UK: Employee Benefits Review - Spring 2011

Last Updated: 7 February 2011
Article by Peter Maher

Editor's Note

On 9 December 2010 the Treasury issued further draft and updated legislation regarding a number of pension-related matters. A radical shift in pensions thinking, led by confirmation of the removal of the need to purchase an annuity by age 75 years.

The changes to tax relief and the reduction in the annual and lifetime allowance means that the maximum annual tax advantageous contribution is now £50,000 and the maximum lifetime allowance is restricted to £1.5m. However, for those with funds already exceeding £1.5m there is transitional protection such that investors will be able to apply for a 'personal lifetime allowance' provided he/she stops accruing benefits before 6 April 2012.

'Alternatively secured pension' has now been removed and, in a clarification of terminology, 'unsecured income' is now once again known as 'drawdown'. Although the need to annuitise by the age of 75 years has been removed, 75 remains a pivitol year for many of the changes. The key changes include the following.

  • The changes will become effective from April 2011.
  • The level of capped drawdown will be limited to 100% (previously 120%).
  • A tax charge of 55% will apply on death for drawn funds, unless there are no dependants and it is paid to a charity.
  • There will be no tax charge on death for undrawn funds until age 75 years where it will become 55%, unless there are no dependants and is paid to a charity.
  • Pension commencement lump sums (taxfree cash) can be paid at any time after age 55 years even past age 75 years.
  • Where an individual can satisfy the minimum income requirement of £20,000 per annum, he/she may take any level of income from his/her flexible drawdown arrangement. In short, where investors can generate an income of £20,000 per annum from state pensions, lifetime annuity, scheme pension or overseas pension payments they are free to use the balance of their fund broadly as they see fit, in a pensions context that is.

Broadly speaking, the draft legislation delivers what was expected and overall the changes bring welcome clarity to many areas of pension retirement income. Well, that's clear then isn't it?

The Treasury announced its formal proposals for restricting pensions tax relief from April, and it's better news than we were all expecting.

We don't yet have the complete picture, but the main changes proposed by the Treasury for pensions tax relief, which will come into force in April 2011 are set out below.

Annual allowance

The annual allowance will be reduced from £225,000 to £50,000 from 6 April 2011. This applies to everyone, not just high earners.

The method of valuing defined contributions will remain the same: the total of employer and employee contributions to an arrangement, excluding any investment growth.

PENSIONS TAX RELIEF: A SLIGHT SURPRISE

By Peter Maher

The method of valuing defined benefits for annual allowance purposes will be a fixed rate multiplier of 16 – as opposed to the current multiplier of 10 – meaning that a £1,000 increase in annual pension benefit is now treated as being worth £16,000, instead of £10,000. Broadly speaking, annual increases in pension benefits are measured by comparing the value of the pension which would have been payable at the start, and end, of the year. Deferred members will be exempt, and the Government also says that it will include an allowance for revaluation of accrued rights for active members.

In addition, the carve-out from the annual allowance, which currently applies in the year the benefits are taken, is to be abolished, although there will be exemptions for serious (terminal) illhealth and death. There will be further consideration of an exemption for other cases of 'major' ill-health. However, the Government has rejected calls for further exemptions for redundancy or for members claiming enhanced protection.

There will be a new facility so that, where a member does exceed the annual allowance in any given year, unused allowance from up to three previous years will be available to offset against excess pension savings. It is hoped that this will mitigate the risk of members on lower to moderate incomes being caught by oneoff 'spikes' in accrual. Carry-forward will be available against an assumed annual allowance of £50,000 for the tax years 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Any benefits above the annual allowance would not be taxed at a fixed rate, but at a rate tailored to recoup the full marginal rate income tax relief that the member has benefited from.

Lifetime allowance changes

The lifetime allowance, the maximum level of benefits that a member can draw from all registered pension schemes without incurring penal tax charges, is currently set at £1.8m, but is to be reduced to £1.5m.

