There are just two weeks left to enter this year's Pension Scheme of the Year Awards.
The awards - which are now in their 17th year - celebrate excellence within UK workplace pension schemes and recognise the country's best trustees and scheme managers.
The awards are free to enter and outline instructions on how to enter and the category list are below. Full information on how to enter can be found at: www.pensionschemeawards.com.
Schemes that are shortlisted or win a category at the awards will also receive a free logo to display on scheme communications and show members your achievement as well as being given two complimentary invitations to the Pension Scheme of the Year Awards Dinner, which will be held on 27 June 2017 at The Brewery on London's Chiswell Street.
Entering the awards
There is a two stage process to enter the Pension Scheme of the Year Awards 2017 - the details of which are as follows:
1. Registration: Schemes need to register for the awards and let us know what categories they plan to enter. To register for the awards, visit: http://www.pensionschemeawards.com/static/how-to-register
Registration is hugely important. Registering to enter for the awards will mean we can send you essential updates about the Pension Scheme of the Year Awards as soon as they are available.
2. Entry submission: Schemes that register then have to submit an entry form. The judges will use this form to draw up the finalists list and decide on the final winners. The deadline for receipt of the entries is Thursday, 6 April 2017.
The entry forms and submissions will be considered by a panel of judges made up from professionals from across the occupational pensions industry. These judges will be announced in Professional Pensions over the coming weeks.
The finalists list will be published in May and the winners will be announced at an awards dinner, which will be held on 27 June 2017 at The Brewery on London's Chiswell Street.
Entries by providers
We also welcome submissions by consultants and providers on behalf of their clients.
Should you wish to put a scheme forward for an accolade, please enter the awards in the way detailed above.
This Year's Categories
Here is the full list of categories for 2017 - along with judging criteria and guidelines.
Overall scheme categories:
• Pension Scheme of the Year: No entries are needed for this category. The winner will be chosen by the judges and the award will go to the scheme that, in their opinion, demonstrates the highest levels of innovation, best administration and highest quality of service.
• DC Scheme of the Year (for companies with 5,000 and more staff)
• DC Scheme of the Year (for firms with under 5,000 staff)
• DB Scheme of the Year (asset value of over £2.5bn)
• DB Scheme of the Year (asset value of over £500m-£2.5bn)
• DB Scheme of the Year (asset value of up to £500m)
• Public Sector Scheme of the Year
These six categories will be judged against the following criteria:
Innovation: Schemes should demonstrate innovations they have made over the 12 months to 31 January 2017 in order to improve the scheme or solve a specific problem - such as overhauling the scheme in light of the pension freedoms, reducing risk in their scheme etc. This will be worth 30% of the total mark.
Member Outcomes / Service to Members: What have entrants done to improve member outcomes / the experience for members / member service. This will be worth 15% of the total mark.
Investment management: Companies with DC schemes should explain how their chosen investment strategy helps members achieve good outcomes as well as how these investment choices and charges are reviewed to ensure ongoing good value and outcomes. They should also set out how their investment strategy has changed in light of the pension freedoms. DB schemes should set out their investment strategies and show performance over one, three and five years. This will be worth 15% of the total mark.
Communication / Engagement: Judges will be looking for how schemes have successfully communicated with members and innovative ways they have used to make sure key messages have been understood by members (use of websites, webinars, social media, newsletters, meetings, roadshows, financial guidance etc). Judges will also look at measures schemes have taken to change communication strategies, educate members and raise their financial awareness in light of the pension freedoms. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
Governance: Entrants should set out what they have done to improve their scheme's governance or ensure it is best in class - be it through a traditional trustee board, a pensions committee or other form of oversight. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
Administration: Schemes should demonstrate how they have improved their administration and ensure their admin is ‘best of class'. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
At-Retirement: Entrants should set out their at-retirement processes - detailing the support, communication and education given to members in the run-up to retirement and, for DC schemes, the process that is in place to help members choose an appropriate way to take income from the scheme. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
• Pensions Manager of the Year: Personal awards for specific achievement in advancing the interests of members and occupational pension provision. Managers may nominate themselves for this award.
