UK - The UK's National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has announced plans to reward better than average defined contribution pension schemes with a 'Pension Quality Mark'.
Requirements include 10% contributions with at least 6% paid by the employer (double the 3% required from employers by for 2012), governance arrangements which show the scheme running to the best interests of the members, and communication that is clear and simple for members to understand.
The campaign was launched at the NAPF's Annual Conference in Glasgow yesterday and will be available to all schemes - including non-NAPF members - from early 2009.
NAPF director of policy Nigel Peaple said the quality mark would differentiate between schemes with a minimum contribution rate of 10% - above the new qualifying regulations for 2012 - and schemes which just met the required reform level.
Peaple said the mark would provide a brand for pension provision and assist employers in recruiting and retaining staff members.
He said: "We want to change behaviour. This is not just a beauty parade - it's about really great pensions, to get people to join up. This is about selling the pension message. It will provide a mark above the minimum for auto-enrolment, give schemes a distinguishing factor. It's a step on the road to achieving greater take-up, to better communication."
Peaple said the NAPF had been working on the campaign for some 18 months, but the Pensions Bill, deregulation and proposals from The Pensions Regulation had delayed the launch.
"[The campaign] will be non-profit and as cheap as possible. It is for employers to get value for their schemes and will help members identify which schemes offer the best options to help them make the best investment decisions", Peaple said.
He added the certification could become a collective force between organisations such as the Association of British Insurers and the Trades Union Congress.
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