EQUITABLE LIFE MEMBERS

CHARGES AND MVA's IN THE PENSIONS INDUSTRY

Last Updated: Sunday, March 07, 2010 01:37 AM

 
 

With thanks to David Thurlow  of Atkinson Bolton Consulting for checking this site for us

Please let the webmaster know if you know of any changes to MVAs.

The Financial Services Authority have recently set up tables of charges for participating providers. Click here. Both St James Place and Skandia Life declined to participate in the tables.

N.B. Standard and Poor Ratings 2004 are shown as asterisks. Companies are rated at between one and four stars. Not a single company qualifies for a four-star rating. Three stars, meaning it's OK to stay put. Savers with companies given two stars are being urged to watch what happens in their with-profits funds very carefully.  

You may also like to look at Everything You Need to Know About Pensions in UK (click here)

 

 

 

Abbey National  Abbey National has introduced an exit penalty of up to 20% on its range of with-profits policies. July 2002 Abbey National said annual bonus rates and payouts for with-profits policies from Abbey National Life, Scottish Mutual and Scottish Provident have been set at between 0 pct and 4 pct with effect from March 1. Unitised terminal bonus rates have also been set, ranging from 0-17.5 pct, said Abbey National. February 2003 March 2004 Bonus axed MVA increased by 5% at Abbey National Life. 
Companies owned by Aegon average -3%
Alba  Life  - Very poor solvency October 2002

AMP (also NPI) Penalties range up to 30%. AMP, the Australian insurance company, is scrapping annual and terminal bonus rates this year 2003 for around 120,000 British holders of with-profits pension policies (from NPI) that guarantee final payouts. Maturity values across the board were cut by 20 per cent, and 400,000 endowment holders were told they will not receive annual bonuses this year.- January 2003

Aviva Owns Norwich Union. See below. 25 January 2005 Aviva reports 9pc increase in full-year life and pension sales for 2004.

