This page, including the Questions and Answers section, is up to date at 31 January 2022. Please see 'Latest update' section below.
We have now closed the Prudential UK Property S1 and S3 funds (the “property fund(s)”). The dates of the fund switches depends on the fund series (S1 or S3) and the type of pension scheme. The dates were:
Our letters to customers in April about the closure showed the applicable plan number and closure date.
For the switches out of the S3 fund that were due on 22 June 2021, we experienced a problem completing these for a small number of policies. This work was completed however and all policies switched out of the S3 fund.
In relation to regular premiums, when the fund was put into deferral with effect from 3 June 2019 any you were paying from that date until the closure date were redirected into the cash fund (unless you informed us to invest these premiums into an alternative fund choice). Any premiums redirected into the cash fund over this period were also due to be switched over to your receiving fund with effect from the closure date.
We experienced some delays in switching these regular premiums out of the cash fund however this work has now been completed. All switches were processed with effect from the fund closure date to ensure customers were not impacted through the delays in completing this work.
Confirmation letters for all switches have been issued. If you’re considering making changes to your plan, or you have any concerns, please call us on 0345 600 0343 - we’re happy to help. From abroad you can phone us on (+) 44 1786 448844. We’re open 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday (apart from bank holidays).
Our decision to close these funds was based on our concern over the large number of withdrawal requests from the underlying fund, the M&G PP UK Property fund, creating pressures to sell properties to fund those withdrawals. These pressures were likely to affect the property funds’ performance over the next five years. The number of withdrawals from the underlying fund also meant it would be unlikely that the deferral on the property funds would be lifted soon.
For these reasons we decided these funds were no longer suitable options within our Workplace Pension fund range, and this meant investments could no longer remain in them. We believe this is the best outcome for our customers’ investments, given the outlook for the property funds.
During December 2020 and January 2021 we wrote to scheme trustees, employers and advisers to provide them with advance notice of the closure so they could carry out any due diligence work they need to do on the appropriateness for their members of the alternative fund we proposed.
We also wrote to all our customers who were invested in the property funds with details of the closure, the fund we or their scheme Trustees proposed moving their investment to, and what the next steps would be. The proposed fund was not another property fund.
Throughout the closure process this page has been regularly reviewed and updated.
From 3 June 2019, some types of withdrawals from the property funds had been deferred. This followed the underlying fund, which the property funds invested in, going into deferral due to liquidity pressures.
After further consideration, from 1 September 2019, and backdated to 3 June, we also decided not to accept new contributions into the property fund and reallocated any regular contributions to the Prudential Cash fund (the “cash fund”). This meant that any regular contributions after 3 June 2019 were not subject to the deferrals that were in place on withdrawals from the property funds.
We wrote to our customers invested in the property funds when the restrictions were introduced, explaining what these meant for them and their investment.
In light of general market conditions in 2020 and unconnected to the deferral, the material uncertainty clause was subsequently applied to the unit prices of the underlying fund. This clause was removed in September 2020.
When a fund goes into deferral it does this to protect customers remaining in the fund and to ensure the value of the underlying assets within the fund are managed appropriately. We’ve seen periods in the past where the fund has been deferred for a short period of time and then re-opened once these pressures were alleviated.
On this occasion the deferral was prolonged due to a large number of withdrawal requests in the underlying fund creating more significant pressures, and affecting the performance outlook for the next five years. As the situation developed we considered that the impact of these pressures meant a decision on the longer-term suitability of these funds in our Workplace Pension fund range was required.
Although we decided to close the fund some time before May/June 2021, the impact of the Coronavirus situation and the ongoing deferral impacted our ability to deliver this closure sooner. We aim to implement changes like this in a timely manner, and as such we will make sure customers are no worse off for any delay beyond what we feel is reasonable.
We had concerns over the increase in charges to our customers associated with accessing an alternative property fund. In addition, in our view the cost to a customer of moving their investment from one property fund to another would have been prohibitively high and wouldn’t have represented good value for money.
M&G reopened the M&G Property Portfolio on 10 May 2021. That fund is separate from the underlying fund used by the Prudential UK Property S1 and S3 funds - the M&G Pooled Pensions UK Property Fund (PPLP). This fund had faced pressures to sell properties to fund a large number of withdrawal requests and had been in deferral for a prolonged period of time. We therefore decided the funds were no longer suitable options within our Workplace Pension fund range.
Yes, there were other costs. While there is no switch charge for moving investments, there are other costs linked to this type of change. These can be broken down into two types:
Where we proposed investments be moved to Prudential Dynamic Growth I fund (PDGI) we estimated that these combined costs could be the equivalent of a one-off amount of approximately 0.5% of your investment in the property fund (£5 of every £1,000 invested). This cost would have been different where investments were moved to a different fund. It’s important to note that this cost isn’t an amount that is deducted from your investment but is incorporated in the price we buy and sell units at.
