28 thoughts on “Pension survey launched

  1. Disgusted. AXA have sunk to an all-time low. If I ever see AXA on a “best compsnies to work for” list I’ll know it’s a fix. AXA can no longer make any claims about being the preferred company – wages below market, erosion of historical benefits, lack of proper consultation…just a race to the bottom.

  2. I am especially annoyed at the personal illustrations the company has sent out. These assume a 3% pay rise for the remainder of employment, and a 7% return on investment. Both of these assumptions seem incredibly unlikely, but they have given inflated projections that will make the proposed changes seem far less severe at first glance. I suspect many people will be ‘fooled’ by their personal illustrations and conclude that the changes are not so drastic. In any other context this would be another mis-selling scandal waiting to happen. But I fear the company will get away with this and never be called to account when employees’ pensions fail to meet their expectations in years to come.
    I appreciate this is the nature of DC pensions, but I think a range of illustrations – using different rates – would have been more useful.

  3. not happy about this we should be compensated like other companies who withdrew there defined benefit scheme

  4. I do find it appalling that a Company like AXA have not even entertained other options -why do they not find out what we are willing to assist in plugging the gap as increased retirement age extra contributions etc-just to say they are closing it without any formal discussions does not feel like Fair play and treating employees fairly. They should consider all options and if the figures still do not plug this gap then compensation and a two year deferral period would be more ethical.
    I would like to know how its got to such a big deficit?

  5. While this is a consultation period, and while we are being consulted, the DB pension will end on 31st July. I believe that the company thinks that by telling us there is a £1bn hole in the fund and that by keeping the fund going it could bring the company down, I immediately question the reasons for the hole in the fund. Was it Pensions Holidays?, Was it bad advice from the actuaries that reviewed the fund? Why in 2008 was there not the same emphasis on the future potential deficit (which was at £600m at the time) as a result of a stock market and asset value reduction, it was already happening then! Why was there not more money put into the fund at that time, and have the company put the same proportions of contributions into this fund throughout it’s history, or is the problem as a result of under funding during the years of stock market growth. We are always told stock markets go up as well as down. Why couldn’t the company taken its own advice? Being told we should be grateful for having this pension fund for as long as we did just twists the knife in the wound.
    The side effect of the changes though is the losing of early retirement benefits, so this makes long serving employees cheaper to make redundant. Employees nearing 50 and those already there beware, redundancies next!
    Long serving employees are not considered a benefit to AXA. They are considered a financial liability, they are at the top of the pay scales, and are viewed as blocking younger and cheaper employees from doing the same job, and they used to be a liability due to the DB pension scheme. One problem solved, nest to get rid of the long serving staff.

  6. My plan has always been to stay with the company until I retire, at which time I will have completed 40 years service. The main reason behind this decision was my DB pension plan. I now feel betrayed!

  7. I feel very let down and scared about my financial position when I Retire now. After paying in to the scheme with an agreed financial agreement at retirement if i continue with my side of the agreement, I now find myself in a position that AXA has put me in without any advice or guidance, unsure what to do and again very nervous.

  8. I feel AXA should honour my original terms when I was first employed by them. So much has been taken away over the years which you can accept and understand. This however is a different kettle of fish.

    I do not want my DB Pension Scheme to be closed.

    It seems unfair to me that AXA have taken this approach.
    Whilst I understand and accept the issues in terms of the negative costs that the Pension scheme is faced with, this was not my fault. For AXA to offer no compensation for this closure seems unbelievable to me as overall they have been a fair company over the years. I personally think its a a clever management move to play hardball initially and then we end up settling at something in between what we want/deserve and what management want. That way they get a result and we lose – but not as much as we first thought.

    The scheme has been closed to new members for several years now and alot of staff who are in the DB scheme have left now or recently been made redundant. The company will be making significant savings in the future since it changed from being an old life model company to a new wealth mgmt company. New business inflows appear positive at the moment so dont see the need to remove the scheme.

    My outlook on life is to be treated fair – this isn’t the case this time.

    Come on AXA – dont lose the core values now !

  9. I think it is disgusting that Axa have done this especially as the majority of people it will affect are long serving employees. Also as per usual Axa are not like other companies who are doing the same thing. Those companies are at least offering some form of compensation to their employees. Not so with Axa its just this is happening like it or lump it. So much for rewarding loyal long serving workers.

  10. I think that it’s unfair & that after changing the scheme to a contributory one & also extending the retirement age in the recent past I am presented with a solution that will cost me more but provide less benefit on retirement.
    With only 5 years left to retirement I don’t have much opportunity to reduce the shortfall.
    How realistic is the projected 7% growth rate ? If I had been in a DC for a number of years I would probably be looking at putting little or no risk on my pension pot during the last 5 years.

  11. I am disgusted that the DB pension is being taken away without even entertaining other options or offering some form of comphensation to its members. As with myself the majority of employees in the scheme are long serving members of AXA and this is how AXA reward loyalty?? What happened to the AXA values??

  12. AXA again have “done the dirty” on their long standing staff. This won’t happen in Europe, they look after their staff.

    Having spoken to some of our european colleagues, they reckon AXA would be taken to court for Breach of Contract.

    They appear to value their staff a lot more highly than UK.

    As I previously said, if it wasn’t for us AXA wouldn’t be where they are today

    I am absolutely disgusted that a large Company like AXA can treat their staff like this and think they can get away with it.

    COME ON UNITE FIGHT FOR US

    We don’t even represent a quarter of the work force. If there is a deficit in the pension fund, it’s not our fault.

    Is it down to bad fund management?

