RPSM09102460 - Technical Pages: Member benefits: An unsecured pension: Review of the unsecured pension limit: When an annuity or scheme pension is provided
This guidance only covers members who became entitled to an unsecured pension before 6 April 2011. If the member became entitled to their pension on or after 6 April 2011 then see the guidance at RPSM09103500.
Review of the unsecured pension limit when an annuity purchase occurs or a scheme pension is provided before 6 April 2011 and transition to pension drawdown
When an annuity is purchased
|[Para 10(4), (7) and (9), Sch 28]|
A review of the unsecured pension limit is triggered where part of the unsecured pension fund is used to purchase a lifetime annuity contract.
The scheme administrator must re-calculate the basis amount on the day the lifetime annuity contract is purchased (immediately after that purchase occurs). This is based on the unsecured pension fund value immediately after the purchase and the individual’s age on that day.
A review is not triggered where a short-term annuity contract is purchased. There is a new review only on the purchase of a lifetime annuity.
Where a scheme pension is provided
The same rules apply where unsecured pension fund is applied to provide a scheme pension. The legislation includes scheme pensions in the ‘annuity purchase’ definition where dealing with the calculation and application of the basis amount.
When the revised calculation applies from
The revised limit does not affect the existing limit in the pension year in which the annuity is purchased. The limit for that pension year remains the same.
The new limit only applies for the next pension year (the first pension year following the annuity purchase). As such, if the annuity purchase occurs just before a formal review is due (so in the last pension year in a reference period) then no review is triggered. Here the purchase is not what the legislation calls a ‘recent annuity purchase’. This is because a review will occur anyhow at the beginning of the next pension year, given that this will be the start of a new five-year reference period.
RPSM09102470 gives an example.
Changes from 6 April 2011:
The member is receiving an unsecured pension. If, after 5 April 2011, they retain the 120 per cent limit and decides to use some of their drawdown pension fund to buy a lifetime annuity will this affect their current five year reference period?
No, the member’s reference period remains unchanged, but it will trigger a new review of the basis amount. The member can then take 120 per cent of the revised basis amount. This new level applies for the remaining pension years of their current reference period but not the current year.
The member is in receipt of a short-term annuity which will not end until after 5 April 2011. How do the new rules affect them?
They have no immediate impact on the member. Their short-term annuity will continue unchanged