AXA Sun Life/Equity & Law ** - 6-11% July 2002. Annual bonuses on former AXA Equity & Law with-profits endowment and pension policies will be cut by 1%. The group said it was also cutting terminal bonuses on all its with-profits bonds, reducing the final payout by 4% to 5% January 2003 Max MVA 27% as at March 2003 Axa announced Jan 2004 that the annual bonus for 55,000 former Equity & Law policies ó which it took over in 1987 ó had been cut from 3% to 2%. The maturity value of a typical pension or endowment has fallen by 1% since 2003. March 2004 Regular bonuses paid on AXA Sun Life unitised pension policies have been reduced, while ones paid on mortgage endowments have been held. Bonuses paid on Sun Life Assurance Society pensions and mortgage endowments have been cut. January 2005 AXA has halved the annual bonus it is paying on former Equity & Law life and pension policies from 2% in 2003 to 1% in 2004. August 2005 Axa Equity & Law Balanced fund, has failed to deliver acceptable returns over the last five years. October 2008 Axa Sun Life is expected to announce new bonus rates soon.
Britannic  - MVA on Personal Pension Plan, FSAVC July 2002. Britannic said it was halting annual bonus payments to 1m with-profits policyholders January 2003. Britannic closes its with profits fund. March 2003. Closes down its pension arm November 2003.
Canada Life  A Canadian owned mutual. August 2005 An investment of £1,000 in Canada Life's Managed fund over the last five years would now be worth £778.
CGNU (now Aviva)   owner of Norwich Union (see below).
Clerical Medical (HBOS-the Halifax) ***  October 2002. Clerical Medical has raised the MVA to 15% on all with profit policies. Regular bonuses on life policies will be reduced to 3% from 4%, while pensions bonuses will  be cut to 3.5% 5 February 2003from 4.5%. Final bonuses have also been reduced, although the group said the amount varied according to the type of policy, how long it had been held for and how much was in it. October 2008 Clerical Medical docks as up to 7%,
Co-Operative Insurance Society - January 2003.Penalties range from 6% to 18% on with profit bonds. Not aware of any penalties on pension products. Terminal bonus cut in April. August 2002. Annual bonuses cut by up to 25% October 2008 charges as much as 13% as MVA.
Eagle Star - 20% August 2002 "Pension policyholders at Eagle Star will have received no terminal bonus on a ten-year old maturing policy for the past two years." (The Times 31 Aug 2002)
Ecclesiastical   (2.5%)
Equitable Life -MVA of 20% across all plans as of 1 July 2002. July 200210% penalty at contractual termination. Until the court's decision, Equitable has been allowing members with GARs who held retirement annuity policies to transfer their funds to other providers and take pensions if they were aged 50 or more - even though their contractual date with the mutual for retiring was 60, by transferring to a PPP and then moving their funds out, this will now incur a penalty.  September 2005  reduced the MVA to 8% of the policy's value, down from 11.1%. April 2005 Standard & Poor raised Equitable rating to B+.April 2007 MVA reduced to 5%. January 2009 Policy values (or their equivalents) will be reduced at 31 December 2008 by 3% for UK with-profits pensions policies and by 2.4% for UK life policies (2007: increased by 5.0% p.a. and 4.0% p.a. respectively) The interim rate of bonus applied to policy values (or their equivalents) will be at a non-guaranteed accrual rate of 0% p.a. for UK with-profits pensions policies and UK life policies from 1 January 2009 until further notice; and The financial adjustment applied to the early surrender of with-profits policies remains at 5.0%. This adjustment can be varied at any time and is kept under regular review.  31 December 2008, policy values reduced by 3%. So if, say, you had a policy valued at £30,000 on 31 December 2008, then on 1 January 2009 its new value would be £900 lower 27 February 2009, reduced policy values by a further 2%. March 2010 The insurer imposed a 16pc reduction in values across the board in 2001 and said so in the annual statement at the time but, since then, has taken the view that there is no need to remind people of that fact. People who have asked for transfer values are told about a 5pc market value adjustment (MVA) but not about the 16pc reduction. One client was told about an MVA of £30,000, but the actual difference between the transfer value and the full maturity value was nearer £100,000. Thousands of people have withdrawn from the with-profits fund over the years and lost money that they did not know about. They could not plan properly because they were not aware of the full maturity value they could receive at the age of 60. Anyone considering transferring a pension away from Equitable before they reach that age should ask if the policy valuation contains a negative final bonus in addition to the 5pc MVA
Friends Provident - Friends Provident raised its market value adjustment (MVA) penalty 4 per cent, up to 19 per cent for many of its 400,000 unitised with-profits pensions, bonds and endowment customers. July 24 2002 Under-capitalised, even by its own standards October 2002 Max MVA 27% as at March 2003 Decision to cut regular and terminal bonuses by up to 16pc 6 March 200.  Cuts 30 August 2003. The cuts will affect unitised with-profits savings policies and will have the effect of reducing payouts by 3pc. 12 Feb 2004-The company said that payouts on maturing policies would this year fall by an average of 6pc compared with last year, despite the stock market's recovery. Sept 2004 Reviewing to stop imposing exit penalties on with-profits pension holders who delay their retirement dates. the Friends Provident MVA on Series 6 With Profits Bonds is currently 16%. August 2005 An investment of £1,000 in Friend Provident's Mixed fund over the last five years would now be worth £799. October 2008 Friends Provident will charge between 5% and 14% on some policies. Currently paying 0.75% a year, bonus rates have halved. January 2009 Millions of policyholders will see the value of their investment hit by sliding bonus rates, a reduction in final payouts and an increase in exit charges following a 10.5% fall in the underlying fund in 2008. The maximum exit charge for clients leaving the fund early has been increased from 14% to 15%. September 2009: Friends Provident has removed the MVA from its pension products taken out after 2001.
GE Life   now owned by Swiss Re
Guardian (formally Guardian Royal Exchange now owned by AXA) 5/10 - no change Policyholders are in a reasonably secure fund October 2002
Halifax (HBOS)  MVA of 7.5% on The Halifax Life Personal Pension, The Halifax Life Top-up Pension. August 2002
Legal & General ***  -  In the past year L&G has increased its exit penalty 11 times. 24 July 2002 across-the-board rise of about 2 per cent means that the insurance giantís with-profits pensions and endowment clients face penalties of up to 24 per cent for leaving the fund early (post 1986 for pensions, post 1989 for endowments and post 1992 for bonds). Anyone cashing in a with-profits bond will have to pay between 19 and 22 per cent in exit fees. The latest rises may affect one million investors. July 2002. In 2002 Legal & General said it would cut final bonus rates for its 1.1m with-profits policyholders, reducing payouts by up to 7.5 per cent for life policies and up to 9.5 per cent for pension policies. Max MVA 27% as at March 2003 Downgraded by Standard & Poorís, the credit rating agency, from AAA to AA+. The agency blamed concerns about L&Gís capital strength for the move. 26 November 2003. Sept 2004 Legal & General said it would not impose an MVA where customers who wish to remain in the with-profits fund change retirement dates, provided the new date is more than five years away. If investors switch to a unit-linked or deposit fund at the original retirement date there will be no MVA to pay. January 2005 Legal & General levies a penalty of up to 25% of the fundís value October 2008 Legal & General now charges between 2% and 22%, depending on when the bond was bought.
Lincoln - we are told that this company charges 90% on the first two years contributions, 1.5 % thereafter. See Guardian Article
Liverpool Victoria ** -  Liverpool Victoria trimmed maturity payouts for its conventional with-profits policies of between 3% and 5%. August 2003
London Life (AMP)   Personal Pension Plan, Group Personal Pension Plan, Select Personal Pension Plan, Executive Pension Plan, Free Standing AVC Scheme 13%. July 2002
MGM  ** MVA of 19% on Personal AVC Plan. August 2002. A relatively slim solvency backing October 2002.
National Mutual - NML (now GE Pensions) 
NFU Not known August 2002

