The National Association of Pension Funds has launched a quality mark for defined contribution schemes in a bid to recognise firms providing good schemes for their staff.
The trade body said DC schemes would have to meet a set of requirements on contribution rates, governance and communication in order to obtain the Pension Quality Mark or the Pension Quality Mark Plus.
The criteria are:
- contributions of 10% must be available, with at least 6% (double the 2012 statutory minimum) paid by the employer. If contributions are 15%, with at least 10% from the employer, then schemes can apply for a Pension Quality Mark Plus.
- governance arrangements must be in place to ensure that the scheme is operating in the best interests of members. This can take a variety of forms including trust boards, management committees and an annual scheme review.
- the scheme must provide clear and simple information to members when they join the scheme and thereafter.
NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars claimed the quality mark would benefit both employers and employees.
She said: It shows these employers' commitment to encouraging their staff to save for retirement, which is becoming ever more vital."
Segars added the Pension Quality Mark would also help to rebuild and promote public confidence in workplace pensions.
The first companies to be awarded the mark are: Marks & Spencer, Kellogg's, Accenture, BG Group, IBM, Standard Life and The Royal College of Physicians.
The NAPF said applications can be received from employers, scheme managers, trustees or the scheme secretary or advisers on behalf of schemes.
It also said there was a one-off assessment fee of £250, plus an annual licence fee of £250 for schemes with under 500 members and £500 for schemes with over 500 members.
This follows NAPF research which revealed 67% of employees looking for a new job said that a pension quality mark would make them look more favourably on a potential employer - while 52% said that an independent quality mark awarded to their employer's scheme would make it more likely that they would join.
The pension quality mark is owned and operated by Pension Quality Mark Limited - a wholly owned subsidiary of the NAPF.
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