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Frequently asked questions

Automatic enrolment

I think I'm eligible to be automatically enrolled and have my employer make a minimum contribution, but they haven't. What should I do?
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You may want to contact the Pensions Regulator (TPR). It can tell you whether or not your employer has to comply with the pension reforms at this point in time.

You could also contact the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) which gives free and independent information to members of the public on all pension matters. This covers state, company, personal and stakeholder schemes.

I’ve been automatically enrolled but I don’t want to save for my retirement. Can I opt out?
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Yes you can, but you should think very carefully before you do. The Basic State Pension is designed to provide you with enough to cover only the basics when you retire.

Putting money away through a workplace pension scheme like NEST makes sense. This is because as well as the tax relief you’ll get on your contributions, your employer may also contribute to your retirement pot.

Ill health and death

What happens if I become seriously ill before I'm due to take my money out of NEST?
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You may be able to take your money out of NEST before you're aged 55 if you're ill. If you're seriously ill, you may be able to take your entire pot as tax-free cash.

What happens if I become seriously ill before I take my money out of NEST?
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If you're very ill and are unlikely to be well enough to work again, then you may be able to start taking your pension earlier.

What happens if I die before I get to spend my retirement pot?
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Normally, your retirement pot will be given to the person or number of people you want to receive it should you die. You can let us know who this is when you join NEST.

What happens if I die soon after I buy a retirement income?
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Your retirement income product will give you an income for as long as you live, no matter how long this is.  No more money will be paid after you die unless you've purchased a type of retirement income that offers this.

Saving with NEST

Can you move money into NEST from another pension scheme?
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You can only transfer money into NEST if:

  • a court has awarded you a share of an ex-spouse or civil partner’s retirement pot in a divorce or at the end of a civil partnership.
  • you've spent more than three months but less than two years saving in a workplace pension that's an occupational scheme.
Can my partner pay into NEST on my behalf?
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Yes they can. We can accept contributions made by any third party to your retirement pot on your behalf.

Your partner’s contributions should be paid from a UK bank account and can be paid via debit card but not by Direct Debit or direct credit.

Their payments will count towards your annual contribution limit.

Do you offer the lowest fees on the market out of all pension schemes?
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Probably not, but the very lowest fees tend to be offered to higher earners in large companies.

People who aren't higher earners or work for smaller companies tend to be charged more. We're confident that NEST is low cost compared to the sorts of fees our target market would have to pay to other pension providers.

I get paid by the hour and my income varies. How do I know if I’ve contributed enough or too much?
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Your employer will check at the end of every year that you're on track to contribute the right amount. They'll let you know if you need to do anything.

What happens if I don't want to invest in NEST Retirement Date Funds?
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We offer a carefully selected range of other funds for members who want to have a say in where we invest their money.

What happens if I have more than one job? How do I work out what my employers and I should be contributing?
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For each job you have, your employer will need to contribute at least the minimum required to comply with the law. If this means that more than NEST's annual contribution limit (see notes below) ends up being contributed as a result, we'll still accept it, so you don't need to worry about this.

Notes - £4,500 for the 2013/14 tax year. This figure will be adjusted annually in line with average earnings.

What happens if I would like a Sharia-compliant fund?
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NEST offers a Sharia-compliant fund.

What happens if my retirement pot goes down in value?
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It’s normal when investing for the long term for your funds to go up and down along the way. The aim of saving in a pension scheme is to make your money grow in the long term. NEST’s investment experts aim to take the appropriate amount of risk when investing members’ pots throughout your time saving with NEST.

What happens to the money I save in NEST?
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Your money will be invested. This means that NEST aims to get a better return on your money than if you put it in a bank account, for example.

What is the annual contribution limit?
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The annual contribution limit is the maximum that can be added to your retirement pot in one year. This includes contributions from you and your employers as well as tax relief from the government. It's £4,500 for the 2013/14 tax year. (see notes below)

Notes - This figure will be adjusted annually in line with average earnings.

