UK - Merrill Lynch has unveiled a new flexible benefits package following its decision to wind up its final salary scheme earlier this year.
The investment bank says the new package, which will be launched next month, will ensure staff receive benefits comparable to those under the £130m defined benefit scheme.
Merrill Lynch closed the DB scheme to new members in 1997 and only 25% of the firms UK workforce were contributing to it when it was wound-up in March.
Former final salary scheme members will continue to receive the same level of contributions as before but they will now be paid into a defined contribution plan.
Staff will be able to choose between increased or decreased pension contributions, higher or lower level life assurance for themselves and partners, private medical cover, critical illness, dental and travel cover, health screenings, childcare and retail vouchers or parking spaces in central London.
A Merrill Lynch spokesman said: “In order to provide flexible benefits everyone has to be in the same DC scheme and you cannot offer a package without a DC scheme in place. Merrill Lynch has not saved any money by doing this, but by doing it this way we can ensure that everyone gets the same benefits available to them.”
He said the firm had consulted staff on what the package should offer and the final product had been well received. He added: “We believe this is the way forward. Rather than firms dictating what benefits workers will receive, more and more will provide people with the flexibility to choose.”
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