Norwich Union (owned by Aviva) *** - In July 2002 Norwich Union raised its penalty from about 5.5% to 8%. Norwich Union now charge an average of 11% for post 1987 pensions and post 1989 life contracts. With-profits annual bonuses cut for its 4m Norwich Union policyholders by up to 20pc 14 Jan 2003. In January 2003 Norwich Union said it will cut its with-profits bonuses again in just six months if stock markets have not risen by at least 15%. Annual and final bonuses reduced. Endowment payments cut by up to 18%. Max MVA 24% as at March 2003 NU had imposed a 0.75 per cent annual charge on investment returns from the Norwich Union Life & Pensions with-profits fund. NU needs a cash injection to help it to meet the generous guarantees that it made to investors during the Eighties, Nineties and the start of 2000. But experts say that shareholders should be helping to prop up the funds since they benefited from the business attracted by the guarantees. May 2004  Norwich Union 9 Sept 2004 stopped imposing exit penalties on with-profits pension holders who delay their retirement dates provided it i not more than five years away. Norwich Union is currently imposing MVAs of up to 18pc. 18 January 2005 Norwich Union cut bonuses on some long-term investments and predicted lower returns for some savings products due to mature next year.A 25-year, £50-a-month CGNU mortgage endowment will pay £52,576 following yesterday's announcement, compared with £59,444 last year, while a 20-year, £200-a-month pension is worth £113,392 as opposed to £120,978 12 months ago. 25 January 2005 Aviva reports 9pc increase in full-year life and pension sales for 2004. October 2008 Norwich Union now dock up to 22%

NPI (owned by AMP): Closed book Penalties range up to 30% on all with profit policies. Terminal bonuses cut on average by 5%. August 2002. Without the financial backing of AMP the company would be in very serious financial difficulties October 2002. AMP, the Australian insurance company who owns NPI, is scrapping annual and terminal bonus rates this year 2003 for around 120,000 British holders of with-profits pension policies that guarantee final payouts. The cuts relate to pensions sold between 1971 and 1988 by NPI. Typical bonus cuts 0.5%. Up to 24% on pensions.- January 2003August 2005 NPI Global Care Managed fund, has turned £1,000 into £767 over the past five years - a fall of more than 23 per cent. October 2008  NPI currently pays no income on most of their bonds
NPLL October 2008 dock up to 18% NPLL also pays no income on most of their bonds
Prudential *** - at its discretion. Average 3% MVA on withdrawals over £25,000. Done on a case by case basis for entry 1993 onwards. August 2002. The insurer is cutting payouts on its popular Prudence Bond with-profits bond and its personal pensions by between 5% and 10% - September 2002. Prudential  said it was cutting bonuses on 2.5m long-term savings policies for the third time this year, by up to 7 per cent December 2002. The group said that bond holders would receive a regular bonus of 3.25% this year, compared to 4% in 2002. Personal pension customers would receive 3.5%, compared to 4.5% 25 February 2003. Prudential announced Jan 2004 that the annual bonus for 375,000 investors in its Prudence bond will remain unchanged at 3.25%. January 2005 Prudential announced in December 2004 that the annual bonus on its with-profits bond will be maintained at 3.25% this year. October 2008 Prudential has left bonus rates untouched and has not changed its charge structure if you cash in your bond. 24 February 2009 Prudential has reduced payouts on its with-profits policies by between 6% and 10% following Ďexceptionalí market conditions in which the underlying fund fell by 19.7% before tax.
Royal Liver
Royal London  - 17.5% MVA Refuge Assurance Unitised With Profits Personal Pension Plan Series 1, Refuge Assurance Unitised With Profits Personal Pension Plan Series 2 August 2002 March 2004 Royal London said annual bonus rates on most conventional with-profits policies would be cut by as much as 50pc. However, holders of unitised with-profits policies would see their bonuses maintained and even increased in some cases. October 2008 take up to 10%
Royal and Sun Alliance 2/10 (2.1) - Bonuses cut by 20%-60% for conventional policies, 50% for newer with-profits bonds. Many final payouts down - January 2003 Max MVA 28.7% as at March 2003
Scottish Amicable (owned by Prudential) - 10.17% MVA Premier Personal Pension Plan, Premier Stakeholder Plan, Premier Executive Personal Pension Plan, Premier Group Personal Pension, Premier Group Stakeholder Pension, Premier Group Money Purchase, Premier Transfer Plan August 2002