    We deserve to be compensated
    or keep the fund going

  13. Axa seem to want to rush this through as quick as they can………I wonder why????
    As a 53 year old with 25 years service I now feel cheated out of the reasonably comfortable retirement that was promised, but equally as important is the uncertainty regarding early retirement/redundancy .
    Why could they not give reasonable notice ie 2 to 5 years ,this would give staff time to look at their options and get used to the idea that they are going to be considerably worse off in retirement, but the way it has been done is shocking and lacks any sympathy to staff whatsoever.

  14. Not a very good advert for the company is it. As a Financial Company they are saying that they can’t and don’t want too actually manage their own pension fund for their own staff. They expect loyalty from their staff to them, but don’t feel the need to do the same. How can they expect the staff to help the company grow if they are always looking to undercut the staff benefits. They are not adhering to their own AXA Values, so why should the staff.

  15. Disgusted especially when hearing that no compensation or alternatives appear to have been considered. If this is not about money, why are existing long serving employees being made to suffer? Why did AXA take huge sums out of the pension scheme around the time of Guardian/AXA merger?
    I fail to see how AXA can say that they value staff when they take this action without, it would appear, proper consultation. Seems very much a done deal.

  16. Looks to me that AXA can’t take another pension holiday and are resorting to the low of forcing AXA employees to pay towards the upkeep of our own pension pot.
    I agree with a previous comment directed at the personal illustrations the company has sent out. Lets have a illustration based on the average of the previous 5 years which are fact driven rather than one that makes the wrong assumptions which makes for better looking stats?

  17. Absolutley disgusted with AXA, after 34 years service i do not expect to be treated this way,oportunities have arisen over the years for a better career elsewhere but the promise of a decent pension and benefits package has kept me loyal to this company,this is how they repay that loyalty,disgraceful.

  18. I am 44 years old and have been with the company 17 years, over the years I have seen some of the AXA benefits taken away from us and now with this pension saga looming over us this is just another hit below the belt.
    looking at the facts I will have to work an extra 5 years and I just wonder what sort of quality of life I will have to enjoy my retirment when I am finally able to retire, also will I be able to afford to enjoy this final part of my life with my family.
    The staff seem to give there all to the company but what are we getting back ? just more cuts.

  19. I joined Axa just before they changed the rules and I have the option of joining the DB pension after 10 years service – on August 11th! I didn’t get an illustration but, then, I don’t need one – I will lose 100% of any DB pension that I may have accrued in the coming years.

    I have put some AVCs into my current Money Purchase pension but I would have put substantially more into it had I known (or, indeed, had any inkling) that the DB pension would be closed.

    Bring on the Scope survey and pass me my angry keyboard. “Would you recommend Axa products?”, “Are you proud to work for Axa?” Hmmmm?

  20. I think it would be helpful if AXA would fund the cost of providing indepnedent financial advise for those affected. This would then allow us to consider the impacts on a personal level.

  21. AXA Redefining standards!! what a joke, not for the better of staff. More like a sweat shop with no benefits.

    Long serving employees seem to be considered a financial liability, they are at the top of the pay scales, and are viewed as blocking younger and cheaper employees from doing the same jobs with less benefits which are not as much of a financial liability to AXA.

  22. So we are told that we have to have a pension and invest not only our money but our trust in the pension experts to invest mine and AXA’s money. I recognise we are in difficult financial times but come on guys, someone needs to be made accountable for the continued losses and deficit in the pot, plus an explanation…it really smacks of mis-management.

  23. What are the true reasons for the urgency of this?
    It is very dissapointing that no other options are even being considered such as compensation etc. The years of dedicated service by many people just seems to have been ignored and a benefit that many were relying on and that maybe kept them loyal is now being potentially taken away with a massive impact on people lives and futures. It shouldn’t be allowed. Unfortunately it probably is allowed but then you would hope a sense of morals would kick in!

  24. Even though I am being made redundant by AXA-Tech….and therefore my pension will be frozen anyway…. I am utterly appalled at what AXA are planning to do!!!

    Along with many long serving staff….26 years of my life I have given to AXA….what do AXA give back…??? CUTS AND MORE CUTS!!!! Loyalty and hard work seems to count for nothing!!! SHAMEFUL!!!!

    I’ve actively encouraged friends and colleagues to come and work for AXA…..will I be doing that in the future?!?!? NO!!!!!!!!!

    DO THE DECENT THING AXA AND STAND BY YOUR LOYAL STAFF!!!!!

  25. Consultation period – that implies a two way conversation. This is not a consultation but a fait accompli as the decision to shut the pension scheme has already been taken. What a dreadful way to treat loyal, hardworking, dedicated people.

  26. A total betrayal of trust to a long suffering core of loyal employees.

    Aside from the emotive points eloquently described by colleagues on Our Space a number of questions:

    How much did AXA take from the GRE pension fund or benefit from by taking paymnent holidays in the good years?
    Has this been factored in or adequately explained?
    Can we have visibilty on this point?
    Is the removal of the right to take an unreduced pension if made redundant at 50 part of our redundancy terms?
    Is the dropping of this redundancy right legal?

  27. Shame on you AXA and a complete betrayal by the Company and the Executives that currently run it. The complete lack of ‘consultation’ options suggests that Paul Evans and the AXA Executives simply no longer care about the staff affected.

    Devastated is an understatement and such a proposal no longer makes AXA a preferred employer of choice for me. Having given years of unreserved loyalty and dedication, if the outcome results in the DB scheme closing then AXA will see my devotion diminish in the very same way.

    If the Union and its members decide to roll over and do nothing, I for one will be withdrawing my union membership as there is no greater benefit worth fighting for in my opinion.

    I simply can’t accept that nobody is in some way accountable for what has turned out to be a BADLY run company pension yet AXA Execs are not even interested in compensating those affected.

    @AXA Exec’s: Think Again, Think Again, Think Again!

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