Brexit

Questions & answers

This is an uncertain time with the exact terms of the UK’s exit from the EU still to be agreed. We are working closely with the UK Government, industry and our regulators to ensure that we remain appropriately prepared for Brexit at the end of March 2019.

Above all, we are committed to ensuring we continue to meet our customers’ needs and expectations, both ahead of and following Brexit. We will keep customers informed as plans are finalised and the external environment becomes clearer.

We’ve included the most frequently asked questions on your products and services below. The answers are based on our current understanding of UK and EU laws and regulations, and may be subject to change. We’ll update our answers to reflect the latest information available to us.

General

We believe you’ll continue to be able to access your existing products and services in the same way as you do today.

While you’re resident in the UK, you’ll also be able to apply for new products and services we make available. If you move outside of the UK, or are currently resident outside the UK, you may be ineligible to apply for new products and services, [as is currently the case].

Your data will continue to be protected through current legislation, and our internal policies. Your data will continue to be held securely.

Yes. For existing products and services, there should be no immediate changes to payments from and to these countries.

The EU currently consists of:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

For general updates and guidance on the UK leaving the EU, the UK Government has set up an online hub.

Investments

Investments which continue to be held with Scottish Widows Limited, Scottish Widows Unit Trust Managers Limited, Scottish Widows Administration Services Limited or HBOS Investment Fund Managers Limited will continue to be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme following Brexit.

Similarly, the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority will remain our primary regulators.

We offer a wide range of funds and investment strategies, each of which has its own particular aims and objectives, and which carry different levels of risk and investment growth potential.

These funds and strategies are themselves invested in a number of underlying asset types, including equities (shares), gilts and bonds, property and cash.

The value of each underlying asset can depend on different factors, including: the economic, political, tax and social environment; interest and exchange rates; market sentiment; and geographical factors, to name but a few.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know how the value of investments might be impacted by Brexit, either in the short term or over the longer term. However, our range of funds and investment strategies are subject to robust governance and oversight, to ensure that they continue to operate as intended, including appropriately managing the level of risk in accordance with the stated investment aims and objectives, and related information disclosed to customers.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know how the value of investments might be impacted by Brexit, either in the short term or over the longer term. However, our range of funds and investment strategies are subject to robust governance and oversight, to ensure that they continue to operate as intended, including appropriately managing the level of risk in accordance with the stated investment aims and objectives, and related information disclosed to customers.

Before making any decisions to take some or all of the value of your investment, it is important to understand the consequences, and to be sure it’s the right decision for you. You should also consider the tax implications. If you’re unsure, you should speak to your financial adviser or you can visit unbiased.co.uk for further information.

You can only pay into an ISA if you are resident in the UK.

If your plan can currently accept further investments, it is our intention for this to continue. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

While you remain outside of the UK, you may be ineligible to apply for new products and services.

Bonds

Our intention is that your plan will continue to operate as it does today. You can ask to withdraw money from your plan at any time, in accordance with the plan provisions. Before making any decisions, you should consider the tax implications. If you’re unsure, you should speak with your financial adviser or you can visit unbiased.co.uk for further information.

Your plan is linked to a number of underlying investments, the value of which depends on a range of factors, including: the economic, political, tax and social environment; interest and exchange rates; market sentiment; and geographical factors, to name but a few. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know how the value of investments might be impacted by Brexit, either in the short term or over the longer term.

Before making any decisions to take some or all of the value of your plan, it’s important to understand the consequences, and to be sure it’s the right decision for you. Things to consider include: the plan features and benefits you might be giving up; whether you can replace these; you’re attitude to risk; and tax. If you’re unsure, you should speak to your financial adviser or you can visit unbiased.co.uk for further information.

If your plan can currently accept further payments, it is our intention for this to continue. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

While you remain outside of the UK, you may be ineligible to apply for new products and services.

Pensions

If you’re eligible to receive UK tax relief on your payments, we’ll continue to be able to claim basic rate relief on your behalf. You’ll need to claim any further tax relief via your self-assessment tax return, as you do today.

Our aim is to continue to offer you the same options currently available to you under your plan. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

You can normally only take money out of your pension from the minimum pension age (currently age 55). In some cases, you may be able to take your benefits earlier. You can choose to transfer to another plan at any time. Before making any decisions to take benefits or to transfer, it’s important to understand the consequences, and to be sure it’s the right decision for you. If you’re unsure, you should speak to your financial adviser or you can visit unbiased.co.uk for further information.

Our intention is that your plan will continue to be able to accept payments, as it does today subject to relevant eligibility criteria and tax rules. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

While you remain outside of the UK, you may be ineligible to apply for new products and services.

Workplace savings

Scottish Widows offers a wide range of funds, invested in various different asset classes, sectors, regions, and markets. The funds are managed in accordance with mandates (instructions) set by Scottish Widows, or for externally managed funds, the fund managers. The mandates include requirements regarding the degree of diversification (i.e. how the value of the fund is spread across different assets, asset classes, sectors, etc.) the fund managers must maintain, with the aim of managing risk within agreed levels and avoiding excessive exposures.

Yes. Your pension benefits will remain invested with us until you choose to take them, or you reach age 75. Our aim is to continue to offer you the same options currently available to you under your plan. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

Rather than accessing your pension benefits from your current plan, you may be able to transfer the value of your pension benefits to another pension arrangement. This could include a pension arrangement established in your country of residence.

We may accept transfers from overseas pension arrangements, subject to certain eligibility criteria. This will be unchanged as a result of Brexit. If you’re considering transferring the value of an overseas pension arrangement, you can ask us for more details. Before making any decisions, however, it is important you understand the consequences of transferring, including any features or benefits you might be giving up. We would strongly recommend you take financial advice before making any decision to transfer or you can visit unbiased.co.uk for further information.

Annuities

Our intention is that we’ll continue to make your annuity payments as we do today. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

Our intention is that we’ll continue to make your annuity payments as we do today. If in future we need to make any changes, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

If your annuity payments are linked to UK inflation or another index, they’ll continue to change each year in line with the relevant index. If your annuity is set to increase each year by a fixed percentage, then it will continue to increase in line with that percentage.

Where possible, we will make payments to a bank account established in your country of residence. If we’re unable to do so, we’ll make your payments to a UK bank account.

Insurance

Our intention is that your plan will continue to provide the same cover as it does today. You should refer to your plan documentation for specific details of your plan cover, including any exclusion that applies.

If your plan allows you to make changes to your level and/ or type of cover, our intention is that you’ll be able to make such changes as you can currently. If in future we need to make any changes to your cover, we’ll contact you well in advance to explain the changes, and your options. We’re not planning to make any changes at this time.

While you remain outside of the UK, you may be ineligible to apply for new products and services.