We provided actual transition cost figures in our property fund switch confirmation letters issued last year.
We didn’t apply any charges outside of those already mentioned. That means we used all of your investment in the property fund to buy units in the fund(s) that investment was being moved to. We sold the units in the property fund at the market price on the closure date and bought units in the fund(s) the investment was being moved to at the price offered by the fund manager at that time. As different funds have different prices the number of units bought will also be different to the number you held in the property fund.
Yes, it has been applied and confirmation letters have been issued. We took the number of units that you had in the cash fund through reallocated contributions, and checked what the value of these units was at the closure date.
When applying the guarantee, where necessary we added units to your plan to make sure that the value of the reallocated contributions is the greater of:
The number of units you had in the cash fund may have been reduced during the reallocation period if any withdrawals were made – this includes any withdrawals to cover Ongoing Adviser Charges or Policy Charges where appropriate. The guarantee will be applied to the unit values after these withdrawals.
This guarantee ended when the property fund closed.
The value of your pension pot depends on the performance of the funds you invest in. Your new fund could perform in a different way to the old fund. No-one knows how funds will perform, so it’s hard to say what this change means for your savings longer term.
Please remember that the value of any investment can go down as well as up so you might get back less than you put in.
Based on what we charge now, PDGI’s annual management charge (AMC) is not more than that of the property fund. You can find information on PDGI’s further costs and charges in our letter sent to affected customers ahead of the closure. If you selected an alternative fund(s) please bear in mind the AMC of those fund(s) may be higher than that of the property fund.
Please also note that charges might change in the future.
Your fund guide, which sets out all the funds available to you along with the further costs and charges noted in our letter, was updated on or around 22 June with PDGI being added if required and the property fund being removed.
We are sorry if this has caused you issues. The URL is a mix of lower and upper case characters, and is case sensitive. This means it needs to be typed into your browser exactly as shown in your letter in order to locate the correct fund guide for your plan.
We review, and update where necessary, the ‘Further Costs’ figures on an annual basis. When we sent out our closure letters we were in the midst of updating our fund guides with these revised figures. This meant some fund guides had been revised (those showing a revision date on their back page of “04/2021” or later) while others were still to be updated.
All our fund guides have now been updated with the latest ‘Further Costs’ figures added, PDGI added if it is new to your plan and the property fund removed.
We didn’t accept regular contributions into the property funds while the restriction was in place. Instead, to allow continuity of investment, any regular contributions that would have been invested in the S3 property fund were invested into either the Cash S3 fund or an alternative fund(s) of your choice.
The value of contributions reallocated to the cash fund were to be, with effect from the date noted in the letter to you about the closure, moved to either the fund proposed in that letter or an alternative fund(s) you chose.
The cash fund has the lowest level of risk of any of the alternative funds available, and is defined as the default fund to be used under a fund restriction scenario. Additionally, we applied the guarantee noted in question 5 to ensure no-one suffered any financial detriment as a result of reallocating their regular contributions to cash.
The guarantee noted above in question 5 ensured no-one suffered any financial detriment as the result of reallocating their regular contributions to cash.
There was no charge.
No – the reallocation of contributions was to protect regular contributions made since 3 June 2019. The restriction on the property funds, and not allowing switches out at that time, was to protect the long-term interests of investors in the funds.
All requests were processed either at the end of their six month deferral period or with effect from the applicable closure date, whichever was sooner. We wrote to customers beforehand to check that they still wished to proceed with the request.
We announced a deferral on some types of withdrawals from the Workplace Pensions Prudential UK Property S1 & S3 funds. We also decided to stop accepting new contributions into the funds.
This was done as the manager of the underlying fund, the M&G PP UK Property fund, needed to sell some of the property the fund owned, so that payments could be made to customers. Occasionally we, along with the fund manager, put withdrawal requests on hold for our property funds which enables the manager to get the best price it can for property it is selling within the underlying fund.
This is a normal part of how a property fund works, and doing this helped the manager protect the value of the fund for everyone invested in it.
The general market conditions since that announcement, especially in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, meant the fund manager was unable to sell sufficient properties to enable the underlying fund to come out of deferral.
The unit prices for the Prudential UK Property S1 and S3 funds were linked to the value of the property assets of the underlying fund, the M&G PP UK Property fund (which in earlier updates to this page we referred to by another name we use internally, the “PPL Property fund”). Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, independent valuers in the market had found it increasingly difficult to accurately value properties held by commercial property funds. As a result a material uncertainty clause was invoked.
The general lack of market activity meant there were few similar properties with which to compare valuations. There were also issues with assessing how secure rental income from tenants may be, both now and in the future. These issues can create uncertainty in the overall fund valuation and therefore also affect fund prices.
As previously advised, the clause was lifted in September 2020.