GRP pension scheme
Group Retirement Plan
This site is for members and former members of Group Retirement Plan, administered by Legal & General and for former members of the Group Personal Penson Plan administered by Aviva (formerly Friends Life).
Please note that from 1st August 2018, the University of Birmingham Group Personal Pension Plan was replaced by a new scheme operated under a “Master Trust”. Legal & General (L&G) will now administer the scheme.
GRP is open to employees who are in a Support post and as per your terms and conditions of employment, you will be contractually enrolled into the scheme
Joining and managing GRP
You will receive an auto-enrolment e-mail soon after joining informing you of your membership to the GRP Pension Scheme. The University will forward your details to L&G and they will issue to you a ‘Welcome pack’ together with your L&G membership number. Once you receive this information, it is suggested you register onto your L&G member account for details concerning:
- Your fund amount and investments
- Updating your personal details including nominating your beneficiaries
- Transferring benefits from previous pension arrangements into your L&G fund.
The University of Birmingham Group Retirement Plan (GRP) offers a way for you and the University to provide for your retirement.
You will receive a number of valuable benefits by being a member of the scheme as follows:
- Employer contribution - You will have 10% of your salary paid, as an employer contribution, into the GRP
- Flexibility- The University GRP is very flexible so you can choose how much you contribute and where you invest it
- Tax advantages - One of the main advantages of contributing to the GRP is that it is very tax-efficient. Your plan grows virtually tax free over the years.
- 24 hour online access - You can keep track of your pension plan 24 hours a day over the internet. You can check its value, forecast what it may be worth in the future and change your personal details online.
- Low charges - The University has negotiated lower charges for the GRP than are typically available to individuals.
- Death in service benefit - a death in service lump sum of 3 x your salary will be payable to your dependants in the event of your death.
As an active member of the GRP pension scheme, you are contractually enrolled into the pension scheme upon joining service on the following basis:
- The University contributes 10% into your pension fund and are referred to as employer contributions.
- Your contributions are flexible. You can choose the percentage you wish to contribute. No contributions will be deducted from your salary until we have received written instruction from you.
- If you do contribute, you will pay your contributions by salary sacrifice unless you earn less than £9,100.
- You will be invested in the default Investment Programme.
- Your normal retirement age will be linked to your normal pension age.
Please raise a HR Portal and select Pensions. A member of the Pensions team will get back to you shortly.
My earnings are more than £9,100 this year
If your earnings are more than £9,100 (£175 per week) for the 2022/23 tax year your contributions will be deducted by salary sacrifice. Salary sacrifice is operated by many large employers. It means that:
You do not contribute directly to the GRP, instead you agree to a reduction in your pay equivalent to the level of your contribution to your pension plan.
Contributing by salary sacrifice means you will pay lower National Insurance contributions and as a result your net pay will be higher than it would be if you paid the contributions yourself.
The University then pays contributions to the GRP equal to the contributions you would have paid, so the total contribution to the GRP and your pension entitlement remains the same.
Your original salary, before salary sacrifice, will still be used for the calculation of your pension benefits provided by the GRP and for University pay awards, increments and promotions. However salary sacrifice will reduce the salary which is used to calculate your eligibility for State Second Pension benefits.
The main benefit to you of salary sacrifice is that you pay less National Insurance contributions. Further details regarding salary sacrifice are available from the Pensions Office.
The table below summarises how contributions are made by salary sacrifice to your pension plan.
University contribution % of salary
Salary sacrifice % of salary
Total University contribution of % of salary
Default level 10%
My earnings are less than £9,100 this year
If your earnings are less than £9,100 a year (£175 per week) your own pension contributions will not be deducted by salary sacrifice but will instead be deducted from your pay after tax has been deducted. Salary sacrifice will benefit only staff whose pay is above £6,396 a year (£123.00 per week) the National Insurance lower earnings threshold after salary sacrifice has been deducted. This is because when you deduct the pension contribution of 5% from pay of £175 per week (£9,100 per year) the result is below the lower earnings threshold.
For those members who after salary sacrifice earn below the lower earnings threshold at which National Insurance becomes payable after the deduction of the salary sacrifice, currently £6,396 a year, there would be no benefit in contributing on the salary sacrifice basis, as there would be no saving.
The table below summarises how contributions are made to your pension plan.
University contribution % of salary
Salary sacrifice % of salary
Total University contribution of % of salary
Default level 10%
If you wish to increase or reduce your contributions to the pension scheme, please complete the GRP Amendments form and raise a HR Portal and select Pensions. You will need to attach the form to the case.
Please note that you can increase or reduce the level of your contributions at any time and will always be in addition to those paid by the employer into your pension fund.
If you are have been seconded to another role, you can find further information on how this may affect your Pension.
If you are have been re-graded or promoted, you can find further information on how this may affect your Pension here.
If you die before age 75 your dependants may receive benefits from 2 sources:
- Your pension plan
Before you start drawing your pension, your dependants (or nominated beneficiaries) will receive the full value of your pension policy under the GRP. The plan would normally pay this as a cash amount. It is suggested that you complete a nomination form on line after you join the plan, so you can indicate who your pension plan should be paid to if you die before retirement. You should fill this in to make sure that your pension plan will be paid to the people you choose.
