Coronavirus (Covid-19) - an update from the Nestlé Pensions team
The coronavirus outbreak means that individuals and companies need to change the way they work. As a result, the Nestlé Pensions team, along with many other teams around the UK, has moved to home working to try and limit the spread of the coronavirus.
So that we can continue to deliver our service, we’ve made significant changes to the way that we’re working within the Pensions team – spending time delivering the key services that our members need. This means that, for the time being, we will not be answering the helpline but we will look to reinstate this service as soon as we can.
A limited number of staff are also visiting the office in Gatwick regularly so that they can collect and scan the post and send out letters.
We are prioritising certain types of cases
As you would expect, there have been some challenges affecting how quickly the team can respond to requests because of the changes in our ways of working. As a result, we are having to prioritise the following types of case work:
- paying retirement benefits,
- setting up new pensioners so that they can be paid,
- processing cases where members have died.
Please expect delays
All other enquiries are still being processed, but will take longer than usual so you should expect delays in responding to your requests.
Contact us by email or post
Please remember that we currently have no helpline running, so if you have questions about your pension, or changes to report in your circumstances, please contact the team by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) where possible.
You can also continue to contact the team in writing at:
1 City Place
No change to your pension payments
Your monthly pension payments will continue as normal. Our processes that enable us to pay your pension each month remain in place.
You may have heard about the falls in stock markets and the uncertainties surrounding investments in the media recently – it’s likely that this uncertainty will continue for a while.
However, please rest assured that the Nestlé UK Pension Fund has an investment strategy in place that ensures there is enough money each month to pay pensions as and when they are due. Our ability to pay your pension is not affected by short term volatility in investment markets.
You should have recently received your letter with the details of the annual increases that will apply to your pension.
Beware of scams
Sadly, we have seen an increase in scams since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Some people are using the uncertainty around the pandemic as an opportunity to try and scam people out of their money so please be very careful with your personal details and avoid giving them out to anyone that you don’t know.
Scams could come in the form of emails which ask you to click a link that takes you to a website to enter personal information or bank details. They may ask you to do this to ensure that your account isn’t locked, or a key service isn’t cut off. These are known as phishing emails.
Scams could also be a phone call out of the blue (known as cold-calling) asking you to provide personal information, or offering you the chance to get a great return on your investment. Most scammers will ask you to act quickly and/or offer a huge incentive – this is a clear flag that something is suspicious.
The latest scams also involve:
- Fake lockdown fines – where people are sent a text message pretending to be from the government asking you to pay a fine for breaking the lockdown rules.
- HMRC goodwill payments – this email will ask you to enter your bank details so that HMRC can give you a £258 goodwill payment.
Key things to remember about scams are:
- Cold calling relating to your pension is illegal
If anyone you don’t know calls you to offer something relating to your pension, hang up the phone. Pensions cold calling is illegal – legitimate pension schemes and advisers will never contact you in this way.
- If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is
As a general rule of thumb, if something is promising a huge profit or return on your investment, it’s probably a scam – particularly if there is pressure for you to act quickly.
- Never give out your personal details to anyone you don’t know
To protect yourself, and your pension savings, please make sure that you don’t give out any of your personal details over the phone, by email or by clicking on a link in an email.
More useful information about scams
The Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator has lots of detailed information on their website about how to protect yourself from pension scams including this useful booklet which outlines what scams look like, how you can protect yourself, and what to do if you think you might be being scammed.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s ‘ScamSmart’ website provides lots of useful information about how to spot a scam, how to check that what you are being offered is legitimate and many other useful resources.
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS)
The Pensions Advisory Service offers very thorough information on how to spot a scam, what to do if you think you have been scammed and what help and support they offer. You can read more on The Pensions Advisory Service website.
Other useful links
Worried about money?
The Money Advice Service offers free, impartial advice if you are worried about money. It’s run by the government, and offers:
- Support over the phone or online,
- Guides and advice to help you improve your finances, and
- Tools and calculators.
Visit moneyadviceservice.org.uk to find out more.
They also have a specific section on Coronavirus.
Need help with your pension or want more information about how Coronavirus could affect it?
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) are there to help you with your pension. They also have a section that deals specifically with Coronavirus and how it may affect your pension.