Players on a pitch

Pension Scheme

Plan for your future

The Professional Footballers Pension Scheme (“The Scheme”) provides valuable benefits for Registered Contract Players and their dependants during their playing career and after they leave or retire.

The Scheme is administered by Trustees and its assets are completely separate from the Leagues’ normal business and assets. The detailed provisions of the 2011 section are set out in a Trust Deed and Rules, which is available for inspection by Players upon request.

The information provided has been designed to help you learn about the Scheme and make the most of the flexibility it offers.

Contribution and Investment

Contribution

From August 2021 the contribution paid on your behalf into the Scheme will increase to £6,180 per annum, paid in monthly instalments.

 

Investment

Information on Standard Default Investment, Default Alternatives and Value for Members Assessment. 

Standard default investment

Unless specified otherwise (see below), the annual contribution is invested in accordance with the Scheme’s standard default investment strategy. The Scheme’s default investments were reviewed in 2019 and a more modern approach was considered. Investments taking into account Environmental, Social and Governance factors have been included. Legal and General Future World index tracking funds with low charges were added. A leading active diversified growth manager Baillie Gifford was another addition.

A small proportion of the funds is invested in Private Equity, Private Debt, illiquid investments and infrastructure via the Partners Group to take advantage of longer-term opportunities.

The default lifestyle strategy moves money to different risk profiles as members get closer to their normal retirement age of 55 (age 35 for those who joined before April 2006). The Scheme’s guide describing the default investment strategy is here: click here.

The individual fact sheets for the default investment’s component funds are linked below:

Default alternatives

For those who do not want to invest in the standard default, individual fund choices are available so that members can build their own portfolio. A full list of the default alternative funds is available here: click here.

A Shariah fund has also been added as a choice.  This is the HSBC Islamic Global Equity Index Fund which is a passive fund which replicates the Dow Jones Islamic Titans 100 Total Return Index. This index is designed to measure the performance of the largest 100 stocks traded globally that pass screenings for adherence to Shariah investment guidance.

An alternative lifestyle strategy has also been added which is suited for members who intend to take their fund entirely as cash at retirement. 

You should contact the scheme administrator, Broadstone, should you wish to amend your choices for existing or future investments. Broadstone’s contact details are below.

Once these new defaults and choices are bedded in it is anticipated that contributions to other legacy investments will cease by the end of the year and that old legacy funds will be switched to the new funds during 2022.

Value for Members assessment

A Value for Members assessment has been undertaken to review the services for which members bear or share the charges of running the scheme and how these compare to other similar pension schemes. The most recent assessment, which was carried out by Barnett Waddingham in January 2021, concluded that the Scheme’s defined contribution sections ‘represent excellent value for members’ from an absolute perspective and a relative perspective compared to other similar pension schemes. 

pfa notebook

Documents and Downloads

Scheme Downloads

Professional Footballers' Pension Scheme booklets and forms for you to download. 

Booklets

  • Professional Footballers Pension Scheme Booklet > download
  • Announcement to members - January 2011 > download
  • Contribution increase from 1 August 2019 > download
  • Tapered Annual Allowance update > download
  • Tapered Annual Allowance Factsheet – June 2020 > download
  • Annual Allowance leaflet > download
  • Statement of Investment Principles – 2011 Section (September 2020) > download 
  • Statement of Investment Principles – Income Section (September 2020) > download
  • Statement of Investment Principles – Cash Section (September 2020) > download
  • Contribution increase from 1 August 2020 > download
  • 2011 Section Default Investment changes letter 2020 > download
  • 2011 Section Default Investment changes factsheet for members > download
  • 2011 Section Default Investment changes factsheet for IFAs > download

Forms

Announcements

  • Implementation Statement 2020 - Income and 2011 Sections > download
  • Implementation Statement 2020 - Cash Benefit Section > download
  • Chairman's Statement 2020 > download

Investment Fund Fact Sheets


Additional Resources

Additional resources and links we think you may find useful.