- Life assurance
Whilst employed by the University a lump sum of 3 x your salary will be payable to your dependants in the event of your death in service, in addition to the proceeds from your pension plan. The death in service lump sum is payable at the discretion of the Trustees of the University of Birmingham Pension and Assurance Scheme. To enable the Trustees to know where you would like your benefits to be paid you should complete an Expression of Wish form. The Trustees are not bound by this but they will take account of your wishes and it is therefore important you keep this up to date. The complete form should be sent to the Pensions Office.
Leaving the GRP pension scheme
Although the employer contributes 10% into your pension fund, without any cost to yourself, you do have the option to opt out should you wish to. To do so, please send your request via the HR Portal and select Pensions.
Please note you can re-join the pension scheme at any time.
If you leave the University your pension benefits will be retained within the GRP administered by Legal and General or alternatively you can transfer it to another arrangement. Further details can be found at L&G.
You will need to contact L&G directly for details of the retirement options available to you. Further details can be viewed via your Member Account
For planning your retirement and the options available to you, visit the Getting There section of the L&G page.
When you are ready to claim your pension, visit the arriving page.
Other useful information
On 31 July 2002, the University of Birmingham Pension and Assurance Scheme closed to new joiners.
As a result, any new Support members joining employment after 01 August 2002, as there was no support pension scheme available to join, were offered a ‘Flexible Benefit Supplementary Payment’ in order to fund their own pension arrangements. That payment was an additional 10% of salary paid to support members.
A Stakeholder pension provision with Standard Life was available, but it was left to the member to initiate any pension savings with a pension provider of their choice.
On 01 April 2008, all new Support members joining employment were contractually enrolled into the new Group Retirement Pension Plan, which was administered at the time by Friends Provident (which changed names to Friends Life and then by Aviva). The Employer contributed 10% into the scheme, with the members having an option to contribute as well.
All members receiving the flexible benefit supplementary payment were contacted, advising that they could join this pension arrangement if they wished to, and if they joined the new pension scheme, the existing flexible benefit supplementary payment would be ‘redirected’ into the GRPP scheme as employer contributions, with the option of the member contributing to the scheme should they wish to. Members were under no obligation to join, especially if they had taken out private pension provision using the 10% flexible benefit supplementary payment.
The introduction of the Auto-enrolment legislation in 2012, meant that all employers had to automatically enrol employees not already in a pension scheme, into the appropriate employer’s ‘workplace pension scheme’.
All members in receipt of the flexible benefit supplementary payment, were contacted and sessions held to explain the changes to pension saving and the effect on any flexible benefit supplementary payment that was being paid, ahead of the University’s staging date on 01 March 2013.
Members had a choice of joining: -
- Main GRP scheme, or
- Join the new GRP Lite scheme and pay the minimum contributions in line with the Auto-enrolment legislation, or
- Retain the flexible benefit supplementary payment, providing members opted out within 30 days of receiving their auto-enrolment confirmation letter.
For those members who elected to retain their flexible benefit supplementary payment, they continue to receive payment unless they choose to: -
- Join either the GRP or GRP Lite pension scheme,
- Are re-graded or promoted to an Academic/Other Related post, or
- Are automatically re-auto enrolled into the ‘workplace’ pension scheme in line with the Re-auto enrolment legislation, every 3 years. Should members opt out within the first 45 days from date of letter, they are able to retain the flexible benefit supplementary payment.
The flexible benefit supplementary payment is not offered to any current new members of support staff.
The GRPP Lite scheme is an alternative pension scheme for those members who wish to undertake pension saving for retirement but also wish to continue receiving an element of the Flexible Benefit supplementary payment.
Contributions payable are based on the Auto-Enrolment Legislation, which is currently 5% employee and 3% employer contributions, which meets the government’s minimum contribution requirement of 8%.
Members will also receive a 7% flexible benefit supplementary payment, however, should the government increase the minimum level of contributions and the employer’s contributions increase above 3%, the flexible benefit supplementary payment will reduce by that increase. The employer’s minimum pension contribution, and flexible benefit supplementary payment will always equal to 10% in line with the employer’s contributions to the main GRP pension scheme.
Can I increase my GRPP Lite contributions?
Yes - you can increase your pension contributions and to do so, please send your request via the HR Portal and select Pensions.
Please note that you are unable to reduce your contributions below the minimum threshold which is currently 5%.
Can I transfer to the main GRPP scheme?
Yes – you can transfer from the GRPP Lite scheme to the main GRPP scheme, however you will cease to receive your flexible benefit supplementary payment.
The flexible benefit supplementary payment, as well as the 3% pension contributions will be ‘redirected’ into the GRPP scheme as the employer’s 10% pension contributions, which is the employer’s payment into the GRPP main scheme. You have the choice to pay into the GRPP main scheme as per the information contained in the GRPP section above. Contact the pensions’ team for more information concerning your choices before you make your decision, as once your have moved to the main GRPP scheme you are unable to re-join the GRPP Lite section and receive the flexible benefit supplementary payment.
For Former Members of the Group Personal Pension Plan (administered by Aviva – formerly Friends Life)
As a Deferred Member of the scheme, if you require details of your deferred benefits; request a transfer quotation or wish to claim your retirement benefits, you will need to contact Aviva directly for this information.
For all enquiries regarding your L&G deferred policy, please contact L&G directly.