UK - Barnardo's "transparent and flexible" approach to changing its final salary scheme is being hailed as a blueprint for the industry.
The National Association of Pension Funds says the way the children’s charity put forward changes to reduce the £230m scheme’s £45m deficit should be considered as an example of best practice.
Rather than closing the scheme and switching to a less expensive defined contribution arrangement, the firm offered members six variations of the existing fund.
It devised the options – each with a different mix of accrual rates, retirement ages and contribution rates – with staff and union officials over a three-month period.
The Barnardo’s Staff Pension Scheme currently has a 1/60th accrual rate with a staff contribution rate of 6% and a normal retirement age of 65 and members now have until March next year to finalise their choice.
Pensions manager Graham Brown said: “The exercise has been hard but was made easier because we thought through the implications of the options on offer, did not try to impose a single solution for each person and ensured that everyone had the opportunity of talking through the issues.”
The firm educated staff on the changes through a nationwide roadshow, which covered 3500 miles over a four-week period, and by setting up a helpline which received more than 2000 calls and 1000 emails.
An NAPF spokesman said: “We have always advocated that companies should not jump straight from one option to another.
“It is also pleasing to see a company engaging with the pension members themselves so that it allows them to feel a part of the decision-making process.”
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Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has lost the appeal against his section 72 conviction and sentence for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
This week's top stories include Marsh and McLennan Companies agreeing to buy JLT, and the home secretary calling for AE to be scrapped in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Lesley Titcomb says the watchdog wants closer interactions with pension funds to spot problems sooner and act before having to use its more stringent powers