My Pension Covid-19 news
Here you will find the latest information on the Covid-19 and your pension. We would like to reassure you that the Trustee Board is actively maintaining close oversight of the developing Covid-19 situation and this was a major focus at our recent full Board meeting.
These are testing times on the financial markets. Indiscriminate selling across global markets has led to sharp falls in response to concerns about the coronavirus and its potential impact on the global economy. Positive performance has been difficult to come by across asset classes, but some have been hit harder than others.
As members of the Siemens Retirement Benefits Scheme Investor Plan (‘the Plan'), the retirement savings we build up depend in large part on the performance of the funds we have chosen to invest in. It can be unsettling when there is a period of turmoil on the financial markets and we see our savings fall in value.
While instinct might suggest otherwise, it’s important to stay calm at times like this. Building up retirement savings typically takes place over many years, during which time there will be numerous ups and downs on the financial markets. By investing for long periods of time, the aim is that we can ‘ride out’ periods of volatility and benefit from the kind of overall investment growth that will help your DC savings to increase in value. Global equity markets may have seen a very sudden downturn this quarter, but this has only reversed the gains made during 2019; equity markets remain at high levels compared to history thanks to the strong growth seen through the last decade.
We also wanted to take a moment to reassure you that the Trustee and its advisers are closely monitoring the situation and how it impacts the investments available to you as a member of the Plan. However, if you want advice about what might be best for you, you’ll need to speak to an independent financial adviser. The Financial Conduct Authority website provides information in relation to finding a financial adviser at: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/finding-adviser.
Within the Siemens default investment strategy, the Flexible Access Lifestyle, your investment allocation – and therefore the impact of the recent shock to performance – depends on how far you are from retirement.
Younger members are invested in the Opportunity Fund, made up of mostly stocks and shares. Members closer to retirement start to invest in the Balanced and Consolidation Funds, which are more diversified investments.
Performance of these three building block funds have been impacted differently by the coronavirus shock. Below we show the growth of £100 invested at the inception of these three funds – 1 July 2017.
As you can see, the recent fall in value of the higher risk Opportunity Fund has been more pronounced than that of the other two funds. However, performance prior to the recent shock had been much stronger – it had further to fall. This is how we'd expect the funds to behave in the current economic environment.
Younger members will have seen a fall in fund values in recent weeks, reflecting falls in equity markets around the world. It is important to note that these types of investments are expected to give the best returns in the long run. And remember, your monthly contributions will be invested at more attractive prices following recent falls.
The investments of members closer to retirement will have been gradually moving to more diversified assets over recent years, with increasing allocations to the Balanced and Consolidation funds. These funds include a greater allocation to government and corporate bonds, assets which will have provided some protection to your savings through the recent market volatility.
An update on the Property and Infrastructure fund
One specific area of the Investor Plan that has been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak is the Threadneedle property fund. This fund is held within the Opportunity, Balanced and Property and Infrastructure funds. Like many other property funds in the market, the Threadneedle property fund has been suspended to contributions and redemptions. This is because there is material uncertainty in the current market about what represents a fair price for property investments. It is not due to concerns over liquidity in the fund, or any concerns about specific properties within the fund.
The Trustee of the Investor Plan will keep this situation under review. At the current time, this does not affect the Investor Plan’s administrator’s ability to operate the Plan. The Opportunity, Balanced and Property and Infrastructure funds will continue to operate as normal, with contributions into or out of these three funds processed as usual.
This is likely to only have a limited impact on the majority of members. However, if you invest contributions in the Property and Infrastructure fund (which has a 40% allocation to the Threadneedle fund), you may wish to review how you allocate your contributions for the coming months and consider delaying any investment switches into or out of this fund until the suspension has been lifted.
If you would like any further information on this issue, please contact AskHR.
Coronavirus: Update from the Trustee of the Siemens Benefits Scheme
We would like to reassure you that the Trustee Board is actively maintaining close oversight of the developing Covid-19 situation and this was a major topic of focus at our recent full Board meeting.
On the administration side, our administrative staff (Siemens Pension Services and Capita) remain fully operational, now largely working remotely. They continue to support the Scheme and you, the members, with a full service, though there may be some prioritisation of the most urgent and important tasks, for which we ask your understanding. Particular focus is being given to prompt payment of pensions, dealing with bereavement cases, managing prompt receipt and speedy investment of your contributions.
AskHR phones continue to be fully manned, but to avoid overload if you can deal with your queries through the Scheme website or by email, that would be much appreciated. Please avoid communication by post, where possible, as closure of our offices means that this may result in unavoidable delay.
Watch out for Scams
Be aware during this uncertain time as there are some sophisticated fraudsters engaged in scams designed to trick Scheme members. The current volatility and uncertainty arising from the Covid-19 pandemic is a potentially productive environment for these scammers. The Trustee urges all members to be scam aware. Click here to see the government guidance on pension scams.
Coronavirus and your Investor Plan savings
- The spread of Coronavirus around the world has had a significant impact on global financial markets.
- The ups and downs of markets, while uncomfortable, are a normal part of investing.
- As DC savers we should be focusing on the long-term. That is, we should not solely focus or make decisions based on short-term market movements.
- If you do not require immediate access to your savings, we advise that you refrain from making any changes to your pension savings without speaking to an authorised financial adviser
- If you use the Flexible Access Drawdown Lifestyle default investment option, that is you have not requested your monies be invested in specific funds, we want to reassure you that we are closely monitoring and will make any changes deemed necessary.
- Whatever happens, don’t make a rushed decision. If you are unsure of the suitability of an investment, you should speak to an authorised financial adviser. Further, we recommend that you check your investment choices periodically and ensure that they continue to be right for you.