However, the Government is minded to do this only from 6 April 2012, recognising that before then it needs to consider ways of protecting individuals who have already made saving decisions based on the higher existing level.

Helpfully, the 'trivial commutation lump sum' will be de-linked from the lifetime allowance so that the maximum will remain £18,000, rather than fall to £15,000.

EBTs and EFRBS

The Government has stated that employee benefit trusts (EBT) and employer financed retirement benefit schemes (EFRBS) are to be "no more attractive than other forms of remuneration". The draft legislation for the Finance Bill 2011 is designed to ensure that income tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) on employment income are not avoided or deferred through the use of trusts or other intermediaries, including EBT's and EFRBS. This is in keeping with the changes to the pensions tax regime from April 2011.

The legislation will have effect on and after 6 April 2011 and apply to rewards which are earmarked for an individual employee or otherwise made available on and after that date. In addition, anti-forestalling provisions apply to the payment of sums and the provision of readily convertible assets for the purposes of securing the payment of sums (including loans) where the sum is paid or the asset is provided between 9 December 2010 and 5 April 2011 where, if paid or provided on or after 6 April 2011, they would be caught by the legislation.

Child benefit

The changes in child benefit and its removal for higher rate taxpayers may have a significant effect on a number of employees. A possible solution would be to offer employees salary sacrifice for pension contributions.

A RETURN TO SEVENTIES-STYLE SAVING - THE RESURGENCE OF MIPs

By Stephen Baker

MIPs were popular during the high-tax environment of the 1970s and 80s as an alternative for retirement planning. As we now face a similar climate, perhaps it is time to take another look at these policies?

During a period of high taxation the maximum investment plan (MIP) as a non-controversial savings vehicle could be a valuable addition to the suite of taxfavourable investment products and may help investors manage their affairs in a tax-efficient way.

Broadly speaking, a MIP is a regular savings policy where the investor effectively exchanges his/her tax rate for that of the underlying insurance company. This will typically pay an average rate of tax, i.e. income and CGT combined, of 16% to 18% on the underlying investment funds. With tax rates up to 50% the attractions are clear and the first of a new breed of MIPs is now available.

How do MIPs work?

Under the contract the investor has to pay contributions into the plan for a minimum period of ten years, although after seven and a half years the plan can be encashed with no personal tax liability for the investor. After the ten years the investor is able to gradually draw down the accumulated fund, again with no personal tax liability. This can create a stream of income to help support you in retirement or be used to finance other liabilities such as school fees.

Change afoot

One drawback is that most of the MIPs currently available on the market suffer from 1980s-style charging structures, making them much more expensive than other, modern investment products.

However, some leading insurance providers aim to produce a new product, which will break the mould. The intention is that there will be a suite of underlying investment funds to which the contributions can be linked, run by the major fund management groups such as Fidelity, Invesco Perpetual and Blackrock. As longer-term regular savings arrangements, market timing of investment is less of an issue, and investors could elect to pay contributions monthly to maximise the effects of pound-cost averaging. These arrangements are flexible and could be assigned into trust for the next generation if, ultimately, all or part of the funds are not required.

Could an employer fund a MIP?

Employers could fund a MIP for senior employees should they wish. From a tax point of view this would be tax relievable as a business expense for the employer but the employer would be liable for employer's national insurance. From the employee's point of view this would be treated as taxable under PAYE and subject to employee's national insurance.

The tax situation is clearly not as favourable as a pension but at a time when the ability to make tax relievable pension contributions is being restricted it is an alternative which offers the opportunity to obtain a capital sum, or income at maturity with no tax consequences at maturity.

MANAGING DB PENSION SCHEMES - AN INDEPENDENT APPROACH

By Chris Murray

The closure of most private sector DB schemes presents trustees and employers with problems, including rising costs and less relevance as an employee benefit, but there are ways to reduce costs and improve service.

Due to rising longevity, increasingly rigorous regulations and escalating scheme costs, the majority of private sector defined benefit (DB) pension schemes are no longer admitting new members. However, many are still open to existing members; this impacts on the trustees, employers and members in various ways.