• Pension Scheme Trustee of the Year: Award for the trustee board or the individual trustee that has done most for their scheme. Judges will look for evidence of particular problems or challenges they have helped overcome and how they did this along with innovations they helped the scheme put in place. Trustees and trustee boards may nominate themselves for this award.
• Best Member Initiative: This accolade will be awarded to the company or scheme that has been the most innovative in the way it supports and helps members to get the most out of their pension plan. These initiatives could be for DB, DC or hybrid schemes.
• Best Financial Education Initiative: This award will be given to the company or scheme which has introduced the most effective financial education programme. Entrants show explain how they delivered the programme, how it helped employees and how they measured its success.
• Best Auto-enrolment Strategy: This award will be awarded to the company or scheme which has made the most innovative changes during the year with regards to its auto-enrolment duties - be it through the introduction of a new scheme; innovations in the way it approaches communications or investments; or other things that have been done in order to best serve the needs of auto-enrolled members.
• Best DC Scheme Innovation: This award will be awarded to the DC scheme which has best used innovations in scheme design, investment management, communication or administration to further its objectives and help members.
• Best DB Scheme Innovation: This award will be awarded to the scheme which has made the most innovative changes during the year in order to achieve its objectives.
• Best DC Investment Strategy: This award aims to recognise the DC scheme that has made the best use of investments in its DC investment offering in order to achieve their objectives.
• Best DB Investment Strategy: This award aims to recognise the schemes that have best used their investment strategy in order to achieve their goals.
• Best Use of Alternatives: This award will recognise the schemes that have made best use of their alternative asset strategies (including, for the purposes of this award, asset classes such as Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Property, Infrastructure, Commodities etc) to achieve their investment objectives.
• Best DC At-Retirement Strategy: This category will recognise the entrant that has best designed an at-retirement strategy that ensures the best outcomes for members. It will look at support, communication and education given to members in the run-up to retirement the process that is in place to help members choose an appropriate way to take income from the scheme. Entrants should look to highlight the work they have done or are doing in light of the pension freedoms.
• Best DC Communication Strategy: Judges will be looking for clear and concise literature, interactive material, videos, CDs etc along with the use of other forms of communication such as face-to-face seminars, social media and websites (along with website tools) to decide on the winner for this category.
• DB Communications (private sector)
• DB Communications (public sector)
Judges for these categories will be looking for schemes that embrace all forms of communications - online, in person, in print and using social media - and membership initiatives such as pension clinics. They will also assess the quality of pensioner communications.
• Trustee Development Awards: Demands on trustees are greater than ever and the judges will be looking at the range of training programmes and assistance that schemes provide.
• Best Use of IT and Technology: Judges will be looking at the rapidly evolving use of the internet and social media; the impact it is having on administration and communications; access given to members and the use of the intranet.
• Best Administration: Awarded to schemes which demonstrate the best possible administration service to members. Key criteria for judges will be service level agreements or alternative ways of measuring performance, reporting strategy and the effective use of IT.
• Best Use of Risk Reduction Strategies: This award reflects the growing use of risk reduction strategies by schemes and corporate sponsors. Judges will be looking at how trustees assessed potential reduction offerings, how they implemented the strategy and how the strategy fits in with the rest of the scheme's asset portfolio and will develop in the future. It will also assess how the risk reduction exercise was communicated to members.
For queries regarding entries and submissions, contact:
T: 020 7316 9706
For sponsorship queries, contact:
T: 020 7316 9277
In this week's Pensions Buzz, we want to know whether you support the ruling that defined benefit (DB) trustees must equalise GMPs in past transfers.
More than £130bn of company funds are tied up in pension schemes specifically due to lower than expected levels of life expectancy improvements over the last decade, according to PwC.
XPS Pensions Group has launched a scam protection checklist to assist trustees in meeting The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) scam pledge initiative.
This week’s top stories included the rejection of an automatic guidance amendment in the Pension Schemes Bill, while The Pensions Regulator posted a sharp increase in the use of its powers.
The majority of the pensions industry agrees an eventual net-zero target should not be mandated for schemes as part of the Pension Schemes Bill, according to a Professional Pensions poll.