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Pension rules

15 July 2009

THE SYNOD gave approval to five sets of rules relating to pensions.

The Chairman of the Church of England Pensions Board, Jonathan Spencer, emphasised in his opening address that all were without preju­dice to the bigger changes over the next few years.

A facility for members to convert some of their pension into an addi­tional tax-free lump sum was the first change and would enable those retir­ing to have access to additional capital and therefore greater flexibility in making retirement housing provi­sions. It would be introduced for retire­ment from 1 January 2010 onwards.

Mr Spencer described changes to the rules of the Church of England Funded Pension Scheme (Revalua­tion) (Amendment) Rules 2009 to be more arcane and of a technical nature. The legislation provided an under­spin that the deferred pension would not increase by not less than the increase in the RPI over the period between leaving service and retirement.

Debate on the third amendment rule, providing for the exclusion of ineligible persons from the scheme, had been adjourned from February, because of legal issues concerning membership of clergy working in the dio­cese in Europe. These had arisen over “cross-border” arrangements where members worked in one Euro­pean state, but were members of a pension scheme in another.

A mechanism had been found whereby the diocese’s clergy would remain in the scheme. The DBF had accepted its legal responsibility, rather than the individual chaplaincies, to make pension contributions. No exist­ing clergy would need to leave the scheme, and all would continue to earn pensionable service on the nor­mal basis.

During a short debate, an attemp­ted adjournment was voted down, and all motions were carried.

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