The challenges

Employers and the trustees of DB schemes face increasing servicing and regulation costs and other financial pressures arising from lengthening life expectancy. This problem is especially true for DB schemes of up to £50m.

Many of these schemes were originally set up with various insurance companies, and since then the trustees have transferred the administration and actuarial services to large employee benefit consultancies for administration and actuarial services while the insurance company has retained the funds for investment. Generally, this has led to higher servicing costs and limited investment management.

Furthermore, for some members they are a source of financial concern. They could feel locked into a career with their current employer offering a generous DB scheme, which will probably not be replaced if they change jobs or move to another employer.

Smith & Williamson offers a comprehensive approach to help resolve the issues faced by employers and trustees of DB pension schemes. We bring together individuals from our pension consultancy and investment management disciplines to deliver a complete solution.

Our services

Pension consultancy services

Our team of professionals offers an independent approach, securing administration and actuarial services efficiently and at potentially lower cost to the scheme.

Investment consultancy services

We provide an independent investment consultancy service to bridge the gap between trustees and investment managers. Our active investment advice can help reduce the volatility of a scheme's financial position and potentially improve investment returns.

Working with the trustees and scheme actuary we formulate, establish and review an appropriate investment strategy that reflects the scheme's changing liability profile and the current market conditions and opportunities

We also provide performance measurement and manager review services and regularly report to and meet with investment managers. Our advice is tailored, ongoing and independent, with no conflicts of interest.

Using specialist fund managers for each asset class, rather than one or two fund managers with a generalised approach, provides a multi-asset, multi-manager approach to investment management. This can help to maximise returns for a stated level of investment risk.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HMRC CONCESSIONS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

By Julia Ridger

The five-year grace period that began on 6 April 2006 (A-day) is drawing to a close on 5 April 2011. As either a trustee or employer of an occupational pension scheme, you should ensure you have made the most of these special concessions.

Concessions making it easier to amend schemes in line with the new tax rules that came in to effect on A-day run out in April 2011. Originally, following A-day, the transitional concessions managed two significant changes.

1. Keeping pre-A-day HMRC benefit limits in place for schemes that want some or all of the limits to apply indefinitely.

2. Removing restrictions on scheme alteration powers that require HMRC approval.

The transitional concessions fall away in April and if pre-A-day HMRC benefit limits are not expressly re-incorporated into the scheme rules they will be lost.

Your scheme may have already dealt with this by doing an amending 'A-Day deed'. You should check where your scheme stands. If you have any concerns we can put you in touch with one of our preferred legal advisers to address this issue.

Before A-day, amending a scheme without HMRC approval put its tax exemptions at risk. Some schemes incorporated this requirement as a restriction on their alteration power. Since A-day, approval is neither required nor possible. There was concern that a restriction which could no longer be satisfied would render all future amendments invalid. There is also a question whether an alteration power can be used to amend itself.

Recent regulations allow schemes to remove this restriction before April and you should check whether your amendment power has the restriction or whether it has been removed. If you need help in identifying this please contact us.

Pension deadline extended until 5 April 2016 for refunding pension surplus

Refunding a surplus under a DB scheme may seem highly unlikely to occur now, but who knows what may happen in the future. Surpluses arise under defined contribution (DC) schemes where employer contributions have been retained in the scheme as a result of short service benefit.

The Pensions Act 2004 included a transitional power of alteration to help schemes that might otherwise have lost their power to refund surplus. However, it was drafted very widely and applies to any payments that might be made to an employer, not just refund of surplus (e.g. routine administrative payments such as reimbursement of expenses) and it also applies to schemes in wind up. The pensions community raised these issues with the DWP during last summer.

The DWP has now expressed its intention to amend Section 251. It's not clear how it will be changed but its scope will be narrowed so it doesn't apply to:

  • money purchase schemes (except earmarked schemes)
  • routine administrative payments to an employer
  • schemes in wind up.

