pension jar

Disclaimer: WGGB is not responsible for content or advice given on external websites linked to from this page. Content on external sites is subject to change. We regularly check and update the information in this section but we cannot take responsibility for any loss arising out of use of the information. Guidance is of a general nature only and professional advice from an independent financial adviser and/or accountant should always be sought about your pension, plus your financial and tax affairs.

If you are a WGGB Full Member working in TV, radio and some areas of film you will be eligible to join the pension plan. Writers in other areas, like videogames, theatre and books, are not eligible to join the plan, unless they are also writing in TV, radio or relevant areas of film.

If you would like to join please send us an email to admin@writersguild.org.uk requesting a copy of our pensions joining pack and application form. This will tell you everything you need to know about applying for the pension and provide you with a step-by-step guide.

The WGGB pension is not actually a scheme but five different types of plans that have evolved since 1970, and it will depend on when you joined the plan. To identify which plan you have you will need to know when you joined and/or what your pension plan number is. All schemes are now administered by Aviva, so whichever plan you have, Aviva is your main point of contact (See the FAQ below: Where can I get further information and advice? for Aviva’s full contact details).

The Writers’ Guild Group SERA (Self-Employed Retirement Annuity) was established through Provident Mutual and would have been available to any WGGB member who joined the plan from 1970 to April 1988. The scheme number starts with 74935TX and is followed with your own pension plan number (starting with WW and then three numbers, eg WW001).

From April 1988 to 1995 you will have joined the Provident Mutual Group Trust Investment Account (GTIA) which was a personal pension plan and your pension plan will begin with either P272 or P273.

In 1995, General Accident took over Provident Mutual and later merged with Commercial Union in 1998. They ran the CGU Personal Pension Plan for WGGB and your pension plan will begin 800….UA–UZ.

In 2000, CGU was then merged with Norwich Union to become CGNU, and subsequently rebranded to Aviva in 2002. The Aviva Personal Pension Plan was introduced for new entrants from 2000 to 2002 and these policies will begin 854….UA–UZ to 885….UA–UZ.

From April 2002, the current Writers’ Guild Group Stakeholder Pension Plan was introduced. It is a stakeholder pension and the policies begin with SM or SQ.

Your pension plan is an individual contract between yourself and Aviva. Individual plans are not a legal responsibility of WGGB or WGGB’s pensions adviser.

WGGB’s main role is to agree the level of pension contributions to be made by the broadcasters and independent production companies into your pension plan.

WGGB also provides members with a joining pack and application form but once you have sent this to Aviva, which administers the scheme, Aviva becomes your point of contact.

WGGB does not ensure that broadcasters and production companies are making payments into your plan – it is your responsibility, or that of your agent or representative, to make sure this happens.

The contribution by broadcasters and production companies will depend on who has commissioned you and will be a percentage of your writing fee. The different percentages can be found here.

Yes this should happen. But it is the responsibility of the writer and/or their agent to ensure payments are going into their plan. It is not the responsibility of WGGB and WGGB does not check this is happening. WGGB has no legal responsibility in this regard but if there are ongoing problems that cannot be resolved by the writer and/or their agent, please contact pensions@writersguild.org.uk

There are two ways payments can be made into your WGGB plan – contributions by broadcasters/production companies or contributions by yourself (or both). The maximum total amount that can be paid into your pension each year is set by HMRC and is known as your Annual Allowance.

For the 2018/19 tax year, the Annual Allowance contribution limit is 100% of your net relevant earnings (net profit), or £3,600 if that is greater. So, if your net earnings from writing are £20,000 after tax has been deducted, you can pay a total of £20,000 into your plan. Whatever your income from writing, total contributions must not exceed £40,000 per year. There is no limit on you making contributions greater than your Annual Alliance but if you do a tax charge will apply to the excess.

If your annual net earnings from writing are in excess of £150,000, special conditions apply. Your Annual Allowance will reduce by £1 for every £2 that your net profit exceeds £150,000, up to a maximum reduction of £30,000. This is known as a Tapered Annual Allowance.

