Welcome to Nortel Pensions UK
The pension resource for former employees of Nortel Networks UK Limited and other acquired companies
Update July 2021 – Court of Appeal gives judgment in Hughes v Pension Protection Fund (“Hughes”) case
As previously explained, the Hughes case relates to the compensation paid by the Pension Protection Fund (“PPF”). The outcome of this case could affect the benefits that the Plan should have paid members during its PPF assessment period (i.e. between 2009 and 2018) and the way in which the Trustee is now required to allocate funds to members as part of the winding-up of the Plan.
The High Court gave its judgment on 22 June 2020. Both the PPF and the Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP”) sought permission to appeal elements of this High Court judgment.
The Court of Appeal heard the appeals in early May 2021 and handed down its judgment on 19 July 2021. Some elements of the High Court’s judgment were overturned on appeal, but some elements were not. Further appeals could now be made to the Supreme Court.
Despite the ongoing legal uncertainty, as you will know from our letters to you, the Trustee has been able to take steps to allocate the vast majority of the Plan’s outstanding assets.
Once we have sufficient legal clarity on the outcome of the Hughes case, the Trustee will undertake further work to consider the implications on the Plan’s allocation of remaining assets.
The final allocation to eligible members can only take place once various other steps necessary to wind-up the Plan are complete, which is likely to take at least a year or possibly longer. The Trustee will keep members informed of progress over the course of next year.
Additional Benefits – 2021 Transaction with Legal & General
For members that did not select an alternative option in 2020 (if available), we are pleased to confirm that we have now secured additional pension benefits with Legal & General. We have written to all eligible members with details of the benefits secured for them. These letters were posted during the week ended 18 June 2021, so if you do not receive such a letter, but have received previous letters about additional pension benefits, then please contact the Plan administrators on 01707 607601 as soon as possible.
Recoveries now finalised ……
We have now received all recoveries in respect of the global Nortel insolvency processes. When we first joined this process way back in 2009 our objective was to maximise the Plan’s share of available Nortel assets. The principal objective set out in our 2010 Update Letter was to secure better benefits than the minimum level guaranteed by the PPF. The same letter warned that concluding recovery proceedings might take more than another 12 months!
We are now delighted to report that the total recoveries from all sources are almost £1.27 Billion – a figure that would have been considered extremely optimistic in 2009.
Do check out The Nortel Story which gives details of the recovery process and the invaluable contribution made by our legal and financial advisers both in the UK and North America.
What does this mean going forward? We now know exactly where we stand in terms of funds available in our bank account without having to take a view about the amount and timing of further recoveries. Hence, it should be ‘full steam ahead’ to make further distributions to eligible members.
Unfortunately, as explained in the ‘Additional Benefits – December 2020 Update’ above and in a letter to eligible members dated 9 September 2020, the ongoing legal procedures could change the way in which we are required to allocate available funds. Our legal team are working hard to monitor developments in the legal proceedings with a view to distributing additional funds when this becomes possible.
November 16 2020
Administration changes – March 2020
Since the Plan left PPF assessment in October 2018, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) have been providing transitional administration services on behalf of Legal & General (L&G) to all members who had a policy secured with L&G.
This transitional arrangement is now ending, and administration of these policies will pass from WTW to L&G on March 1, 2020. L&G are sending a letter to all policyholders to formally advise them of the new arrangements.
This means that the contact point for any questions you may have may be different from March onwards depending on the nature of your query:
- If you have any question about your ongoing or future pension with L&G (e.g. change of address/bank details, change of beneficiary or notification of a death) or do not receive the letter referred to above then you should contact L&G on 0345 766 0813.
- If you have a question about the additional pension benefits referred to in the Member update below then you should contact WTW on 01707 607601 who will still be providing administration services to the Trustee.
- If you do not have a policy with L&G or are still unsure who to contact then you can call WTW for further guidance.
The Plan has left PPF assessment…
On October 8, 2018 the Plan left PPF assessment and members’ Plan benefits have now been secured in a number of different ways.
The benefits for most members who were already in receipt of a pension (together with some new pensioners) were secured with our chosen insurer, Legal & General, who became legally responsible for paying these pensions from November 1, 2018 onwards. The final monthly payment from the Plan was made on October 1, 2018 and some existing pensioners also received a one-off back payment arising from restrictions during PPF assessment.
Legal & General also assumed responsibility for most deferred members for whom a future pension has been secured.
A number of members (including some dependants) who had small pension benefits elected to receive a one-off lump sum payment instead of an ongoing pension.
Finally, a number of members who were not in receipt of a pension elected to transfer their Share of the Funds to approved alternative pension providers.
Members were sent a ‘discharge’ letter setting out details of amounts and how his/her pension benefits were secured. In March 2019, Legal & General sent a policy document to each member who had an ongoing or future pension secured with them.