Taking money out

How do I get my identification certified?
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You will need to take your original identification and a copy to someone from one of the professions listed below. That person then needs to write or stamp their name, profession, address and telephone number on the copy. They must also write the statement ‘I certify this is a true copy of the original’.

  • Chartered accountant
  • Bank or building society official
  • Barrister
  • Chemist/pharmacist
  • Clergy or Clerk of Holy Orders
  • Commissioner of oaths
  • Dentist 
  • Doctor
  • Fire service official
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Member of Parliament
  • Nurse
  • Paramedic
  • Police officer
  • Post Office official
  • Solicitor

If the documents you send are not correctly certified, we can’t complete your request to take your money out and your paperwork will be sent back to you.

How do I get the most from my retirement income?
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At NEST we help you to get a range of quotes from a number of retirement income providers through our Retirement Panel. You are also free to shop around on the open market.

What happens if I don’t want to buy a retirement income product from NEST’s panel of providers?
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We provide all our members with guidance to help them decide on what's likely to be the most appropriate type of product to buy.

If you don't want to buy a product from any of the providers on our panel we'll aim to make it as easy as we can for you to buy a product from another provider.

What happens if I really need the cash in my retirement pot before I retire?
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Normally you won’t be able to use your retirement pot until age 55, even if you do have a financial emergency.


To cope with life’s unexpected costs you might want to consider building up a cash fund you can access easily.

NEST has asked me to certify my identification. What does that mean?
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It means providing copy of your passport, driving licence or birth certificate that’s been signed by someone in a particular profession. Depending on the circumstances other forms of identification may be required.

We need someone to sign it because we need to see that the copy you’ve sent has been checked against the original document and your identity has been confirmed in person. This needs to be done by someone from a defined list of responsible professions accessible to the public.

This is a security measure to prevent someone else pretending to be you and accessing your money.

Tax relief

How do I know if I'm eligible for tax relief?
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At the moment, you're generally eligible for tax relief if you're under the age of 75 and meet one of the following requirements:

  • you are resident in the UK
  • you pay UK income tax
  • you have paid UK income tax during any one of the five tax years before the current one

You can get more information on qualifying for tax relief by visiting the HMRC website

 

How does tax relief affect the final value of my retirement pot?
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Because employers and NEST members both pay a minimum contribution, your retirement pot's final value won't be affected, even if you're not eligible for tax relief.

If you're not eligible, you'll still have money going into your pot from your employer, as well as your own contributions.

If your employer chooses NEST now, the total minimum contribution is 2 per cent of your qualifying earnings.

Of this, your employer must pay 1 per cent. The other 1 per cent comes from you and from tax relief.

If you're not eligible for tax relief, then you pay the 1 per cent yourself.

Once again, it's worth remembering that your employer could contribute more than the minimum if they want to.

What difference will tax relief make to my contributions?
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If you're eligible, NEST will claim tax relief on your contributions and add it to your pot.

The basic rate of tax relief is 20 per cent. So, if your minimum contribution is £100, you'll pay in £80 and you'll also get another £20 in the form of tax relief.

In total £100 will go into your pot.

If you're not eligible for tax relief, then you'll pay your whole minimum contribution, but there will be no tax relief money.

In the example above, you would pay £100 unless your employer chooses to top up your contribution by paying extra for you.

What kind of information is NEST able to give me about tax relief?
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This FAQ answers some of the frequently asked questions about tax relief when saving with NEST. This is based on our understanding of tax legislation and HMRC guidance at the time of publication. However it's your responsibility to make sure you comply with current tax regulations.

What should I do if my eligibility for tax relief changes?
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When you first join NEST, we'll send you a welcome letter telling you whether we believe you're eligible for tax relief or not. This is based on information from your employer or if you're self-employed, the information you gave us.

If this information is correct you don't need to do anything.

However, if you think the information in the letter is wrong, you need to let NEST know within 30 days.

During your time saving with NEST, if you think your eligibility for tax relief has changed at any point, you need to let us know. You also need to let your current employer know, if they are contributing to NEST.

Your eligibility could change due to an event, for example, having not paid UK tax for more than five years, which would mean you're no longer eligible.

