Back before Christmas, we asked for your help in
identifying people in other European countries
who could help us find out how HP pensioners are
faring where they live.
We also asked for members who are not
ex-Digital, and who believe that they have a
pension problem, to write in so that we could
help them get in contact with others who are in
a similar situation.
Well, we met some really outstanding people all
over Europe, who were very pleased to help their
old colleagues in the UK.
As we expected, a lot of countries have pensions
which are more or less controlled by the
government, and the consensus is that this is a
pretty good situation to be in.
Several countries, Holland, Germany, Switzerland
and Ireland have pension schemes which are
approximately the same as the UK.
The Dutch model has been in the news lately, as
something that the UK government is looking at.
It is very much a swings-and-roundabouts scheme
in that when the fund is overfunded (because the
stock markets are doing well) to, say, 125%,
then pensioners get full inflation increases.
When the fund drops below around 105%, then
pensioners can expect their pensions to actually
reduce. The Dutch pensioners have not received
increases for some time, and HP is casting an
eye on the existing scheme, and people there are
nervous about some changes mooted for them this
The German situation is a very mixed bag. A lot
of German employees left Digital and joined
other companies, taking their pension rights
with them. Those companies have not necessarily
been careful and there is some anguish showing.
The people who stayed in the Digital scheme are
receiving increases, every 3 years or so, but
inflation is very low, so the rises are not
The Swiss scheme has not paid increases
recently, and the “trustees” are working hard to
get the fund back into the black. Once again,
inflation is very low there.
Ireland is a stand-alone situation, where full
inflation increases are being given.
What does come over strongly, though, is that
all countries have a clear and transparent
Pension Review process – except the UK.
For the conspiracy theorists among you, just
google HP Golden Circle and you will see an
article which gives an indication of the power
Palo Alto now has over the pension schemes
across the world. We were told that at least one
person in the UK is part of the Golden Circle.
Back in the UK, things are
moving on - Ian Young has a case with the
Ombudsman, and he had this to say:
“I do have a case with the Pensions Ombudsman,
and it has been accepted for jurisdiction
purposes. Investigation of the complaint is
underway, and I will let you know when it has
been concluded. I have asked the PO to
investigate HP’s interpretation of Discretion as
it applies to my pension, and to assess the
Pensions Review process in the UK. I am not
allowed to share any information which is
revealed as a result of the investigation.”
Clearly we cannot enter into any discussion on
this matter, but if anyone would like any
guidance on approaching the Ombudsman, we would
be please to help. Anyone considering this
course of action has to be prepared to “hang in
there” because The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS),
and the Ombudsman (PO) are very busy.
Increases Court Case
Also in the UK, some of you may remember
a case which started back in 2010 –
David Good vs Hewlett-Packard. It
concerned the payment of increases to
in-plan AVC rights after 1997. The case
was settled late in 2013 and all pension
scheme members with those rights should
have been contacted by the Trustees. The
settlement was (in short) that those
pension rights should attract increases
of 70% of RPI between 1997 and 2006. HP
wanted to pay nothing.
HPPA put David Good’s legal team in
touch with a considerable number of
people who could be potential witnesses,
and he has expressed his appreciation.
So, many thanks again for all the help you have
given and, when there is news, we will tell you.
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AVC Increases Court Case
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Ian, Scott and Steve continue to work
for the benefit of retirees and members
of the HP pension schemes and if you
would like to help or have any ideas on
what we should be doing please contact
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