  • The Pensions Regulator (TPR) - TPR is responsible for regulating work-based pension schemes. TPR’s codes of practice give practical information about how trustees must meet the legal requirements and set out the standards of conduct and practice expected.
  • Financial Services Authority (FSA) - The FSA is an independent organisation set up by the Government to regulate the financial services industry.
  • The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) - TPAS is an independent non-profit organisation that provides information and guidance on pensions.
  • The Pensions Ombudsman - The Pensions Ombudsman investigates and decides complaints and disputes about the way that pension schemes are run.
  • The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) - The NAPF is the leading UK body providing representation for employer sponsored retirement provision.
  • Pensions Policy Institute - The Pensions Policy Institute is an educational charity which provides non-political, independent comment and analysis on pension policy in the UK.
  • Pensions Management Institute (PMI) services for trustees - several services are available to support trustees in the exercise of their responsibilities as well as two examinations which provide formal recognition of pensions knowledge and understanding.
  • The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) - The PPF was established to pay compensation to members of eligible defined benefit pension schemes when there is a qualifying insolvency event in relation to the employer and where there are insufficient assets in the pension scheme to cover Pension Protection Fund levels of compensation.
  • Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) - The FAS offers financial help to some people who have lost out on their pensions because their occupational pension scheme was under funded when it started to wind-up and their employer has been unable to make up the shortfall because it is insolvent or no longer exists.
  • Local Professional Advice – This website will help you find professional advice in your local area from locating an Independent Financial Advisor, to a solicitor.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - The DWP is responsible for employment, equality, benefits, pensions and child support.
  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) - HMRC was formed following the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise departments. It deals with taxation and National Insurance issues.
  • Workplace Pensions is part of the DWP. It has been set up by the Government to provide information about pensions and other pensioner benefits in the UK.

Scheme History

The Scheme has seen a number of changes over the last few years triggered largely by legislative changes. Prior to 6 April 2006, there were two separate Schemes.

Football League Limited Players’ Non-contributory Cash Benefit Scheme (PBS)

Players were automatically entered into this Scheme which was funded entirely by the transfer levy. The Scheme provided a defined amount of benefit paid as tax free cash at normal retirement age. 

The benefit is based on 3/80ths of final (capped) salary for each year of contracted employment.

The Scheme also provided a life assurance benefit.

Football League Limited Players’ Retirement Income Scheme (FLPRIS)

When this Scheme was set up it was not possible for members of an occupational scheme to also pay into a personal pension arrangement. Thus, FLPRIS created a route for members who wished to make their own pension contributions to supplement the benefits that could be accrued in the Cash Scheme.

As such membership of this Scheme was optional with the resulting benefits being funded by players on a defined contribution basis. Members were able to make investment choices from a wide number of options and eventual benefits were in the form of income and additional cash.

Both Schemes enjoyed a special low retirement age of 35 but there was an earnings cap in place for any members joining after 1989.

Why change then?

There were a number of reasons why the Trustees decided to merge PBS and FLPRIS and form the new Professional Footballers Pension Scheme which were all triggered by the Finance Act 2004 (implemented 6 April 2006). The Act had the following implications:

  • Removed all special low normal retirement ages
  • Limited tax free cash to 25% of the value of benefits
  • Allowed members of occupational schemes to also contribute to other pension arrangements

So as a result of the implications of the Finance Act 2004, the Professional Footballers Pension Scheme was formed as a merger of the two previous schemes from 6 April 2006.
Professional Footballers’ Pension Scheme (or PFPS)

The PFPS had a Cash Section and an Income Section with players being automatically entered into both. As above the Cash section was funded by the transfer levy and the Income section by players’ contributions. Again a wide choice of investments was available in the Income Section.

Similar to the above the Cash Section provided a level of benefit but this only continued to accrue if members contributed at least 3.75% of (capped) basic salary to the Income Section. A minimum level of benefit was also introduced from this time in that members will receive the equivalent of £1,000 for each year of contracted employment with a club, capped at £5,000.

The nature of the benefits changed, however, in that:

  • Any Cash Section benefit accrued prior to 6 April 2006 could still be taken as 100% tax free cash
  • Any Cash Section benefit accrued from 6 April 2006 had to be pooled with the fund available from Income Section with 25% of the total then being allowed as tax free cash

The remaining benefit being taken as income

The retirement age remained as 35 for those who joined prior to 6 April 2006 but increased to 55 for those joining from that date.

Why change again in January 2011?

The Trustees in conjunction with the two Leagues had found that the current Scheme structure was not suiting the needs of members for a number of reasons. There was a low participation in the

Scheme across all income levels and it was felt to be overly complex and difficult for members to understand. A number of different options were looked at to make the scheme more attractive and the benefits fairer to all members. Eventually the 2011 DC Section (including life assurance) was formed from 1 January 2011.

Players are automatically enrolled into the Scheme on signing a new contract and there is an opt-in facility for those on continuing contracts. Players can of course opt-out of the Scheme. The

Scheme is funded by the transfer levy with an amount of £5,820 per player per year being invested in a trustee-designed fund. Members can pay additional contributions with a choice of investments being available.

On retirement, members can take up to 25% of the value of their 2011 Section Benefits as tax free cash. The remaining benefits will be taken as income.