Employee Benefits Awards 2012: Most effective pensions change strategy

Svitzer UK, Launch of Corporate Wrap, entered by Hargreaves Lansdown

The innovative way in which Svitzer UK consolidated several legacy pension schemes by introducing a corporate wrap with a contract-based defined contribution (DC) scheme made it a clear winner.

The corporate wrap, available to the entire workforce, allows employees to manage their pensions and investments in one place. They can do so over the phone, through the post, online and via a smartphone.

Processing is straight through and employees can perform all transactions online, including joining, topping up their plans by debit card, changing address, and researching and trading investments.

Staff can invest their money in a number of ways. For example, those who want to save more money tax-efficiently but still have access to it can invest in the Svitzer individual savings account (Isa). To ensure long-term saving is prioritised, employees who want to put part of their pay into the Isa must ensure their combined employer/employee pension contribution is at least 15%.

Financial education and investment guidance are also included in the package. An online knowledge centre contains videos explaining how the products work and interviews with fund managers, case studies, guides, calculators and information for more sophisticated investors.

Meanwhile, a retirement service helps employees to get the best annuity rate, which could see their retirement income increase by up to 40% a year.

The organisation’s previous arrangements were time-consuming, expensive and complex to manage, and there was inconsistency in the communication and support employees received.

One judge said: “This was so distinct from the other entries.”


Verizon, Verizon (UK) Retirement Plan, entered by Johnson Fleming
Verizon introduced a new group personal pension (GPP) for its UK staff last year. It is administered via an online platform, and the aims were to improve administration, reduce charges, ensure good governance and communicate the new pension effectively. Verizon offers contributions of 1.5 times the employee’s contribution, up to a maximum employer contribution of 9%.


Amey, Three Year Pensions Business Plan, entered by Aon Hewitt
This entrant made changes to its pension provision in an effort to control costs associated with defined benefit (DB) schemes, maximise the equity and efficiency of its defined contribution (DC) plans and comply with auto-enrolment. It introduced a group personal pension (GPP) and took steps to reduce the risk and cost of its DB provision.

Heineken, Heineken UK Flexible Retirement Pan
Heineken had to close its DB scheme and introduce a DC plan. It set out measurable communication objectives, which were developed and implemented about 12 months in advance of the DC launch. All the hard work paid off and 97% of former DB members joined the DC scheme.

LeasePlan UK, LeasePlan Select Pension, entered by Lorica Employee Benefits
When introducing a new GPP, this entrant wanted to ensure a high level of governance and to manage the scheme more efficiently than its two DC schemes. A governance committee was set up and robust communications underpinned the changes.

Paratus AMC, Paratus AMC Group Personal Pension, entered by Jelf Employee Benefits
After conducting a market review, this entrant introduced a new GPP for all permanent staff. Annual management charges were the same as for its previous scheme and included salary sacrifice.

Read more about the Employee Benefits Awards 2012