Schemes should focus on increasing contributions rather than squeezing costs if they want to improve member outcomes, according to BT's head of pensions.
Speaking at a Barnett Waddingham seminar on value for money, Kevin O'Boyle said charges were important but were not the only factor trustees had to consider.
He urged trustees to focus on ‘value for members' as much a value for money.
O'Boyle said: "The biggest driver for outcomes in my view is not the charges but how much is going in. So again linking value for money to outcomes, one has to be really careful about all the drivers towards outcomes. More money in, better communication, better education to me would have a bigger impact.
"If I could have all our members paying the maximum in and getting the maximum [employer] match, that would be more important than the actual basis points charged."
Barnett Waddingham partner Mark Futcher said too much emphasis was being placed on value for money.
He said: "We would not even want the chair [in the annual statement] to make any kind of negative statement or even question their governance framework or strategy going forward if it is likely to have an impact on the membership of the scheme, i.e. people opt out and they say ‘you know that is poor value'."
Futcher echoed O'Boyles point on increasing contributions. "More in definitely means more out," he said.
Barnett Waddingham head of DC investment Alex Pocock urged schemes to focus on boosting contributions when developing investment strategies.
He said: "We need to design our investment structures to make sure that we encourage members to contribute more and members not to opt out."
Law Debenture independent trustee Michael Chatterton agreed and added: "The second order is getting the charges down and making sure the services are ideal. The first order is getting the higher contributions."
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