Employee Benefits Awards 2013: Best pensions change

Winner: FirstGroup

Scheme: The First UK Bus Pension Scheme

The judges were looking for a successful strategy that resulted in effective pensions provision for employees after a significant pensions change project.

Restructuring its pension arrangements led to a £27 million saving for FirstGroup. Staff are now auto-enrolled into a defined contribution (DC) scheme for their first nine years with the organisation before moving into its defined benefit (DB) plan.

The judges liked the integration of DB and DC pension provision and FirstGroup’s ability to satisfy all stakeholders throughout the project.


The judges said: “This is an innovative design tailored to business needs; a good outcome for all the stakeholders.”

The winner said: “We did something we thought we wouldn’t do in the first place by creating a hybrid scheme, which was difficult to sell to our board.”
John Chilman, group reward and pensions director, FirstGroup


Highly Commended: Morrisons – Morrisons Retirement Saver (entered by JLT Benefit Solutions)

Runners up:

Marks and Spencer – Your M&S Pension Saving Plan
Marriott Hotels – Marriott Pension Plan – UK
Morrisons – Morrisons Retirement Saver (entered by JLT Benefit Solutions)
Next (entered by Close Brothers)
Unilever – Unilever UK Pension Fund (entered by Anthony Hodges Consulting and First Actuarial LLP)