Scottish Equitable (owned by Aegon) **- Scottish Equitable, a leading life insurer, levies a maximum MVA of 20 per cent on its with-profits bond holders and pension clients. BBC reported that Scottish Equitable imposed a penalty of 28% on one policyholder-August 2002. Daily Mail (22 Aug 2002) says MVAs were applied on 13 different products between January and August, including its group and individual personal pension plans-August 2002 Max MVA 26% as at March 2003  

SCOTTISH EQUITABLE has cut payouts on with-profits plans and has imposed an exit penalty of up to 30%. Some people will get back less than their original investment. If you put £10,000 in a bond five years ago, you will get £8,402 at maturity, compared with £13,911 last year The Times. April 2003  S&P revised its outlook on U.K.-based life insurer Scottish Equitable PLC to negative from stable. At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its 'AA' long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on the company - July 2003 A new pension plan from Scottish Equitable, part of the Aegon group, deprives policyholders of 7 per cent of the contributions made in each of the first five years. May 2004 Upgraded by S&P from 'negative' to 'stable' July 2004. 27 January 2005 SCOTTISH Equitable has signed a pensions distribution deal with wealth-management firm St Jamesís Place. The Dutch-owned brand will now be sold by the 1,100, strong sales force at St Jamesís, which is 60 per cent owned by HBOS. August 2005 The £6 billion Scottish Equitable Mixed, the £4 billion has failed to deliver acceptable returns over the last five years. 

Scottish Friendly Assurance ** - Average 25%. August 2002.
Scottish Life Average 12.5% on endowments and pensions. Cut terminal bonuses. August 2002. March 2005 Scottish life, which is a closed fund, has followed the trend to maintain bonuses. But over the year its payouts are down.
Scottish Mutual: (owned by Abbey National)  - The MVA varies between 4 and 20%. August 2002. Abbey National said annual bonus rates and payouts for with-profits policies from Abbey National Life, Scottish Mutual and Scottish Provident have been set at between 0 pct and 4 pct with effect from March 1. Unitised terminal bonus rates have also been set, ranging from 0-17.5 pct, said Abbey National. February 2003 February 2004 Customers who wish to cash in their policies face market value adjusters (MVAs) of up to 20 per cent of the value of their investment. Bonds purchased before February 2000 are hardest hit. March 2004 Bonus axed MVA increased by 5%. August 2004 The group has scrapped this year's terminal bonuses for with-profits policies which are less than 30 years old. The final bonus it pays on policies which are more than 30 years old has been slashed to 5% from 28%. The group also said it was halting terminal bonuses on life policies which had run for less than 15 years. January 2005 In 2004, Scottish Mutual closed to new business in December 2002, became the first insurer to pay no terminal bonus on long-term policies. Savers in maturing pension plans of up to 30 years received no final payout. The insurer has also paid no annual bonuses for the past two years. Scottish Mutual charge 20% MVA. October 2008 take up to 18% and currently do not pay any income
Scottish Provident (owned by Abbey National) ) - 5% MVA across the board. February 2003 Abbey National said annual bonus rates and payouts for with-profits policies from Abbey National Life, Scottish Mutual and Scottish Provident have been set at between 0 pct and 4 pct with effect from March 1. Unitised terminal bonus rates have also been set, ranging from 0-17.5 pct, said Abbey National.  Feb 2004 Scottish Provident's MVA is now 12% March 2004 Bonus axed October 2008 currently do not pay any income

