Questions & Answers

Suggested frequently asked questions for the Comet pensions website:

1. Who do I need to contact if I move?

If you are not yet receiving your Comet Pension Scheme pension, you should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

If you are receiving your pension, please contact Punter Southall at:

 Wellbar Central, 36 Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4TD

 payrolladmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0191 341 0669

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

2. I am a pensioner - who should I contact if I change bank accounts.

You should contact Punter Southall with your new bank details at:

 Wellbar Central, 36 Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4TD

 payrolladmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0191 341 0669

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

3. I have a tax code query - who should I contact?

You should contact Punter Southall at:

Wellbar Central, 36 Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4TD

payrolladmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0191 341 0669

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

4. I retain a benefit in the Kingfisher pension scheme - who should I contact with any queries?

The Kingfisher Pension Scheme
Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited
3 Sheldon Square
Paddington
London
W2 6PX

Tel: 020 7372 8008

Kingfisher Retirement Trust
BlackRock Pensions Administration Centre
Kingfisher Team
PO Box 704
Peterborough
PE1 1WL

Tel: 01733 353 438

5. What benefits am I entitled to?

All members were provided with a statement detailing their benefit entitlement at the date that they left the Scheme.

If you would like copy of this statement, please contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

6. How can I find out about my AVCs

If you would like information about your AVCs, you should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

You should, however, receive an annual statement from your AVC provider.

7. Who do I contact if I am planning to retire?

Punter Southall will contact you approximately 6 months before your normal retirement date to provide the options available to you. This will usually include taking a tax-free cash sum and a reduced pension.

If you wish to consider drawing your pension early you should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

8. Can I transfer my pension to another provider?

As an alternative to leaving your deferred benefits in the Scheme, you may elect to transfer your benefits to another provider. If you are interested in this option then you should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

As you may be aware, some companies are claiming to be able to release cash from a member's pension benefits as a loan or lump sum before members reach the normal minimum pension age of 55. This activity is known as 'pension liberation' and is becoming increasingly more common in the UK. In rare cases, such as terminal illness, it is possible to access funds before age 55 from a current pension scheme. But for the majority, promises of early cash will be bogus and are likely to result in serious tax consequences.

You should be wary of any offers that appear too good to be true.

The Pensions Regulator has issued the attached guidance

9. Can I transfer benefits from a different scheme into this scheme?

No. This scheme does not accept transfers from other pension arrangements.

10. I am going through a divorce and require a CETV - who should I contact and how will this affect my benefits?

You should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Punter Southall will be obliged to provide details of your pension for any divorce settlement. The effect on your pension will depend upon the settlement eventually agreed.

Please note there will be a charge for certain information. A schedule of charges will be provided by Punter Southall.

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

11. I would like to apply for an ill-health early retirement pension. What are the rules?

The Rules surrounding ill-health early retirement are quite complex and you would need to complete the attached forms and provide the medical support requested before the Trustees could consider your claim.

12. Can I have cash now?

The earliest date you can draw your pension is age 55, and at this point you will have the option to take a tax-free cash sum and a reduced pension. If you wish to consider drawing your pension early, you should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Punter Southall will provide the options available to you, which would usually include taking a tax-free cash sum and a reduced pension.

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

As you may be aware, some companies are claiming to be able to release cash from a member's pension benefits as a loan or lump sum before members reach the normal minimum pension age of 55. This activity is known as 'pension liberation' and is becoming increasingly more common in the UK. In rare cases, such as terminal illness, it is possible to access funds before age 55 from a current pension scheme. But for the majority, promises of early cash will be bogus and are likely to result in serious tax consequences.

You should be wary of any offers that appear too good to be true.

The Pensions Regulator has issued the attached guidance

13. I am considering transferring my benefits into another pension scheme that will give me access to my benefits before the age of 55. Is there anything that I need to be aware of?

As you may be aware, some companies are claiming to be able to release cash from a member's pension benefits as a loan or lump sum before members reach the normal minimum pension age of 55. This activity is known as 'pension liberation' and is becoming increasingly more common in the UK. In rare cases, such as terminal illness, it is possible to access funds before age 55 from a current pension scheme. But for the majority, promises of early cash will be bogus and are likely to result in serious tax consequences.

You should be wary of any offers that appear too good to be true.

The Pensions Regulator has issued the attached guidance

14. How much of my pension can I take as tax-free cash?

The earliest date you can draw your pension is age 55. If you wish to consider drawing your pension early and would like a quotation, you should contact Punter Southall at:

 Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700 

Punter Southall will provide the options available to you, which would usually include taking a tax-free cash sum and a reduced pension. Punter Southall would calculate full details of the amount of cash available on retirement.

