Understanding S&P with-profits investments
Investment in the Countrywide Assured Pensions With-Profits Fund provides:
- either a guaranteed minimum pension amount
- a guaranteed minimum fund with which to purchase a pension at your selected retirement date.
- the possibility of a bonus depending on the performance of the underlying investments of the fund and some smoothing of the up and down fluctuations of the stock market.
- some smoothing of the up and down fluctuations of the stock market.
To avoid significant short-term fluctuations in the value of benefits payable caused by movements in the value of the fund's investments we use a process known as smoothing.
We use a formula to determine the smoothed value of assets attributable to policyholders in the fund. We blend together the actual movement in asset values each week and the expected movement over the long-term. This produces a weekly movement in the smoothed value that is closer to the longer-term trend than short-term fluctuations.
We can change the smoothing formula at any time if we think it is necessary to be fair to all policyholders.
Both the Guarantee Plus Retirement Plan and Personal Retirement Account, if it is invested in the Guarantee Plus Pension Fund, are with-profits policies.
Note: “Guarantee Plus Pension Fund” is the fund name used in policy documentation, but here it is described as “the Countrywide Assured Pensions With-Profits Fund or simply the With-Profits Fund”.
Provided that you pay all premiums when they are due, the Guarantee Plus Retirement Plan guarantees a minimum pension at the retirement date you selected when you took it out. You will have been told the amount of this minimum pension when you took out the policy. You will also be able to find it in the schedule attached to your policy document.
Provided that you pay all premiums when they are due, the Personal Retirement Account guarantees a minimum fund value at your selected retirement date or on your earlier death.
In addition, we may pay a bonus when you retire. How we determine the amount of bonus we pay is described in the later sections of this Guide.
The guarantee does not apply if:
- you take your pension earlier than the retirement date you originally selected, or
- transfer your benefits to another pension scheme earlier than the retirement date you originally selected.
If you should die before you reach your selected retirement date, we would pay out a lump sum, unless your account is funded by National Insurance rebates in which case we may have to pay a pension to your spouse.