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An introduction to the Co-op Section

Timeline

Some key dates leading up to the changes.

On 28 June, the Co-operative Bank plc announced that it was proceeding with plans to raise capital.

Agreement had been reached with all interested parties that if the capital raise was successful, the responsibilities for Pace would be divided between the Bank and the Co-operative Group in due course.

Click to see the Pace Trustee's website message to members at the time.

The Pace Trustee issued an update for members on the Pace website:

For members of Pace Complete:

- Update from the Trustee

- Frequently Asked Questions

For members of Pace DC:

- Update from the Trustee

- Frequently Asked Questions

The Co-operative Bank announced that it had successfully completed its capital raising plan, which would result in the creation of two separate sections within Pace in due course.

The Pace Complete Members' Annual Report was mailed to all Pace Compete members, including an update from the Trustee on the planned creation of two sections within Pace. See page 4 of the Members' Report.

An explanatory leaflet was mailed to all Pace Complete members, explaining the planned creation of two sections within Pace.

On 21 May the Trustee wrote to all Pace Complete members to confirm which section of Pace they will become a member of.

The two sections of Pace will become effective.

Documents

We wrote to everyone in May, saying which section they’ll become a member of. If you’ve misplaced yours, you can find copies of these documents here. We’ve also added copies of the information sent to members in April.

Answers to your questions

Browse through FAQs here or use the form below if you still have a question.

The Trustee has used the information which it holds about your employment.

You have received a letter confirming you will be in the Co-op Section of Pace because: 

  • Our records show that you were employed by The Co-operative Group when you stopped building up benefits in Pace Complete, or
  • Our records show that you were employed by The Co-operative Group when you retired and became a Pace pensioner, or
  • Our records show that you weren’t directly employed by either The Co-operative Group or The Co-operative Bank, so it’s the Trustee’s responsibility to allocate you to a section of Pace. The Trustee, helped by its specialist advisers, has used a fair and impartial system to do this. The Co-op and the Bank have reviewed and agreed this process, and the allocation of members to sections has been finalised.

It’s important to remember that there won’t be any impact on the benefits you’ve built up in Pace or on any pension you’re receiving, whichever section you are a member of.

You don’t have to do anything. The allocation process has now been finalised.

The Trustee is required to act in the best interests of all of the members of Pace and, having sought advice from its specialist advisers, has allocated members to a section of Pace in a fair and impartial way. The process has also been approved by the Co-op and the Bank. Important points for you to remember are:

  • Whether you have been put into the Co-op Section or the Bank Section of Pace, your benefits in Pace will not change. All benefits will remain the same. This includes any pension you are already receiving or benefits which you have built up in Pace which have not yet come into payment.
  • The Trustee, taking advice from its specialist advisers, has worked hard to make sure that the security of benefits is protected for all of Pace’s members. Pace has been split into 2 sections in a way that is fair to all members and has in place appropriate safeguards for the funding and security for both sections of Pace.
  • In the Co-op Section, the Trustee and the Co-operative Group have agreed to work closely together to make sure the Co-op Section remains strongly funded. 
  • The Co-op Section will have a low risk investment strategy which will help to protect the funding of this section against sudden changes in the investment markets. 
  • The Co-op has also agreed to contribute up to £20m a year to the Co-op Section, in certain circumstances.

So, in summary, Pace is currently strongly funded, and the Co-op has agreed to put in place additional funding if required.

  • If you have more than one period of membership in Pace, these have been treated separately.
  • Each period of membership has been separately allocated to either the Bank or Co-op Section of Pace based on the information the Trustee holds about your employment during each period of service.
  • If you have more than one period of service in Pace and this has resulted in you having benefits in both the Co-op Section and the Co-operative Bank Section of Pace you will have received a letter which explains this.
  • It is important to note that whether you have been allocated to the Co-op Section, the Bank Section or have service in both sections, there will be no changes to your benefits.

We have written to all members who have benefits in Pace Complete, so if you have not received a letter, this is probably because we do not have the correct address details for you. If you would like to inform us of your correct address details, please write to us at:

Co-operative Group Limited
Pensions Department
Department 10406
1 Angel Square
Manchester M60 0AG

The Trustee is responsible for ensuring that the interests of all Pace members and the security of their benefits are protected. This includes agreeing the funding and security arrangements for both sections of Pace.

The Co-operative Bank will support the Bank Section of Pace and will be responsible for ensuring that there are sufficient funds to pay benefits to members. The Bank has also agreed to contribute £100m to the Bank Section over 10 years, and to provide security, initially worth £216m, which will be available to fund the Bank section, if needed.

As is the case currently, The Co-op is only required to stand behind the Bank Section in the unlikely event that the Bank becomes insolvent.

In future, if satisfied that there would be no impact on the security of members’ benefits, the Trustee may consider that this support from the Co-operative Group is no longer required for the Bank Section. In this event, the Trustee would notify members of the Bank Section of the change.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) was set up in 2005 to compensate members of eligible UK pension schemes which are wound up when an employer goes out of business and its pension scheme does not have enough assets to cover members’ benefits.

In the unlikely event that the Co-op went out of business and Pace did not have sufficient funds to secure benefits with an insurance company, the PPF would be able to provide benefits. The pension you would receive would depend on your age and when your benefits were earned.

The Pensions Regulator was closely involved throughout the duration of the discussions between the Trustee, Bank and Group on the separation of Pace, and continues to be involved with the work to complete this process.
If you have paid additional voluntary contributions (AVCs), these will stay where they are invested currently and will be allocated to the same section of Pace as your main scheme benefits.
Pace will be separated into two sections later this year. Confirmation of the timescales will be published on the Pace website coop.co.uk/pensions.

Two separate sections will be created within Pace – the Co-op Section and the Co-operative Bank Section. Once created, the two sections will be financially and legally separate. The Co-op (and some other employers) will be responsible for supporting the Co-op Section and the Bank will be responsible for supporting the Bank Section.

There will be no changes to your benefits in Pace.

Where you will see a difference is on the pensions website and in future communications you get from Pace. For example, the next annual Members’ Report you receive will provide information that is specific to your section of Pace.

No, this communication is for your information only. The allocation of members into the two sections has been finalised.

The separation of Pace will be completed later in 2018 and confirmation that separation has been completed will appear on the Pace website.

There will be no changes to your pension or the way in which it is paid.
Yes, your pension will be increased in the same way as it is currently, in April each year.
There will be no changes to the benefits payable to spouses, dependants or civil partners.
The separation of Pace into two sections won’t have any impact on the fund you’ve built up in your Pace DC account. As a member of Pace DC, your own pension account will remain in Pace and will continue to be invested for your retirement. The Trustee has prepared a separate Q&A for members of Pace DC which can be found at pensions.coop.co.uk/updates/
We’re sorry that you didn’t receive the first mailing in April. The information we sent to members is available in the documents section of this website.

Assuming that your April mailing wasn’t lost in the post, it’s possible that we have recently updated your address details on our system and, as a result, we now have your correct address. We periodically update members’ address details that are incomplete or when correspondence comes back as ‘gone away’. We use accredited tracing companies to help us do this.

If your address or any personal details change in the future, please let us know by writing to:

Co-operative Group Limited
Pensions Department
Department 10406
1 Angel Square
Manchester M60 0AG

Please write to us with your new details:

Co-operative Group Limited
Pensions Department
Department 10406
1 Angel Square
Manchester M60 0AG

Got a question about the changes?

How did we do?

We’ve tried to explain the changes to Pace in a clear and simple way, but we’d like your feedback on whether we hit the mark.

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