pension jar

WGGB pension scheme: notice of changes

One of the greatest achievements of WGGB, way back in the 1960s and 1970s, was the establishment of a pension scheme for freelance, self-employed screenwriters. It was instigated by Roy Russell, a WGGB pioneer.

In those days a pension was linked to an employer. The idea that self-employed writers could have a pension was revolutionary. The idea that you could have a pension scheme without regular, identical monthly payments, had hardly been imagined.

But Roy Russell and his colleagues wouldn’t take No for an answer, and they set up a scheme that has served WGGB members well ever since.

The BBC, ITV, and later independent producers, all agreed to make pension contributions over and above the writer’s basic fee, and that system continues to the present day.

However, recent Government regulations have made it impossible to carry on as before as the Government has banned commission payments to our old advisers JLT and WGGB cannot bear this additional cost.

Without going into legalistic details, it means that the WGGB can no longer benefit from an advice and administrative service that costed nothing to our members. Therefore we have had to change our arrangements, however reluctantly.

If you are a member of the WGGB pension scheme, you may be in the original Group SERA scheme, which has valuable pension conversion rates (called Guaranteed Annuity Rates) which will be lost if you transfer out or cash it in. Or, if you joined since 1988, you will hold either an individual pension or stakeholder plan, that is associated with the WGGB because your entitlement to pension contributions depends on your WGGB membership.

All WGGB pension schemes are now under the umbrella of Aviva, one of the country’s biggest financial companies. The following now applies:

  • If you are a current pensioner and you have an issue about your pension, if you want to make plans to draw your pension, or if you are unsure about payments into your pension plan, or the way the plan is working, please call the Aviva New Business (Pensions) Team on 0800 151 0477 or email
  • When contacting Aviva, please state you are a member of the WGGB and, most importantly, quote your Aviva policy number. If you can’t find your policy number please contact
  • If you feel you haven’t had good enough service from Aviva, please contact We can take your case to a higher level within Aviva or, if you are still not satisfied, WGGB can refer your case to our pension adviser John Adams, who has decades of familiarity with the WGGB pension, and he will try to assist.

If you write for TV, radio or a film producer in the UK that is subject to our PACT agreement, and you want to join the pension scheme, please contact and we will send you an electronic joining pack.

Pensions jar photo: Shutterstock/vinnstock