Final salary schemes still fall within Section 251 but the deadline for compliance will be extended to 5 April 2016.

Next steps

Direction from the DWP has come rather late in the day since many trustees have already issued notices to employers and members. Should it be the case that you have started the process, we recommend trustees and employers consider the time and expense left to complete the process and possibly finish the task as it will provide certainty to the trustees.

For final salary schemes where trustees have not yet started the communication process, trustees will have the option of complying with Section 251 by 6 April 2016 and we suggest no further action is taken until the amending legislation is passed.

For money purchase schemes, where trustees have not yet started the communication process and for schemes that commenced wind up after 5 April 2006 (final salary or money purchase), where trustees have not yet started the communication process, no action should be taken.

MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR RETIREMENT FUNDS

By Ian Luck

Could you be making your pension money work harder?

When the majority of people were members of DB pension schemes there was no need for them to worry about making the most of accumulated retirement funds, as the scheme and ultimately the sponsoring employer were responsible for delivering the promised benefit.

Today, most people have at least a proportion, if not all, of their pension built up within a DC arrangement, such as a money purchase plan or group personal pension plan. As the only promise made by the employer under such arrangements is the amount of contribution, the onus has switched to the member to try and gain the greatest possible income from those pension funds. This has lead to an ever widening range of investment opportunities as members try to maximise the growth of the fund, but one of the easiest ways of making your pension money work harder is to shop around for your annuity by taking the open market option (OMO). It is therefore somewhat disappointing to find that only 36% of people are taking the OMO at retirement. If you have never heard of the OMO, then read on.

How can the OMO help boost my pension income?

DC arrangements are vehicles which allow members to accumulate funds over the years up to their retirement through a combination of contributions and investment growth. While members have a range of options at retirement, typically they will choose to secure their income for the rest of their lives by purchasing an annuity with the accumulated funds. As members get closer to their selected retirement date the provider will issue details to them of the annuity it is prepared to offer on the funds accumulated. The process is very straightforward and many members just tick the box and take the annuity income quoted.

However, it is not necessary to secure the annuity with the provider used to build up the funds, as the vast majority of DC arrangements give members the right to take an OMO and secure the funds with an annuity provider that is offering better terms. The annuity market is just like any other, with competitive forces and financial capital requirements forcing providers to move their position. This does not just result in marginal advantages – by shopping around at retirement you could achieve an increase in income of some 25%.

Choosing an annuity

There are other issues to consider. When quoting the amount of income available from the accumulated fund the provider often includes only a single life, nonescalating pension as these will show the highest level of initial income. But what if you are married and your spouse has no private means of income? The annuity that pays a pension to your spouse in the event of your death might be worth a lower starting pension payable to you. While non-escalating annuities might be appropriate in the current low inflationary environment, should circumstances change, the buying power of your income may rapidly diminish.

The provider of the annuity and its shape are important factors to consider as it is effectively taking a gamble on your longevity. A huge part of the annuity income represents how long the provider anticipates having to pay the income to you. There has existed for a long time an impaired life annuity market providing higher annuity rates and therefore greater income for those individuals where life expectancy is reduced. For example, if at retirement you are in poor health having previously suffered a heart attack the expectation is that your death will occur earlier than someone in full health. It is likely that the benefits will be paid out for a shorter period and market conditions mean that providers specialising in this market can offer higher rates than those that do not.

As better and more complete data becomes available about the effects that other medical treatment and lifestyle choices have on longevity a few providers have entered the market offering what are known as enhanced annuities. These can often be provided based upon smoking and alcohol intake as well as reliance upon prescription drugs. It has been anticipated that perhaps up to 65% of people taking out annuities might be entitled to an enhanced annuity.

Next steps

So, even at the point of taking the benefits it is potentially not too late to make significant improvements to many people's income, but how should they go about obtaining them? It is possible to find this information online, but we would recommend that the first search that anyone does is for an independent adviser who can help you through the myriad of options that exist, and preferably one that offers a dedicated annuity service.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS – ENHANCED PRODUCTS FOR SMALLER COMPANIES

By Matt Haswell

Group risk is an umbrella term for sponsored employee benefits and includes products such as group life insurance, group income protection and critical illness cover.

