s statement you take no action, your pension savings will be deferred until retirement. The money will remain invested in your choice of fund/s and will increase or decrease based on how the investments perform. There are still administrative and investment charges which will be deducted from the amount you have in the scheme. You are able to access your account through Aviva’s login webpage and through the Apps listed at the top of this webpage. If you wish to discuss this process with Aviva, please find their contact details in the right panel above.

9. I have several small pension pots can I combine them with this one? 

Yes, it is possible for you to investigate the possibility of transferring in your previous benefits to the University of Reading Pension Scheme (URPS) and it will be necessary for you to contact Aviva directly to arrange this. Please find Aviva’s contact details in the Contact Details box.  Please also find Aviva's 'Get Your Pensions Together’ leaflet in the Things to Do Now Section.

If you wish to take financial advice before making this decision, please visit the MoneyHelper website for guidance on transferring pensions and for finding a financial adviser When choosing a financial adviser, you should ensure that they appear on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register which will show if they are registered and authorised to provide advice. 

10. What is the difference between a Defined Contribution and a Defined Benefit Pension?

The URPS scheme is a defined contribution (DC) scheme. In a DC scheme employees and employers contribute into a flexible savings pot. This pot is then invested by the pension provider and the value of the pot can go up or down depending on how the investments perform. In these arrangements, the investment risk is with the employee who can choose how their contributions are invested. The amount members will get when they take their pension pot will depend on how much was paid in, how well the investments have performed and how they decide to take the money (for example as regular payments, a lump sum or smaller sums). The pension provider will usually take a small percentage as a management fee.

Defined benefit (DB) schemes are sometimes referred to as ‘final salary’ or ‘career average’ pension schemes. How much members will get will depend on their pension scheme’s rules, not on investments or how much they have paid in. In DB arrangements, the investment risk is with the employer who must fulfil the benefits promised. DB scheme benefits are usually based on a number of factors such as the employee’s salary and how long they’ve worked for the employer. 

In DC and DB arrangements, you can usually get 25% of the value of the benefits as a one-off tax-free lump sum limited to the standard lump sum allowance which is currently set at £268,275.

Further information can be found on MoneyHelper’s Pensions Basics webpage.

11. I want to retire earlier than I thought, will I lose out?

From the normal minimum pension age of 55 you have the choice of accessing your pension pot. Please see above for further information on how to do this.

There are potential positives and negatives to drawing on your pension too early or too late. Unfortunately, the University Pensions Office is unable to provide financial advice. Therefore, if at any time you are considering taking your benefits, the Pensions Office would encourage you to request a retirement pack from Aviva and to then seek free and impartial guidance from the government service Pension Wise, who will be able to provide further information on the options. 

If you wish to seek a local financial adviser you may be able to find one through the website When choosing a financial adviser, you should ensure that they appear on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register which will show if they are registered and authorised to provide advice.

12. How can I update my beneficiaries?

All you have to do is complete an URPS Expression of Wish form to let Aviva know who you would like to receive your benefits if you die. You can either complete this on your My Money account or download and complete the URPS Expression of Wish form in the ‘Things To Do Now’ section. Once you have completed the form, please send your it to the University’s Pensions Office who will attach it to your membership record.

Aviva's Contact Details


Telephone:+44 (0)345 604 9915

Contact us
  • Pensions Office

    Room 1.10
    First Floor
    Whiteknights House
  • Office hours

    Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm,
    Fri 9am-4.30pm.
  • Pensions General Enquiries

    Telephone: +44 (0)118 378 7121