Shell runs several pension schemes with different features and benefits depending on if you worked for the firm before 2009, still work with the company or have left.
If you belong to the Shell Overseas Contributory Pension Fund and were an employee on or before December 31, 2008 and have a salary of more than £30,000 a year, you are contributing 6%.
Shell pays the ‘balance of cost’ which makes up the difference of the amount you should receive as benefits less your contributions and any investment growth.
You cannot opt to pay more as the scheme does not accept additional voluntary contributions.
If you want to know how much your pension will be, Shell works out the figures based on your pensionable service and final salary.
Other factors like part-time work and extended leaves of absence affect the amount.
Switching out of a Shell pension
If you joined shell on January 1, 2009, the contribution levels and balance of cost rules are the same, but the figures for working out the payment are different.
All pension scheme members should receive an annual statement detailing the value of their pension fund and likely pension benefits on retirement at the end of each financial year.
If you have lost your statement, then you can ask the scheme administrators for an up to date statement.
If you want to switch your transfer out of the Shell scheme into another pension, like a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) for expats, then you need to ask the administrators for a transfer value statement.
This statement values your pension fund on the date the document is issued and guarantees that amount for a specific period, which is detailed in the paperwork.
Specialist pension advice for oil and gas workers
Switching out of the Shell scheme is not difficult, but many factors have to be considered, so you should take impartial advice from a suitable qualified IFA.
Points you need to discuss with the IFA include:
- What benefits you might lose when leaving the Shell scheme
- The tax implications of where you live, work and where a QROPS is based
- Your tax residency when you retire
- Fund size and lifetime allowance rules
- Retirement age and personal financial objectives
- Attitude to investment risk
Currently, the UK has a shortage of IFAs who can recommend QROPS and similar pension products, so make sure the IFA you talk to has an arrangement to refer cases to an offshore pension expert.