You need to let us know by whichever of the following dates happens later:

  • 30 days after your eligibility has changed
  • by 5th April of the tax year in which the event occurs.

It's easy to let us know by logging in online and following the steps on screen. If you prefer, you can let us know in writing.

Where can I get the most up-to-date information on tax relief?
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We've taken care to make sure this FAQ is complete and up to date, but NEST is not responsible for any loss incurred as a result of using this information. If you have any doubts about your eligibility for tax relief, you should contact HMRC.

Self-employed

I'm already a member of NEST through my work. Can I also make self-employed contributions?
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Yes. If you're already enrolled in NEST by your employer you can make your own additional contributions to NEST on top of contributions your employer deducts from your pay. Your contributions will go into the same retirement pot.

You don't need to enrol into NEST again to make additional contributions. The total amount paid into your retirement pot in any year can't be more than the annual contribution limit, which is currently £4,500. This is the figure for the 2013/14 tax year. It will be adjusted each year in line with average earnings.

Your employer will not be able to see any details of your additional pension savings. They can only see details of the contributions they've made.

To pay additional contributions, log into your online account and select Contributions.

What happens if I'm self-employed and employed at the same time?
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If you're self-employed you can be employed at the same time. If this applies to you and your employer is not using NEST you can still sign up to NEST as a self-employed member and pay your own contributions.

What if I'm a single person director and employed at the same time?
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If you're a single person director you may also have a second job where you’re an employee at the same time. If this applies to you and your employer is not using NEST you can still sign up to NEST as a single person director and pay your own contributions.

About the reforms

Do employers need to make a minimum contribution on behalf of workers?
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It depends on the worker's age and earnings.

Employers have to automatically enrol eligible jobholders and make a minimum contribution into their retirement pots.

Eligible jobholders are aged at least 22 but are not yet State Pension age and earn more than £9,440 a year for the 2013/14 tax year (see note 1 below).

Once you've automatically enrolled an eligible jobholder you, as their employer, must make a minimum contribution into their retirement pot.

Under expected legislation, if you have a worker

  • aged below 22 or over State Pension age, earning more than £5,668 (see note 2 below) or
  • aged at least 22 but under State Pension age, earning more than £5,668 but less than £9,440

who asks to be enrolled into your workplace pension scheme, you will have to enrol them. You also have to make a minimum contribution into their retirement pot.

If you have a worker whose earnings are below £5,668 and who asks to be enrolled, you will have to enrol them, but you don't have to make a minimum contribution. However you can make a contribution if you want to.

Notes -

1 - This figure applies to the 2013/14 tax year, and will be reviewed every year by the government.

2 - This figure applies to the 2013/14 tax year, and will be reviewed every year by the government.

Will all workers be automatically enrolled?
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Under expected legislation, employers will have to automatically enrol workers (see note 1, below) who are aged at least 22 but have not yet reached State Pension age and earn more than £9,440 (see note 2, below) a year. These are known as eligible jobholders. Workers who are younger than 22 or older than State Pension age, or whose earnings are less than £9,440, can ask their employer to enrol them.

Notes -

1 - Someone who works, or ordinarily works in the UK, who is aged at least 16 and under 75.

2 - This figure applies to the 2013/14 tax year, and will be reviewed every year by the government.

More information about NEST

Can I only use NEST to meet the minimum legal requirements?
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No. You can either use NEST to meet the minimum legal requirements or use it to offer more. We give you the freedom to choose how much more, within our annual contribution limit (see notes below), you and your workers pay and the way these contributions are calculated.

Notes - £4,500 for the 2013/14 tax year. This figure will be adjusted annually in line with average earnings.

Does NEST compete with existing pension schemes?
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No. NEST is designed for a target market that is largely new to pensions saving. NEST complements existing workplace pension schemes by increasing access for millions of people who may not have had access before.

Is NEST difficult to administer?
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No. NEST is simple and easy to administer with straightforward online services and tools.

We communicate to employers and their workers in plain English and we avoid jargon, making NEST easier to use.

