Age UK pensions get Government recognition
Published on 19 October 2012 02:30 PM
The Pensions Minister yesterday praised Age UK, the BBC, BASF, and E.ON for achieving a mark of excellence that recognises their staff pensions.
Steve Webb MP congratulated the four household names at the National Association of Pension Fund's (NAPF) Annual Conference in Liverpool, before an audience of over a thousand pensions professionals.
The Pension Quality Mark (PQM) was presented to Age UK, the BBC, and international chemical company BASF. The Pension Quality Mark (PQM) PLUS was given to energy company E.ON.
Both standards are given to those employers who provide good-quality defined contribution (DC) pensions to their staff. They distinguish pensions that are well run by employers, whose contribution rates are good, and which are clearly communicated to members of staff.
With these four employers receiving the mark, PQM now covers about an extra 6,000 active pension scheme members, taking the total number of active members covered by the standard to over 305,000.
Industry complexity means high quality pensions need to be highlighted - Pensions Minister
Steve Webb, Pensions Minister, said: 'I have real pleasure in awarding the Pension Quality Mark to these schemes, and recognising their efforts to offer good quality pensions, even in tough times.
'In a complex industry such as pensions, both employers and employees need help to recognise high standards, which initiatives like the NAPF's can offer.'
Joanne Segars, Chief Executive of the NAPF, which is behind the PQM initiative, said: 'This is a great day for pensions saving in the UK. These marks of recognition, which have gone to four very well-known organisations, demonstrate the increasing importance that employers are placing on providing good workplace pensions.
'We are seeing more and more employers applying the PQM standard. This gives us faith that companies are increasingly committed to playing their part in helping tackle our country's retirement savings crisis.'
Barbara Limon, Public Policy Programme Manager at Age UK, said: 'Age UK is delighted to have received the Pension Quality Mark which plays a useful contribution in recognising good practice in employer pension schemes. It is more important than ever for people to plan for their future, and offering a good pension is a vital step in helping our staff prepare for what's ahead.'
About 1,050 of Age UK staff are covered by PQM.
The Pensions Quality Mark
PQM was launched by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) in September 2009. 159 schemes now qualify and over third of a million active scheme members are now covered by schemes that carry the Mark. L'Oreal, Volkswagen, Kellogg's, Heineken and Michelin are some of the brands that have the benchmark. There are two standards, PQM and PQM PLUS.
PQM recognises DC schemes whose total contributions are of at least 10 per cent, with a minimum employer contribution of 6 per cent. PQM PLUS recognises DC schemes whose total contributions are of at least 15%, with a minimum employer contribution of 10%.