This document is aimed at members, and their dependants, of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan (“Plan”). It provides answers to many of the commonly asked questions about the Plan.
The Plan provides pension benefits for most former employees of Nortel Networks UK Limited (“NNUK”) together with employees of other Nortel UK companies and companies that have become part of the Nortel group over the years, such as STC and ITT. You can find a list of such companies on the Acquired Companies page of our website.
The definition of members’ entitlement to benefits is set out in the Trust Deed and Rules (“Plan Rules”). The Plan Rules govern the administration and conduct of the Plan. On January 14, 2009 NNUK, and most other Nortel companies worldwide, went into administration. This automatically triggered the involvement of the Pension Protection Fund (“PPF”) which is a statutory corporation established under the provisions of the UK Pensions Act 2004.
In brief, the PPF’s main function is to provide compensation to members of eligible defined benefit pension schemes, in the event of insolvency of the employer and where there are insufficient assets in the pension scheme to cover PPF levels of compensation. The Plan Rules now operate subject to the PPF rules. All members now in receipt of pensions will be aware of the compensation to which they are currently entitled.
The Plan is still in the PPF assessment phase but members who have been following our activities to maximise recoveries to the Plan from Nortel’s global insolvency proceedings will know that in October 2016 all parties reached agreement on how to divide over US$ 7 Billion between various parties in the US, Canada and Europe. This agreement finally became effective in May 2017.
We wrote to members in November 2017 saying that we were increasingly confident of securing benefits outside the PPF and estimated a total recovery greater than £1.2 Billion.
Members will be kept up to date with progress by means of personalised letters and website announcements. If you have not received any letters through the post over the past few months, please check that we have an up-to-date address for you.
Much of the information in this document deals with the operation and level of PPF benefits. The information is given in good faith and results from interpretation of information published on the Pensions Regulator and PPF websites. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure accurate information is given it must be assumed to be for guidance only and not a definitive statement of entitlement or the law.
Any member who is considering drawing pension benefits from the Plan is strongly advised to seek professional guidance. Neither the Trustee nor NNUK can provide advice on your personal financial circumstances. To find an independent financial adviser in your area go to www.vouchedfor.co.uk, or www.unbiased.co.uk or https://directory.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. This will give you a list of IFAs to choose from. Our November 2017 letter also gave details of some specific support arrangements for members as we move to secure benefits outside the PPF.
Please note that the PPF does not hold details about Plan members and cannot comment on individual cases. They will be unable to help you if you contact them directly to ask about your personal circumstances. They will, however, be able to assist you if you have general queries about the PPF.