The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched an online pension calculator to help 200,000 Armed Forces personnel make the choice whether to remain in their existing pension scheme or move to a new scheme.
There are currently two Armed Forces pension schemes for members of the Regular Armed Forces. The first (AFPS 75) was introduced in 1975 and was closed to new entrants from April 2005.
The new scheme (AFPS 05) was introduced for new entrants and members of AFPS 75 are being given the opportunity to transfer on 6 April 2006.
During the offer to transfer (OTT) process, the MoD wanted to ensure that personnel were given as much assistance as possible in making their pension transfer decision.
As well as a comprehensive OTT pack containing a personal benefits statement, extensive literature about the process and the two pension schemes, the MoD developed a comprehensive web-based information package containing downloadable pension booklets and a comprehensive Q&A section.
The MoD also contracted Thomsons Online Benefits to design a web-based pension calculator, which would help this decision-making process.
By following a series of questions, and using drop-down menus, the calculator enables Armed Forces personnel to compare benefits under AFPS 75 and AFPS 05, based on different views of their future rank, pay rate and leaving date.
Although it has only been online for just four months, the calculator results page has been accessed more than 180,000 times.
Chris Bruce, director of marketing and technology at Thomsons Online Benefits, said: “The success of the pension calculator demonstrates how technology can be used as a tool to help people make difficult decisions about their pension and retirement.”