EXCLUSIVE: James Walker Group has streamlined its four defined contribution (DC) stakeholder pension schemes into one group personal pension (GPP) plan to comply with auto-enrolment.
The manufacturing organisation, which has 11 subsidiaries and employs more than 2,000 employees, 900 of whom are based in the UK, has a range of staging dates for auto-enrolment, between 1 November 2013 and 1 October 2014.
The organisation conducted a pensions review in the run-up to auto-enrolment, with consultancy Barnett Waddingham, which produced a scheme report and a market review.
James Walker Group opted to launch the single GPP with provider Legal and General.
The GPP has a lower annual management charge (AMC) than its previous stakeholder pension schemes, as well as a wider range of investment choices.
The AMC is now set between 0.33% to 0.38% a year, in comparison to the previous schemes’ AMCs, which were up to 1%.
Tricia Collins, group company secretary at James Walker Group, said: “We started from scratch and chose the best offering, not just in terms of performance, but fees too.
“Employees will now benefit from a wider range of investments in the new scheme. It has a self-invested personal pension (Sipp) wrapper, which will interest senior employees.”
Staff who are already enrolled in one of the stakeholder pension schemes have the option to carry out a bulk transfer of their accrued fund to the GPP at no extra cost or leave the pot as it is until retirement.
The GPP has two levels of pension contributions: 5% employee and 4% employer or 2% employee and 2% employer. Employees can select which contribution level they wish to take.
“I will be delighted if we get less than 10% [auto-enrolment] opt out,” said Collins.
“We should, because one subsidiary already has 100% of its employees in a pension scheme so they won’t be opting out. Each business has its own culture and is different.
“The contribution levels set should help take up. We would rather employees be in at some level than no level at all.”
James Walker Group has run a series of roadshows to communicate the change to staff.