The benefits of group risk can be valuable to employees as they provide financial protection for both them and their families, yet they are relatively inexpensive for employers compared with some other components of the typical benefits package. The main features of each type of group risk benefit are as follows:

  • Group life cover is the most common employer sponsored benefit in the UK and is believed to often represent the sole life insurance provision for low to middle income individuals.
  • Group income protection enables an employer to provide a continuing income for employees if illness or injury prevents them from working for a prolonged period of time.
  • Group critical illness cover pays a tax-free lump sum to an employee on the diagnosis of one of a defined list of serious conditions or on undergoing one of a defined list of surgical procedures.

These group products can often be provided by an employer at a considerably lower cost than plans arranged on an individual basis. Enrolling employees into such schemes is generally easy as group schemes often allow members to join, up to a given level of benefit, without having to provide any medical information. This given level of benefit, often referred to as "free cover limit", is affected by a number of factors, including the number of employees joining the scheme

Issues for smaller companies

For larger companies, the economies of scale bring the benefit of competitive premiums and higher free cover levels, such that most employees can be covered without having to provide medical information. However, smaller employers may find that the "free cover limit" is low such that some employees may be asked to provide full medical information. Staff with an adverse medical history may find that this has an impact on their application for these group risk benefits.

Apart from the medical issues, smaller companies may find that they are unable to access favourable terms and conditions and policy features that are granted to larger companies and the cost of the schemes may be higher than those paid by larger employers when compared on a per employee basis.

Our solution

Smith & Williamson Employee Benefit Consultants has secured an arrangement with a leading group risk insurer to provide smaller employers with access to a range of group risk product terms, policy features and service levels that we believe provide terms that may not normally be available to them. This arrangement is available to firms with between 1 and 100 employees.

The benefits

What is offered under this arrangement to eligible employers:

  • Guaranteed minimum free cover level of £500,000 benefit for group life assurance and £60,000 benefit for group income protection scheme for each employee.
  • Cover available within all UK postcodes.
  • Three-year premium rate guarantees at no additional cost.
  • Cover can be extended to age 75.
  • Automatic cover up to the free cover level with previous adverse underwriting ignored (medical loadings or restrictions removed).
  • Once a member is successfully underwritten on group life and group income protection schemes he/she will not be asked to provide further evidence in future years.
  • Free employee assistance programme, supplied by Ceridian, for all schemes.
  • Early intervention and rehabilitation service through a nationwide network of vocational rehabilitation consultants plus access to rehabilitation support telephone line for employers.
  • Dedicated administration and underwriting contacts. Through this small schemes arrangement we want to provide access to a broad, flexible and affordable range of complementary protection solutions.

A LOOK AHEAD AT MANAGED WIND DOWN ACTIVITY

By Peter Maher

Will 2011 be a period of weak activity for managed wind downs and enhanced transfer values?

Funding DB pension schemes can be risky, but there are a number of ways that trustees and sponsors can control these risks. Smith & Williamson has helped a number of schemes through enhanced transfer value, or managed wind down (MWD) exercises, which have resulted in both significant reductions in overall liabilities and much smaller and less volatile residual commitments.

Market developments suggest the period up to April 2012, will witness a resurgence in MWD activity.

What is a managed wind down?

A scheme sponsor offers to enhance the transfers that members can make from a scheme to another approved pension arrangement, for a limited period. These enhancements, if carefully calculated, can be set at levels that are attractive to members who, with professional advice, will view a transfer away from the scheme as financially beneficial.

The fixed cost of the enhancements is attractive to sponsors – it acts as a premium for achieving absolute certainty – as the liabilities in respect of these transferring members are fully discharged. This can often be done at little or no balance sheet cost, relative to the bases used to report liabilities in company accounts.