Scottish Widows (owned by Lloyds TSB) ** - September 2001, Scottish Widows imposed a 15% exit charge on the value of a with-profits pension or unitised with-profits investment bond* deal. In August 2002 Scottish Widows investors were suffering a 22% penalty. 1 November 2002 Scottish Widows cut final payouts to policyholders by 5 per cent. Final bonuses, which are applied when the policy matures, have been cut by an average of between 12 and 15 per cent. Annual bonuses have been brought down to as low as 0.5 per cent on some policies, with 2.5 per cent the highest bonus available on a pension policy - 18 January 2003. Max MVA 27% as at March 2003. Jan 2004  Scottish Widows, says it is cutting regular bonuses on unitised with-profits policies by between 0.5 and 1 percentage points. August 2005 The £1.9 billion Scottish Widows Mixed fund has failed to deliver acceptable returns over the last five years. October 2008 MVA as much as 25%  February 2009 Scottish Widows has reduced payouts across its with-profits policies following negative returns in the underlying fund value of -17.5% over the past year.

Regular and terminal bonuses have also been cut from 1 January 2009 in response to a 30% fall in the UK equity market. Pension policies were the worst affected with a 65-year-old male investing £200 a month for 20-years into a conventional personal pension policy expected to receive just £75,140 at maturity compared to £85,722 a year earlier. Meanwhile a 10-year £10,000 with-profits bond investment made in 1999 would have matured at £11,894 at the beginning of 2009 against £13,293 a year earlier.

Standard Life **  - Life and pension policies were cut by up to 38 per cent - October 2002. From January 20 2003, anyone cashing in, switching or transferring a life insurance policy will receive an MVR of up to 20 per cent, while unitised pension policies will be chopped by 25 per cent. A year ago Standard cut bonuses, reducing payouts by 8 per cent, while in September it made a further cut of 10 per cent.  Click for press release 3 Feb 2003 Average of 15pc knocked off the maturity value of with-profits policies. MVA reduced. Max MVA 27% as at March 2003 Standard Life announces a six per cent cut in maturity and retirement payouts on with-profits policies held by more than two million savers. It's the fourth reduction in under two years. August 2003 Situation Jan 2004 27 per cent of the fund's value for with-profits bondholders. Pension policyholders who switch to another manager would lose 16 per cent, while unitised life policyholders would face a loss of 8 per cent. 30 Jan 2004  Standard Life announced traditional with-profits endowment holders will see the annual bonus on the sum assured element of their policies fall from 1pc to 0.5pc. The bonus on accrued bonuses falls from 1.5pc to 1pc. Pension bonuses fall from 4.25pc to 4pc and 3.25pc. Bonuses paid on old-style pension policies fall from 1.25pc to 0.75pc. Feb 2004 Standard Life is to impose higher charges on 1 million with-profits pension customers at the end of this month in a move that will result in lower returns on their policies. Feb 2004 Credit rating downgraded to A plus. July 2004 Standard cut final bonuses by further 8%. Sept 2004 Standard Life charges between 6pc and 15pc for regular premium pensions, and up to 23pc for single-premium policies. An action group has been set up against Standard Life's actions see http://www.raise-the-standard.com January 2005 Standard Life still charges up to 27% MVA. 1 February 2005 About 2m Standard Life policyholders were told their policies were worth 7pc less than they had been the previous day. August 2007 Standard Life has emerged as the only life company to levy a unit price adjustment (UPA) on maturing with pension policies for those who donít want to take an annuity. October 2008 MVA can be up to 6.4% January 2010 A £200-a-month pension plan taken out 20 years ago now has a maturity value of £82,301 Ė down from £87,095 a year ago and £92,735 two years ago.
Sun Alliance and London (see Royal and Sun Alliance)  - Support from its parent has prevented the company from going bust October 2002. August 2005  The £1.7 billion Royal & SunAlliance Managed Fund has failed to deliver acceptable returns over the last five years. 
Sun Life (owned by AXA)  see above March 2004 Bonuses paid on Sun Life Assurance Society pensions and mortgage endowments have been cut.
Teachers Provident - Relatively financially strong and enjoys high quality business from an affinity group with which it has strong ties
Tunbridge Wells FS (now the Children's Mutual) 7/10 (5.7% Est 2002 5%)
Wesleyan  - 10% on Retirement Account, Personal Pension Plan, Group Personal Pension Plan. August 2002
Winterthur (owned by Credit Suisse)  - A fairly modest excess capital position October 2002