A worker’s membership of NEST can travel with them throughout their working life. This is why there will be no continuing administration for employers when a NEST member leaves their employment.

For new joiners who are already members of NEST, all contributions made on their behalf can be added to their existing retirement pot, saving employers time and hassle.

NEST in your organisation

Can NEST work alongside other schemes?
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Yes. You can use NEST alongside other schemes.

NEST could be your entry level scheme, providing immediate access for everyone until they meet the entry criteria for your main scheme. For example, this might be for the first six months of a worker being employed by you if your main scheme has a six-month waiting period.

The scheme could also be used for a category of staff for the whole time the person is in that category, for example, by grade or salary band.

You can use NEST as a base scheme offered to all workers and pay in the legal minimum contributions, then have another scheme for further contributions.

Do employers have to choose NEST to meet their employer duties?
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No. Employers can choose NEST or any other pension scheme that meets certain legal standards.

Is NEST suitable for larger employers?
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Yes. NEST is flexible and can provide an easy to use scheme for all employers of any size or sector.

Tax relief

How do I know if a worker is eligible for tax relief?
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Generally, your workers are eligible for tax relief if they are under the age of 75 and meet one of the following requirements:

  • they are resident in the UK
  • they pay UK income tax
  • they have paid UK income tax during any one of the five tax years before the current one.

You can get more information on qualifying for tax relief by visiting the HMRC website. It's your responsibility to check with them if you're unsure about a worker's eligibility for tax relief.

To claim tax relief on behalf of your workers we’ll need their National Insurance (NI) number. We won’t be able to claim their tax relief without it, so if they have one make sure you’ve included it with their enrolment details. If we have your worker’s NI number, we’ll assume that the workers you enrol in NEST are eligible for tax relief unless you or they tell us otherwise.

The only exception is when they’re an overseas worker waiting for an NI number to be given to them. In this case we’ll be able to claim tax relief for them without an NI number.

If a worker you want to enrol in NEST is not eligible for tax relief you need to contact us on 0300 020 0090.

 

How does tax relief affect what I contribute?
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The employer section gives you information on how the minimum contributions will change over the next few years.

If you choose NEST now, the total minimum is 2 per cent, of which you need to pay 1 per cent.

The following examples show how this works depending on whether or not a worker is eligible for tax relief.

Example 1 – a worker who qualifies for tax relief

  • the worker earns £32,035 per year
  • you pay 1 per cent of their qualifying earnings each month = £22.50
  • that leaves 1 per cent to be paid
  • of this, the worker pays 0.8 per cent each month = £18.00
  • the remaining 0.2 per cent is added through tax relief = £4.50
  • total = 2 per cent (£45.00)

Example 2 – a worker who doesn't qualify for tax relief

  • the worker earns £32,035 per year
  • you pay 1 per cent of their qualifying earnings each month = £22.50
  • that leaves 1 per cent to be paid
  • there's no tax relief in this case, so the worker also pays 1 per cent of their qualifying earnings each month = £22.50
  • total = 2 per cent (£45.00)

 

What if a worker isn’t eligible for tax relief?
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It's important that we know whether or not a member is eligible for tax relief.

This means we can continue to claim the correct amount of tax relief from HMRC for those workers who are eligible, and ensures that we don't claim for those who are not.

When you signed up to NEST's Employer Terms and Conditions, you agreed that we'll assume all the workers you enrol are eligible for tax relief, unless you tell us otherwise. If you enrol a worker who isn't eligible for tax relief. If you enrol a worker who is not eligible for tax relief, you will need to contact us and let us know.

After you've enrolled your workers, it's up to them to let us, and you, know if their eligibility for tax relief changes. They need to let us know by whichever of the following dates happens later:

  • 30 days after their eligibility has changed
  • by 5th April of the tax year in which the event occurs.

When you enrol your workers, you need to provide them with information that you're doing so. You could let them know at this point that they need to tell you, and us, if their eligibility for tax relief has changed.

Don't forget, it's up to you how much you contribute for each member. You need to pay the minimum, but you can agree to contribute more if you want.

