It is a bespoke pension plan, exclusively for the UK maritime sector, which supports 185,700 jobs. With the sector rapidly evolving and the marine and shipping industries being the largest in the sector in terms of economic activity, eligible members can work at sea or on shore.
How does it differ from others?
As the only dedicated plan for maritime organisations and their staff, it addresses all their particular needs. We offer a real alternative to the big, impersonal pension providers – with low transition fees and management charges well below those of competitor schemes.
How does it do that?
Unlike many other pension providers, we are an independent pension fund with no shareholders to support. Our not-for-profit scheme is all about best outcomes for employers and people at minimal outlay. Our trustees have a combined 120 years’ maritime industry, trade union and pensions experience, representing both employers and employees. They therefore take a ‘people first’ approach – making certain that the Plan continues to deliver its promised benefits to employers and members alike. Trustees are supported by handpicked industry leading advisors and professionals.
What are the benefits for employers?
The Plan boosts recruitment and retention by positioning firms as target destinations; accommodates often short-term, flexible working arrangements without extra admin/cost; offers a personal, knowledgeable service, which more general pension companies would struggle to match; delivers low costs and high returns and, as a not-for-profit, offers some of the lowest management fees in the pensions industry.
Do companies have to provide staff with a pension?
Most are obliged to, yes. Workplace pensions are a demand of auto enrolment legislation, which helps more people save for retirement. It requires every UK employer to put certain staff into a plan and contribute towards it. Crucially, they are also responsible for running ‘a good quality scheme’.
Will Ensign help remove my administrative burden?
Ensign’s plan removes this burden and concern, ensuring that organisations not only meet all auto enrolment demands with minimal cost, but can sign up quickly and easily and deliver best retirement outcomes too.
Can Ensign increase the required contribution levels without my permission?
No.When an employer joins the Plan, the contribution levels they pay for their members is set out in the ’employers’ benefit specification’ which has to be signed by both the employer and the Trustee. As such, the employer has total control over their contribution levels and the Trustee has no power to increase the required contributions. Some employers pay more than the 10%, some are on a journey path to that level, but this is totally in the hands of the employer and not the Trustee.
Does my employer have to sign up to the pension scheme for me?
Yes. Our plan is a defined contribution scheme which means that you and your employer both contribute to your personal pension pot which you can then use to take retirement benefits from. The value of your retirement benefits depends on the contributions you and your employer have made, the investment returns achieved and how you chose to take your benefits. If you are not already enrolled you can speak to your employer and ask them to sign up to our scheme.
Am I eligible to join?
If your employer has signed up to Ensign and has invited you to join, then you are eligible, irrespective of where you live, your UK tax status, or the location of your employer.
Speak to your employer to see if they are participating in the Plan, or alternatively, please call our Executive Team on 01293 804580.
What makes this plan different to non-maritime pension plans?
Ensign is governed by both pension specialists and maritime experts to provide a pension plan that works specifically for the maritime industry. Workers in the industry face unique challenges and we are committed to providing a product that fits in with their job. For example, we know that those working in the sector are often seasonal workers, so we have made it easy for you to keep your same pension pot in place for when you return to your employer.
What other flexible benefits does it offer?
We allow you to combine your Ensign plan with any other pension pots you have from other providers. We have a range of funds geared to your unique requirements, such as ‘target date’ funds, which enable you to set a ‘retirement window’, plus additional fund options you can choose to invest all or part of your retirement pot into. You also have control over how you take your benefits when you retire, whether you plan to take a 25 per cent tax-free cash lump sum, buy an annuity, decide to draw down your income over time, or a combination of all three.
I don’t work at sea. Does that mean I don’t qualify?
We understand that not everyone who works in the maritime industry is a seafarer. Our plan is open to all employees associated with the UK maritime industry.
How do I access TargetPlan?
To access TargetPlan please follow this link and enter your log-in details.
How much is my Plan worth?
If you are an actively contributing member of Ensign you will receive a statement each year. However, you can find out your current Plan value, and view your statement over the time period you choose, by logging in to TargetPlan.
How do I update my personal details?
It’s very easy to keep your personal details up to date online on TargetPlan. Visit the TargetPlan page and have your username and password to hand to log in, or if you are logging in for the first time, your account number and National Insurance number. You can amend your address and telephone number, email address, and work contacts, as well as your name, marital status and National Insurance number. You can also amend your password and security settings, change your target retirement age and alter your investment choices, if you wish to.
I’ve forgotten my account number. What do I do?
It happens to the best of us! Visit the TargetPlan page where you can find full contact details for our partner, Aegon, who will help you restore your account number.
I need to report the death of a member. What do I do?
We are sorry to hear this. It is important to report the death as soon as possible by calling or emailing Aegon. When you call, it would be helpful (but not essential) to have details of the member’s account number and National Insurance number to hand.
You require a minimum joint employer/employee contribution of 10 per cent of my income into my pension each month. Why is this?
This is a higher rate than some other pension providers. This is because we take a realistic and practical approach to helping workers save for retirement. Contributing a minimum of 10 per cent of your earnings (split between you and your employer), over the course of your working life, increases your chances of having enough money on retirement.
How do I increase my contributions?
You can increase the amount you pay into Ensign at any time – just speak to your employer about increasing your contributions. To find out how much you may need to put into your retirement pot to give you a good chance of retiring comfortably, log in to TargetPlan and use online tools to help you work out whether you are paying in enough.
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