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University of Reading Pension Scheme (URPS)

MyWorkplace App

You can now download Aviva's MyWorkplace app to give you quick and easy access to your pension account. It can be downloaded from the App Store/Google Play or by using the QR code which can be found on the MyWorkplace flyer (see Things to do now).

Pension Snapshot App

You can now see your pension in a snapshot! 'Pension Snapshot' is an app which sums up the last 12 months with personalised information about your pension broken into small chunks. Please find the flyer in Things to do now which will detail how you can download the app. 

About The Scheme

The University of Reading Pension Scheme (URPS) launched on 1 August 2011. Membership is offered by the University of Reading, working in partnership with Aviva, to employees who are in Pay Grades 1-5 or equivalent. The Scheme is operated under a Trust and the assets are kept entirely separate from those of the University.

URPS is a defined contribution (DC) scheme. This means that contributions from both you and the employer are paid into a Retirement Account which is invested and managed by Aviva. 

Contribution rates are 4% of pay for employees and 5% of pay for the employer. The employer's rate increases to 7% once employees have completed 5 years of continuous membership in the Scheme. The contributions members pay into URPS are eligible to receive tax relief so the cost to members is less than it may seem. A salary exchange scheme has been introduced by the University as this is a more efficient way of paying into the scheme. Further information can be found on the Pensions+ page.

The contributions paid are invested in a fund or funds chosen from a range selected by the Scheme’s Trustees. Initially, the contributions will be invested via a default Lifestyle strategy which has a target retirement age of 66. However, members can go down the Self-select route and make their own choice of fund(s) from the available range and change their target retirement date by contacting Aviva. Information about the charges levied on the different investment funds can be found in the Aviva Guide to URPS 2023.

On retirement, the Retirement Account is used to provide benefits for members and their Dependants. The level of benefits will depend on:

  • the amount of contributions paid in
  • the investment returns achieved on the selected investment funds
  • investment and administration charges and
  • the type of benefit they choose to buy.

Membership of URPS provides the following benefits:

  • the option to take up to 25% of your Retirement Account as a tax-free cash sum on retirement,
  • a facility to increase your retirement benefits by paying additional contributions,
  • a range of funds in which to invest the contributions paid by both yourself and the employer,
  • additional contributions paid by the employer after 5 years of membership,
  • a tax-free lump sum of 6 times your annualised salary if you die whilst an active member.

Joining the Scheme

To help people save more for their retirement, the government requires employers to enrol their workers into a workplace pension scheme. This applies to those workers who aren't already in one, and who:

  • earn £833 in any given month (equivalent to £10,000 per annum),
  • are aged 22 or over, and
  • are under State Pension Age.

If you are aged 22 or more when you take up your post at Reading, you are likely to be entered automatically as a member of URPS from your first day of employment and if this is the case, it will be specified in your contract of employment. For some posts (mainly short-term or temporary), employees are only automatically entered into Scheme membership if they meet the criteria as given above. Please see our internal webpage on auto-enrolment for further information. 

Membership of URPS is available to anyone in Pay Grades 1-5 who has not been entered automatically or had previously decided to opt out. You are able to make the request to join in one of the following ways:

  • Download and complete the ‘Join/opt into a pension scheme’ form which can be found in the Things To Do Now section below’ and send it to the Pensions Office email address

  • Email the Pensions Office using your University email account quoting the following phrase: "I confirm I personally submitted this notice to join a workplace pension scheme"

  • Send a letter, which has been signed by you, using the phrase "I confirm I personally submitted this notice to join a workplace pension scheme"

The email address for the Pensions Office is: pensions@reading.ac.uk

The internal postal address is Pensions Office, Whiteknights House or if sending through the external mail: Pensions Office, The University of Reading, PO Box 217, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AH.

Once this request has been made, you will then be sent confirmation that you are being enrolled into the Scheme.

Paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you wish to make Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) in order to secure additional pension benefits in the scheme, you can complete an URPS AVC Application Form which can be found in the forms section below. Once this has been completed, please send the form onto the University’s Pensions Office and we will arrange for your AVC payments to begin at the next available pay date. Please also contact the Pensions Office if you wish for your AVC payments to cease. Please note that AVCs cannot be taken under the Pensions+ arrangement but they will still benefit from tax-relief.

Leaving the University

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 be provide you with your leaving options. The Pensions Office would recommend that you check that your home address is accurate on the Employee Self Service portal before your last day 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 your account. You are able to access your Aviva account through Aviva's website 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.

What to do if you want to opt out

Should you decide that you do not want to remain a member of URPS, please contact the Pensions Office; however please note that you cannot opt out of Scheme membership before you have been enrolled. If you do choose to opt out, you are will only be able to receive a discretionary refund of your contributions if the opt out form was received within the first 30 days of joining the pension scheme. For more information, please see the pension information letter sent with your offer of employment. Please also note that if you opt out of the pension scheme, you may be re-enrolled at a later date. Please find further information regarding re-enrolment on the our internal webpages.

Retiring from URPS – Leaving The University

There are a number of options available to members in respect of their URPS savings which can be found in the retirement packs provided by Aviva (the Scheme’s administrator). In order to obtain a retirement pack, you would need to give Aviva a call on 0345 604 9915. As this process will be specific to your personal position, the University’s Pensions Office are unable to make this request on your behalf.

There are a number of options for taking your benefits; you can choose to take either the pot in lump sums or purchase an annuity under the scheme. Other options are available by moving your savings to a different scheme (or Policy in your own name). You may want to take advantage of the Pensions Wise service (provided by MoneyHelper) which is a free and impartial government service that can help you understand the options, including how each option is taxed. You are able to book a phone appointment with them on 0800 138 3944. We recommend that you speak to Pension Wise before making a final decision regarding your savings.

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 can 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 attached one page brochure in the Things to Do Now section 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.

Retiring from URPS – Staying In The University

URPS members are able to potentially draw on their pension savings after they have reached the normal minimum pension age (currently age 55) and stay on working at the University. Under the current policy, members are able to choose to take their benefits, and then decide whether to cease contributions to the Scheme or continue to pay contributions in order to earn further benefits. The University reserves the right to impose conditions and restrictions on this option. If you would like to explore this option, please let the Pensions Office know.  Please note, taking any money from a defined contribution (DC) pot will change the amount of tax relief you can receive on all future pension contributions to any other DC arrangements (including DC arrangements outside of the University). This is restriction is set by HMRC and is called the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA). Please see the MoneyHelper's MPAA webpage and our Pensions and Taxation webpage for further guidance. 

Member Nominated Trustees

Find out all about the role of the Member Nominated Trustees (MNTs) on our internal URPS MNTs webpage.

Scheme Information

Forms

Privacy Notice

Help from SignLive

Aviva has partnered with SignLive which enables you to get in touch with Aviva using British Sign Language. A BSL interpreter can provide you with a bridge between you and a member of the Aviva team. This link to the Aviva website explains how to use this service.

Aviva Webinars

The following webinars are run by Aviva and are free to attend. They are not specific to URPS but provide general pension and retirement information.

 Title Date Register
 My Retirement, My Way 4 June 2024 2pm Register
 Your Financial Future 5 June 2024 10am Register
 Pensions transfers 5 June 2024 12pm Register
 Your Financial Future 5 June 2024 2pm Register
 Pensions transfers 5 June 2024 3pm Register
 Pension Basics 13 June 2024 10am Register
 Pension Basics 13 June 2024 1pm Register
 Managing your account online 19 June 2024 11am Register
 Managing your account online 19 June 2024 3pm Register
 Understanding investments 20 June 2024 10am Register
 Understanding investments 20 June 2024 2pm Register
 Financial Fitness 26 June 2024 10am Register
 Mid-Life MOT 27 June 2024 10am Register
 Mid-Life MOT 27 June 2024 1pm Register