Where a member doesn't qualify for tax relief you could choose to pay in more to cover what they would have received if they were eligible.

What kind of information is NEST able to give me about tax relief?
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This FAQ answers some of the frequently asked questions about tax relief when saving with NEST. This is based on our understanding of tax legislation and HMRC guidance at the time of publication. However it's your responsibility to make sure you comply with current tax regulations.

Where can I get the most up-to-date information on tax relief?
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We've taken care to make sure this FAQ is complete and up to date, but NEST is not responsible for any loss incurred as a result of using this information. If you have any doubts about your eligibility for tax relief, you should contact HMRC.

How to stop participating in NEST

If I stop using NEST because my organisation has ceased trading and I can’t pay the outstanding contributions what should I do?
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The National Insurance Fund may be able to help with some or all of the outstanding contributions. Your insolvency practitioner will be able to assist you further.

Once I stop participating in NEST will I have any further obligations?
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No. As long as you pay all contributions that are due up to the date when you want to stop using NEST, there is no further obligation.

What date can I stop participating in NEST from?
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You can choose any date you want as long you give us 28 days' notice. You still need to make all contributions due until that date.

If you have at least 50 workers you have a legal duty to consult with them before you can make certain changes that will affect their pension arrangements. You may want to get legal advice to see if this applies to you, as it could affect the date you can stop using NEST.

What happens if I want to stop participating in NEST from a date in the past?
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If the date you want to stop contributing from is in the past, you need to call us to discuss what you can do. You can contact us on 0300 020 0090.

What if I want to stop participating in NEST?
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If you decide you want to stop participating in NEST you can do so at any time as long as you give us 28 days' notice.

You can let us know by logging in to your online account or by contacting us on 0300 020 0090.

NEST live help

If you can’t find the information you need on our website, why not speak to one of our live help operators online?NEST live help

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How to use NEST

Can I use NEST just for my clients’ retail workers?
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Yes. NEST is suitable for use for certain categories of workers. Find out more

Does NEST have to be the only scheme my client uses?
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No. NEST can sit alongside existing schemes. Find out more

More information about NEST

Will my clients' workers find NEST confusing?
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No. We're committed to speaking to people in a clear and easy to understand way.

Relationship to government

How does NEST Corporation fit in with the DWP's Enabling Retirement Savings Programme (ERSP)?
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The development of NEST is part of ERSP. This programme is working towards delivering the workplace pension reforms that start to be introduced from 2012. NEST is one of the workplace pension schemes that employers can use to meet their duties.

What is NEST Corporation's relationship to government?
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NEST Corporation is a non-departmental public body (NDPB). We are not part of government, but we are accountable to Parliament through the Secretary of State (SoS) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Who regulates NEST?
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Both the NEST pension scheme and NEST Corporation are regulated by the Pensions Regulator (TPR). NEST Corporation is responsible for ensuring that it operates the scheme in line with its regulatory obligations.

Who we are

How are Trustee Members chosen?
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Trustee Members are chosen on the basis of their skills and experience. They're also appointed in line with the Code of Practice of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The first appointments of Trustee Members were made by the government. Any future appointments will be made by NEST Corporation in consultation with a panel representing the views of our members.

What is NEST?
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NEST is a simple and low-cost workplace pension scheme. It's designed to give its members an easy way of building up their retirement pot.

It also makes it easy for employers to meet their new workplace pension scheme duties that start to be introduced from 2012.

What’s the difference between NEST and NEST Corporation?
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NEST is the workplace pension scheme itself and NEST Corporation is the body responsible for running the scheme.

Who runs NEST?
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NEST is run by a Trustee known as NEST Corporation. The Trustee has a number of legal duties, one of which is to act in the interests of NEST's members.

The Trustee is made up of Trustee Members. The decisions they make on how NEST should be run are carried out by our Executive Team.
You can find out more about the Trustee Members here

How do I contact NEST if I live outside of the UK?
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If you live abroad and want to call us, dial 00 44 300 020 0090.