If you are over the age of 55 and you have taken advantage of new legislation concerning pension freedoms, if you have entered a Drawdown Policy or Self Invested Personal Pension Plan (SIPP) and have accessed any income from it, you are likely to be affected by the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA), which limits your annual contribution to £4,000 pa. If this applies to you, you should seek independent financial advice about your Annual Allowance from your adviser or your accountant.

Yes, you may be able to take advantage of something known as ‘Carry Forward’. This allows you to make use of any Annual Allowance that you may not have used during the three previous tax years, provided that you were a member of a registered UK pension scheme, and as a member of a Writers’ Guild pension plan, you meet this criterion.

Carry Forward is very useful if you are self-employed and your earnings change significantly each year, or if you’re looking to make a single large contribution into your pension plan.

To use Carry Forward, you should seek professional advice from a chartered accountant or financial adviser, as there are certain other criteria that apply.

Stakeholder pensions are a form of defined contribution personal pension. They have low and flexible minimum contributions, capped charges and a default payment strategy if you don’t want too much choice. They are a very tax-efficient way of saving. For every £80 you or a production company / broadcaster puts into the plan, the Government will add £20 (subject to your Annual Allowance threshold), and you may be eligible for Higher Rate Tax Relief if your net relevant earnings exceed the higher rate threshold (£45,000 in the 2018/19 tax year).

Yes. However, you only need to pay a one-off contribution of £20 to open your plan and after that you are not required to make any contribution, unless you want to. If you want to you can make additional contributions on top of those made by broadcasters / production companies on your behalf.

Legislation introduced in April 2015 means there are lots more choices available and you can be much more flexible about how you use your pension pot – and you can start accessing these options once you reach the age of 55. You can also keep saving into your pension, and receive tax-relief, up to the age of 75 if you wish.

We’ve put together a round-up of the main options available to you.

To be able to contribute to the WGGB pension plan you need to be in receipt of UK earnings. If you have a WGGB pension plan and are planning on moving abroad, if the earnings you receive when you are living abroad continue to be subject to UK Income Tax then you can continue paying into your plan.

If you don’t have UK earnings on moving abroad (ie you’re being paid and taxed overseas), then you will only be able to receive tax relief on personal contributions of up to £3,600 gross per annum for five full tax years following the tax year in which you move abroad.

If you move abroad you need to inform Aviva (see the FAQ below: Where can I get further information and advice?) so that appropriate action can be taken depending on your circumstances. You should also inform Aviva of any subsequent changes in your circumstances, for example, if you move back to the UK.

If you have not received any UK taxable earnings in the past five years, you will not be able to join the Writers’ Guild Group Stakeholder Pension Plan in the first place or contribute to any other UK pension plan.

Aviva administers your pension plan and they should be your first port of call for general information about your plan, valuations on your projected pension pot and your contribution history. Please contact:

Gladys Murphy

Aviva New Business (Pensions) Team
Phone: 0800 151 0477
Email: nbpens@aviva.com

Aviva UK Life, PO Box 520, Norwich, NR1 3WG

Please ensure that you quote your name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, most importantly, your Aviva policy number.

Pension Wise

For information regarding pensions in general and for explaining your retirement options in detail, you can obtain free, impartial guidance from the Government-run Pension Wise website.

Pension Wise also runs a free, impartial phone and face-to-face service. To make an appointment call 0300 330 1001.

Independent financial advisers / accountants

If you don’t have an independent financial adviser or accountant, the Unbiased website has a free, searchable database of 27,000 professionals by location in the UK. It is important to consult a professional when deciding what options to take with your pension pot, or if you want specific advice around your current investment / tax planning.

There are also other savings alternatives on top of pensions that you may want to consider, like Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), property or stocks and shares. All of these have different tax implications depending on you and your family’s circumstances and getting independent advice on what is right for you can save you a lot of money in the long term.

WGGB’s pensions adviser

WGGB’s pensions adviser can provide guidance if you have a query you have not been able to resolve through all of the above options. Please note that the WGGB pensions adviser cannot give individual advice as they are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to do so. You can email him on pensions@writersguild.org.uk

You should be aware that Aviva is not permitted to release information to WGGB or WGGB’s pension adviser unless Aviva has received written permission from you as the pension plan holder first.