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University of Reading Pension Scheme (URPS)

The University of Reading Pension Scheme (URPS) launched on 1 August 2011. Membership is offered by the University of Reading, working in partnership with Friends Life, to employees in Framework 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 scheme. This means that contributions from both you and the employer are paid into a Retirement Account which is invested and managed by Friends Life. On retirement, the Retirement Account is used to provide benefits for you and your 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
• the rate used to convert the retirement fund into a pension (known as an annuity rate) and
• the type of benefit you choose to buy.

Contributions 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 65. 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 Friends Life. Details are given on the right in "Things to do now".

Information about the charges levied on the different investment funds can be found in the URPS Investment Fund Aims and Risk Guide.

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 over £10,000 a year (£833 a month);
  • 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 new criteria as given above. Please see your offer and contract of employment for full information as for some short term roles assessment under the above criteria is postponed for up to 3 months from the date of commencement of employment. Membership is available to anyone who has not been entered automatically - or who has previously opted out of the Scheme - see "What to do if you want to join a pension scheme" below.

Information on changes from April 2015:

The options available on retirement have changed from 6 April 2015 and you no longer have to buy an annuity with your pension pot.  For further information please see the announcement sent to members - Fund Changes April 2015 (PDF - 79KB)

Please take a moment to view the short video about Pension Flexibilies available later on this page.

Information on changes from April 2016:

In order to ensure best value and service for members, we have made a change to the Pension Scheme's Provider.  From 1 April 2016, the Pension Scheme Administration and Investment services will be supplied by Friends Life.

What to do if you want to join a pension scheme:

If you want to join a pension scheme now, contact Stephanie May, Pensions Officer, in writing by sending a letter, which has to be signed by you. Or if sending it electronically, it has to contain the phrase "I confirm I personally submitted this notice to join a workplace pension scheme". Alternatively, an Opt In / Joining Notice can be found in the forms section below. 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. The email address is: You will then be sent further information and confirmation you are being enrolled in the Scheme.

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.  Please note that since 1 October 2015, you are only able to have a refund of your contributions if you opt out within 30 days of joining the pension scheme.  For more information, please see your pensions letter sent with your offer of employment.

Contribution rates are 4% of pay for employees and 5% of pay for the employer. The employer's rate increases to 7% once you have completed 5 years of continuous membership of the Scheme. The contributions you pay into URPS are eligible to receive tax relief so the cost to you 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 or in the Benefits+ booklet (PDF - 2230KB).

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

Pension Flexibilities 1

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Scheme Information


Things to do now

Contact us


  • Room 110
    First Floor
    Whiteknights House
  • Office hours:
    Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm,
    Fri - 9am-4.30pm.

Pensions General Enquiries

Friends Life

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