Philips educates staff about A-day changes

Philips Consumer Electronics UK is making its 3,000 employees aware that after A-day, the tax-free lump sum limit of 25% may restrict the entitlement of some final salary scheme members.

Some of its employees who are eligible for retirement are in pre-1987 schemes that could allow for a tax-free lump sum of more than 25% if they retire before A-day.

Adrian Holmes, pensions manager for Philips, said: "We expect a lot of pre-1987 people to have a slightly higher tax free cash entitlement, but it depends on their level of service."

He added that it was not automatic that employees in pre-1987 schemes will have a tax free allowance higher than 25% of their fund, but that the company will protect them where it can, if A-Day worsens their position.

Holmes said employees nearing retirement would have access to advice pre A-Day.

"Where people are looking [to retire soon we’ll help them] understand the implications of A-Day. If a deferred member comes to us, rather than do a general announcement, we will say to them on an individual basis ‘you need to be aware of these changes before you make the decision’," Holmes added.

The firm’s administrator doesn’t yet have the capacity to quote the new tax free cash sum compared to previous entitlements, but Holmes expects it to soon.

The company is using independent financial advisers to help the process but Holmes added that it was a matter of individual responsibility.

The firm is part way through communicating the general implications of A-Day to all members of its pension schemes.

Philips closed its defined benefit final salary scheme to new members in 1997 and introduced a defined contribution pension in its place.