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

As you may be aware, some companies are claiming to be able to release cash from a member's pension benefits as a loan or lump sum before members reach the normal minimum pension age of 55. This activity is known as 'pension liberation' and is becoming increasingly more common in the UK. In rare cases, such as terminal illness, it is possible to access funds before age 55 from a current pension scheme. But for the majority, promises of early cash will be bogus and are likely to result in serious tax consequences.

You should be wary of any offers that appear too good to be true.

The Pensions Regulator has issued the attached guidance (add link to scorpion leaflet)

15. How do I know if my children would be eligible for a child's pension in the event of my death?

An eligible child is a child, stepchild or a child legally adopted by the Member who is:

  • under age 18, or
  • under age 22 if in full time education or training approved by the Trustee, or
  • under age 25 at the Trustee's discretion, if they are still in full time education or training approved by the Trustee which commenced prior to their 22nd birthday.

16. I receive a child's pension and am about to leave school for University. What do I need to do?

A child's pension will be annually reviewed after the age of 18. If you continue in full time education or training, the Trustees will require written proof from your University before approving the continuation of the child's pension.

17. Can I have a larger pension, as I am not married and do not have any dependants?

No - the Comet Pension Scheme is a defined benefit arrangement and the Trustees have to pay the benefits in accordance with the Scheme Rules. The benefits that are paid are not individually funded and, as part of being a member, you must take the benefits as described in the Scheme Rules.

18. I have no dependants - can my spouse's pension be paid to a friend?

No - the Comet Pension Scheme is a defined benefit arrangement. The Trustees have to pay the benefits according to the Scheme Rules. It is not possible to assign benefits to another person.

19. Can a spouse's pension be paid to a Civil partner or my partner if we are not married?

Legislation may permit Civil partners to be treated in the same way as a legal spouse. If you and your partner are not married, the Trustees would require evidence of dependency before agreeing to payment of a Dependant's pension.

20. Why do I need to complete an Expression of Wishes form

In the event of your death any lump sum from the Scheme is payable at the Trustees' discretion. In order to ensure that the Trustees can consider your wishes regarding payment, you should complete an Expression of Wishes form.

If you have any change in circumstances a new form should be completed to ensure that an up to date position can be considered by the Trustees. The Trustees will consider all potential beneficiaries when deciding how to allocate the death benefits and the Expression of Wishes form is taken into account during the decision making process.

21. Who holds the Expression of Wishes form I complete?

Expression of Wishes Forms are held by the administration team at Punter Southall.

You may put your form in a sealed envelope to ensure privacy, with your name and National Insurance number on the envelope. Please mark the envelope "Comet Pension Scheme - EoW form - Private & Confidential".

22. I am the beneficiary/executor of a member/pensioner who has just died. What do I need to do?

If the member was not yet receiving a pension from the Comet Pension Scheme, you should contact Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

If the member was receiving a pension from the Scheme, please contact Punter Southall at:

Wellbar Central, 36 Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4TD

payrolladmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0191 341 0669

Please provide the member's full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

Punter Southall will require sight of the original Death Certificate. They will let you know if any further documentation is required.

23. How can I find out if the Scheme is financially secure

When Comet was sold in 2012, the Scheme was retained by Kesa Electricals plc (now Darty plc), who became the Principal Employer, under an agreed Scheme Apportionment Arrangement. A representative from Darty plc attends all Trustee meetings to give an update on the Company's outlook and performance. Ernst & Young have been appointed to conduct regular assessments of the Company covenant.

Every three years the Scheme Actuary undertakes a formal actuarial valuation of the Scheme in order to compare the amount of the Scheme's assets with the estimated amount needed to pay the benefits earned in the Scheme. The current valuation is as at 31 March 2013.

The results of these valuations are shared with members through a Summary Funding Statement, issued annually.

24. To whom should I address any comments or queries?

Any comments or queries should be addressed to Punter Southall at:

Albion, Fishponds Road, Wokingham, RG41 2QE

cometadmin@puntersouthall.com   TEL: 0118 313 0700

Please provide your full name, NI number and date of birth in all correspondence. If you have an email address, please provide this also.

25. Who do I contact about the Comet Stakeholder scheme

If you have any comments or queries about the Stakeholder scheme, then you should contact Standard Life on 0845 60 60 100.