Latest news & announcements

Public sector exit cap no longer applies

The Government has confirmed that the public sector exit cap will not apply to exits from 12 February 2021.

The exit cap applied to employees leaving public sector employments from 4 November 2020 - it limited the amount of money a public sector employer could pay when an employee left their employment to £95,000.

Guidance issued by the Government states any employees who left employment between 4 November 2020 and 11 February 2021, who are directly affected by the cap should contact their previous employer. The Government expects employers to now pay any additional sums that would have been paid, if the cap had not applied. The additional sums could be payable to you as an employee or to your pension fund to pay towards to the cost of you receiving your pension early. Check with your employer if you think this applies to you.

The Government remains committed to tackling unjustified exit payments and will bring forward proposals to do this shortly. It is likely that the exit cap could be introduced again later this year.

HSBC shareholder resolution update

Intensive engagement by Brunel and the coalition of investors that filed a climate change resolution at HSBC, calling on them to publish a strategy to reduce exposure to fossil fuel assets on a timeline consistent with the Paris climate goals, has led to the withdrawal of the shareholder resolution. This is in exchange for HSBC’s own board-backed resolution.

Government updates Brexit pension guidance

The Government has updated the Brexit pension guidance to reflect that the State Pension will continue to be increased while the person is resident in the EU and that the transition period has ended. The guidance explains the rights of UK nationals in the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland to benefits and pensions now that the UK has left the EU. The Government Brexit pension guidance can be found at the follwoing location: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/benefits-and-pensions-for-uk-nationals-in-the-eea-or-switzerland

Pensions Increase

Pension increase

Government announces public service pensions which have been in payment for a year will be increased by 0.5% from 12 April 2021 in line with the September-to-September increase in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). 

Any pension which has been in payment for less than a year will be increased by a proportionate amount depending upon the number of months it has been in payment.

Brunel announce intention to back a shareholder resolution calling on HSBC to publish a strategy and targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets

Fifteen institutional investors with a combined US$ 2.4 trillion in assets under management have filed a climate change resolution at HSBC, alongside 117 individual shareholders. The resolution, co-ordinated by responsible investment NGO ShareAction, calls on HSBC to publish a strategy and targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets, starting with coal, on a timeline consistent with the Paris climate goals.

If the resolution receives more than 75% of the votes at HSBC’s AGM in April 2021, it would require the bank to publish a strategy and short-, medium- and long-term targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets on a timeline aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement

This resolution is consistent with Brunel’s previous engagement work on fossil fuel financing and follows the shareholder resolution that was co-filed by Brunel at Barclays last year.

Christmas and New Year office opening times

The Avon Pension Fund office opening times over the Christmas and New Year holidays are as follows:

  • Thurs 24th December (Christmas Eve) Closed
  • Fri 25th December (Christmas Day) Closed
  • Mon 28th December (Boxing Day Bank Holiday) Closed
  • Tues 29th December Open 9am–4pm
  • Wed 30th December Open 9am–4pm
  • Thurs 31st December (New Year's Eve) Open 9am–4pm
  • Fri 1st January 2021 (New Year's Day) Closed
  • Mon 4th January Normal opening hours resume (9am–4pm)

Our telephone service will be operating as per the above times.

Preparing for retirement

Preparing for retirement

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis the Affinity Connect pre-retirement workshops have been temporarily replaced by a dedicated 2-hour Pre-Retirement Online Course.

If you have booked to attend the upcoming July workshop, Affinity will contact you to invite you to join this Online Course.

Public sector exit cap introduced

The Government has introduced a cap on the amount of money a public sector employer can pay when an employee leaves their employment. It is called the public sector exit cap, or £95k cap. It applies to employees leaving public sector employments from 4th November 2020.

The exit cap is most likely to affect you if you are a public sector employee aged 55 or over and you are made redundant or you leave your employment due to business efficiency. This is because the amount your employer pays to the pension fund so that you can receive your pension early is included in the exit cap calculation.

The Local Government Association have published LGPS member FAQs on the exit cap, which are available at the following location: https://lgpsmember.org/news/story/exitcap_qanda.php

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