The Pension Quality Mark (PQM) is consulting on reviewing and enhancing its standards for defined contribution (DC) schemes to ensure they offer good quality pensions.
Since being launched, PQM and PQM Ready (introduced 2009 and 2013 respectively) have become the highest accreditation available for the provision of individual and multi-employer DC pensions. However, in those eight years there have been huge developments in the DC market, with PQM pointing out that most regulation and best practice now meet its standards.
Now, it is seeking opinions on raising standards, including introducing ways to encourage employees to take up higher levels of employer matching contributions, increasing minimum contribution levels, and removing age bands for pension provision.
It is also considering whether scheme excellence should be judged on the employer offering or the member uptake.
The consultation and looks at including the duties of schemes and trustees as responsible owners, how diversity on trustee boards is measured and reached, and external assessments of trustee board performance as seen in the corporate sector.
Managing director Matthew Doyle said: "With the capital that trustees are overseeing in the master trust and multi-employer space, these new standards will bring an appropriately higher level of governance."
Chairman Adrian Boulding added that while the standards have led the way developing good quality DC provision, the consultation gives opportunity to shape future delivery of good quality schemes.
He commented: "We are particularly keen to see a debate over whether good quality is just about what is available or whether it's also about the extent to which employees take up the full pension their employer provides."
The consultation is open to responses until 4 August, and the new future standards are set to be released prior to the end of 2017.
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