If carried out properly, very high success rates can be achieved in a way that is positive for sponsors, trustees and members.

The regulator's view

The regulator has made a number of statements over the past couple of years and produced guidance on the management of transfer exercises. The most recent communication was a joint statement with the FSA in which it set out the requirements for independent advice to members.

At Smith & Williamson, we agree with the regulator that any transfer exercises must be carried out with full disclosure to members, with no level of compulsion, and that offers should be entirely pension based, i.e. no cash incentives.

Asset recoveries

MWD activity was high in 2007 and the early part of 2008, but the impact of falling markets into 2009 meant that it was no longer financially viable to carry out such an exercise. Asset values fell, reducing the funds available in schemes. Effectively, a transfer exercise would have meant realising investment losses for a large proportion of the total assets.

In 2010, asset values recovered and trustees are considering moving assets to more secure investments. The impact of the falls have been significantly reduced, and as a result transfer exercises are looking financially viable again.

Availability of cash

Unfortunately, the timing of the reductions in assets and the access to cash resources from sponsors to fund the consequently higher top-ups drying up coincided. In addition, access to bank lending also became much scarcer.

Many businesses have now started to rebuild their balance sheets, and bank lending restrictions have eased somewhat, increasing the scope for funding transfer exercises. Indeed, banks are potentially more likely to offer lending for such an exercise, as a positive result will remove much of the risk of enduring the type of pension funding problems experienced in previous years.

Changes to revaluation from RPI to CPI

The proposals to change the baseline for statutory revaluation of pensions for leavers and pensioners from retail price index (RPI) to consumer price index (CPI) means that for schemes where the rules refer to statutory minimum, rather than an explicit revaluation definition, the liabilities for a group of deferred members might typically reduce by around 15%. Further, the level of enhanced transfer value needed to make the option financially viable to a member might reduce by a similar amount.

Assuming the reductions in both standard and enhanced transfer values, given the scheme assets will be unaffected, the total cost of a transfer exercise might fall by something in the order of 20%-25% making the opportunity that much more valuable.

Potential abolition of transfers to defined contribution schemes

As part of the consultation provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on its plans to implement the policy of abolishing contracting-out for DC schemes, it was proposed that, from April 2012, it would not be possible to transfer benefits from a contracted-out defined benefit arrangement to a defined contribution personal pension – the most common home for an enhanced transfer value.

However, following the consultation period the Government agreed that such action would contradict its overall 'pensions simplification' agenda. Consequently such transfers will continue to be allowed, with safeguards built in.

Summary

Many sponsors completed successful enhanced transfer value exercises up to mid-2008, enjoying significantly reduced risk and volatility in their pension fund through the global economic downturn. Since then, various market conditions have conspired to make further transfer exercises difficult. As we come out of recession through 2011, combined with the implications of legislative changes on revaluation and allowable transfer values, there is likely to be a resurgence in MWD activity over the next 12 months.

NESTs Are Set

By Ian Luck

The Spending Review reveals plan to make pension saving compulsory.

The Spending Review by Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that funding will be available for the launch of the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

The review commented that "the DWP settlement includes funding for the introduction of auto-enrolment from 2012 and the establishment of NEST".

Further details will follow but it is clear the Government supports the plan to make pension saving compulsory.

The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) and the Investment Management Association, whose members stand to benefit from auto-enrolment reform, welcomed the announcement.

From 2012, workers whose employers do not offer a pension fund will join NEST, while companies that already sponsor a pension fund will have to include all new recruits. NEST will take voluntary contributions from 2011.

Tim Jones, NEST's chief executive, said it "is now really taking shape and will be ready to launch in low volumes in 2011".

Workers over 22 earning more than £5,000 are eligible but will be able to opt out of NEST or their corporate pension.

Enrolment and contributions will be phased in between 2012 and 2016, starting with large companies. By 2017 the minimum contribution to NEST will be 8%, including employers' and workers' contributions.

We will look at the introduction of NEST in our next Employee benefits review newsletter.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.