Automatic Employee Benefits

ASCOT LLOYD Benefit solutions (albs)

 

As a professional cricketer at a first-class County, you are provided with four key benefits, however, these will be impacted by new Government legislation on pension provision, which is known as auto enrolment.

Auto Enrolment – the Government has imposed a statutory duty on all employers to auto enrol their employees into a qualifying pension scheme. For those with a FCC contract of more than 3 months, this will apply from the first day of employment with any particular first-class County and will then continue until you leave. There are two exceptions:

Opting-Out – you have the right within your first month of employment to opt-out of auto enrolment, which can be achieved by contacting our ALBS Advisers. However, if you opt-out and you remain with that County, they have a duty to repeat the process three years later. If you move Counties, you will be treated as a new employee and immediately auto-enrolled.

Lifetime Allowance – if you have built up substantial pension funds (£1m by April 2016) it is likely that your Adviser will recommend that you cease all pension contributions to any arrangement. The ECB, PCA and ALBS have agreed a particular process in this eventuality and you should ask your Adviser to contact ALBS in the first instance.

Multiple Employers – do not forget that if you have more than one employer, each will have to auto enrol you at their Staging Date, which is likely to vary. 

Employee Benefits


1. Death in Service
 – the Death in Service benefits are split in two, a lump sum death benefit of four times your basic salary, which is provided for all professional cricketers who are Pension Plan members or have opted-out due to HMRC protection restrictions.

2. Pension Plan members are insured for a Death in Service pension of 25% of their salary, which is payable to their partner or spouse should they die in service.

Expression of Wish Form – the above two benefits are payable via the Trustees and it is important that you instruct them as to who you would like the benefits paid to. You do this via an Expression of Wish Form, which should be reviewed whenever your personal circumstances change. As the Form is held by your employer in your personnel file, should you change Counties, you will need to complete a new Form.

3. Income Protection Insurance – if your career is curtailed by injury or illness which prevents you from playing cricket, you may be eligible to claim a percentage of your basic salary for up to a maximum of two years - also see Insurance section.

  • To qualify, you must be a member to the ECB Group Self Invested Personal Pension Plan (ECB GSIPP).
  • Payment will not commence until after 26 weeks of absence.
  • % of basic salary will be dependant on age: 75% 17-29 years, 50% 30-34 years and 25% 35-40 years.
  • Players whose contract period ceases before payment commences are still eligible. You must be employed at the time of injury.

Payment is subject to full medical evidence.

4. Pension Arrangements – the ECB Group Self Invested Personal Pension (ECB GSIPP) is the qualifying scheme for auto enrolment purposes for all professional cricketers and a large number of staff at cricketing organisations. Our Advisers ensure that as you move Counties, your benefits automatically move with you. ALBS provides a lot of generic information in addition to the insurance company, Legal & General, on their website. There is no commission payable from the policy, with the ECB being responsible for ALBS fees. 

You can access generic information on the ECB GSIPP via Legal and General's microsite: www.legalandgeneral.com/ecb

a. Fund Choice – the most difficult task with a Pension Plan such as this is where to invest your contributions. The Plan provides a huge choice ranging from default lifestyle options that are automatically applied if you do not make a choice, to a large choice of funds and ultimately self-investment facilities, should you wish to go down that route. The charges that Legal & General apply to each fund vary, but the basic annual management charge is 0.10% and then a variable fund management charge is made in addition, depending on investment choice. Full details are on Legal & General’s website. In addition to the generic information provided by ALBS, there is nothing to stop you from obtaining advice on your choice of funds. You just need to remember that as there is no commission, you are personally responsible for your Adviser’s remuneration. 

b. Contributions – as mentioned above, membership is now compulsory and you are required to pay 5% of your basic salary, on which you receive tax relief. Your employer will then pay an amount equal to a further 10% of your basic salary to give a total of 15%. Employees who are subject to higher-rate tax will need to reclaim the difference between 20% and 40% in their self-assessment. 

c. Retirement Age – most players who were members prior to 1 April 2006 have a protected retirement age of 40, but the Government has changed this for all new players since then to an earliest retirement age of 55. 

d. Benefits on Retirement – when you elect to retire, you will have various options following the introduction of pension freedoms in April 2015. More details of the legislation surrounding pensions are set out in the separate booklet produced by ALBS.

  • 1. Cash in your whole fund in one go
  • 2. Flexible access, known as 'drawdown'
  • 3. Buy an annuity; a guaranteed income for life.
  • 4. Postpone taking your benefits
  • 5. Combine your options

Please note there are tax implications involved when taking your benefits and it is recommended that you seek financial advice before proceeding.


Helpline
 - ALBS operates a helpline as follows:

Pam Wightman   pamwightman@ascotlloyd.co.uk    01423 523311    Ext 289
Philip Stoker   philipstoker@ascotlloyd.co.uk    01423 523311    Ext 276
        

 

The above is a summary of a very complex set of rules. Should you require any further information, please contact either the PCA or ALBS.