The pension reforms will not come as a huge shock to Santander, which has auto-enrolled staff into its pension scheme since December 2009. The Spanish-owned bank enrols all new staff into its trust-based defined contribution Santander Retirement Plan.
Santander is aware that before its staging date of February 2013, it will need to assess its pension offering to ensure it complies with the new regulations. Ian Barrett, deputy pensions manager, says: “The changes that will affect us are not huge because we already have auto-enrolment. We have about 80% take-up. That leaves 20% of employees who opt out of the scheme and primarily that’s because of affordability.”
Santander issues pension newsletters at least once a year. Barrett expects communication about the reforms to be very targeted.
“We would not go out to all employees generically about the reforms, it would be focused on what they mean
to us and our staff,” he says. “The regulations allow you to do it in writing, you cannot simply signpost staff to a website. That will not be difficult to cope with.”
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