Members of pension schemes have pretty comprehensive rights to information about their scheme.
The broad details of the scheme should be provided if you are eligible to join and should be available on request. Certain information must be provided by the employer when employees are auto-enrolled into a workplace pension. Spouses and other potential beneficiaries can also ask for details of the scheme.
Members of personal, stakeholder and 'money purchase' occupational schemes (including additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)) should receive annual statements automatically. Members of salary-related (DB) schemes can request a statement and it should be provided within two months.
Most DB schemes will automatically provide an annual benefit statement without you having to ask, whilst you are still building up benefits in the scheme.
If your employer fails for any reason to pay over contributions, they or the trustees must tell you. You have the right to ask to see the 'schedule of contributions'.
If you leave a pension scheme before you retire, for example when you change your job, you should be given a statement about your options within two months of leaving.
Payment of benefits
You should automatically be provided with details of your pension before your retirement date.
Changes to the scheme rules
You should automatically be told of any changes to the rules of the scheme and there are consultation rights that may apply.
You can ask to see a great deal of the documentation produced by your scheme, though you can be charged a fair cost to make anything, other than the most recent annual report, available. You can ask for the:
- annual report – the law requires a great deal of information to be disclosed in this;
- trust deed and rules – the basic rules of the scheme;
- statement of investment principles – this covers the scheme's approach to its investments, including any ethical principles it chooses to apply to selecting the companies in which it invests;
- actuarial valuation – the scheme's actuary assessment of how well the scheme can meet its current and future pensions liabilities; and
- schedule of contributions – this shows the contributions made by employer and employees.
When a scheme is wound up
You should be given a statement within a month and then annually. See What happens if a pension scheme is completely wound up?
If you are thinking of transferring your money from your old employer's scheme to your new one, then normally you should receive a transfer value within six months of asking. See What rights do I have to transfer my pension?