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Pension schemes

Everything you need to know about pensions at St Marys.

If you are a member of support staff, and not already in a pension scheme, you will automatically be entered into this pension plan if you meet the criteria for an eligible jobholder. The scheme is administered by Aviva (previously Friends Life).
If you are not an eligible jobholder, you will not be automatically enrolled into the pension plan, however, you can elect to join the pension plan should you wish to. You will receive a letter from Aviva to advise that you are not an eligible job holder and this letter will explain how you can join the pension plan should you wish to.

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Further information on your Aviva pension plan can be found on the Aviva website.

​​General information about pensions saving can be accessed on the GOV.UK Pensions website.​

Any member of staff aged between 22 and state pension age and who earn over £10,000 per annum (2019/20) will be automatically entered into a pension scheme (someone who meets the above detailed criteria is called an eligible job holder).

Support staff who are eligible job holders will be entered into St Mary’s University Pension Plan and Group Life Assurance Scheme which is operated by Aviva. Aviva will continuously monitor St Mary’s payroll data and will contact staff members who are eligible jobholders. 

Auto Enrolment takes approximately four months to complete - if you wish to join the scheme before the auto-enrolment process has been completed, please complete the SMU - Opt in form and email it to the HR Helpdesk, clearly stating the contribution rate to be applied.

For staff who have joined the scheme since 1st December 2013 the SMU - Member Booklet provides all the information about the pension plan to which you will be automatically enrolled and further member information.

For members who joined the scheme before 1st December 2013 the SMU - Member Booklet provides information about the pension scheme applicable to you.

Additional information on how St Mary's manages the Staff Pension Scheme can be found in our Pension Policy final.pdf

Automatic Re-enrolment

St Mary's Automatic Re-enrolment date is 1st September 2022. If you previously opted out of the pension scheme you may be automatically re-enrolled.

Increase in auto-enrolment default contributions (April 2019)

From April 2019, the University's new minimum contribution ie default will be 3% (employee) and 6% (employer), a total contribution of 9%.

In accordance with auto enrolment legislation St Mary’s is not permitted to hold or issue opt out forms. If you were to choose to opt out of the pension plan, please go to the Aviva website or phone 0845 602 9199 - there is a limited opting out period (one month after auto enrolment). Please note that if you are assessed as an eligible jobholder, the letter issued to you will provide further information on how to opt out should you wish to/the timeframe in which this must be done to receive re-imbursement of the pension contribution.

If you are not an eligible job holder you will not be automatically enrolled into the pension plan, however, you can elect to join the pension plan should you wish to by completing the ​SMU - Opt in form.

Please return all completed forms to the Human Resources Department.

Changing your contribution rate

Staff who are automatically enrolled into the pension plan will pay the contribution rates as detailed in the members booklet, however you can choose to increase your contribution rate by emailing

​Salary sacrifice

Staff who are automatically enrolled into the pension plan will pay their contributions via salary sacrifice Aviva - salary sacrifice (see method 3), however if you want to pay via the non-salary sacrifice method you can do elect to do so by completing the change of payment method form and returning the form to Human Resources. ​

More information on salary sacrifice can be found on our SMU - Salary Exchange - Questions and Answers.

Beneficiary nomination - life assurance and death in service

All staff who are members of the Staff Pension Plan must complete the following documents to nominate beneficiaries in the event of death in service:

  • Group Life Assurance Scheme Beneficiary Nomination Form 
  • Death Benefit Expression of Wish Form.

Fund options (for those who joined the scheme prior to May 2016)

Changes were made to the default investment fund for the Staff Pension Scheme from May 2016. Please see below for more details and (if required) instructions on changing fund - this only affects individuals who joined the scheme before May 2016:

If you are a member of academic staff and not already in a pension scheme, you will be entered into the Teachers Pensions Scheme if you meet the criteria of an eligible jobholder. You will receive a letter from the HR Department confirming this, which will also provide information on how to opt out / the timeframe in which this must be done to receive reimbursement of the pension contribution.

Academic staff aged between 16 and 75 are automatically entered into the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme irrespective of earnings, therefore the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme is compliant with the auto-enrolment legislation.

In accordance with auto enrolment legislation, St Mary’s is not permitted to hold or issue opt out forms. Should you wish to opt out of TPS, please do so via My Pension Online on the Members Page of the Teachers Pensions website.

My Pension Online (MPO)

My Pension Online is the online secure portal for TPS members, providing 24/7 access to their pension information in a quick and efficient way. Registering for MPO also ensures Teachers' Pensions can effectively communicate information about the scheme to its members. Members can interact with their pension in a whole new way. They can complete a range of tasks such as:

  • Checking up on their Benefit Statement
  • Viewing payslips and P60's for retired/re-employed members
  • Updating personal details
  • Completing online TPS forms e.g. applying for retirement, joining/leaving the scheme, updating family and dependant details, etc. 
  • Accessing a range of personalised tools and calculators.

To register onto My Pension Online, please click MPO registration.

Returning to Work after Retirement - Certificate of Re-employment

Members must inform TPS immediately if they take up any employment that is pensionable in the TPS by completing a Certificate of Re-employment. Otherwise, it may result in a pension overpayment Returning to Work after Retirement.

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The Local Government Pension Scheme is now closed to new members. If you are a current member of the Local Government Pension Scheme, please note that this scheme is compliant with auto-enrolment legislation.

Further information about the Local Government Pension Scheme can be found via the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) website. Although we are still part of the Richmond LGPS Pension Fund, the scheme is now administered by Wandsworth's Pension Shared Services.

Contact details


Employee contribution rates are as follows, effective 1st April 2019:

Useful Contacts

  • Barnett Waddingham (St Mary's pension consultant) - 020 7776 3824
  • Aviva (St Mary's auto-enrolment pension provider for support staff) - 0845 6054289
  • LGPS (closed to new entrants) - 020 8871 8036​​
  • Teachers Pensions (St Mary's pension provider for academic staff) - 0345 6066166 
  • For other sources of information on pensions and savings please visit GOV.UK Workplace Pension website.​​​