The Pensions Minister today Thu commended the BBC, BASF, E.ON and Age UK for achieving the mark of excellence that recognises their staff pensions.
Steve Webb MP congratulated the four household names at the NAPF Annual Conference in Liverpool, before an audience of over a thousand pensions professionals.
The Pension Quality Mark (PQM) was presented to the BBC, international chemical company BASF and Age UK, the charity that improves later life. The PQM PLUS was given to energy company E.ON.
Both standards are given to those employers that provide good-quality defined contribution (DC) pensions to their staff. They distinguish pensions that are well run by employers, whose contribution rates are good, and whose benefits are clearly communicated to members of staff.
With these four employers receiving the mark, PQM now covers about an extra 6,000 active pension scheme members, taking the total number of active members covered by the standard to around a third of a million.
Steve Webb, Minister for Pensions, said:
"I have real pleasure in awarding the Pension Quality Mark to these schemes, and recognising their efforts to offer good quality pensions, even in tough times.
"In a complex industry such as pensions, both employers and employees need help to recognise high standards, which initiatives like the NAPF’s can offer.”
Joanne Segars, Chief Executive of the NAPF, which is behind the PQM initiative, said:
“These marks of recognition, which have gone to four very well-known organisations, demonstrate the increasing importance that employers are placing on providing good workplace pensions.
“We are seeing more and more employers applying the PQM standard. This gives us faith that companies are increasingly committed to playing their part in helping tackle our country’s retirement savings crisis.”
Jeff Webley, BBC Pension Communications Manager, said:
“Pension provision is an important part of the BBC’s reward package, we are therefore delighted to have achieved PQM status.”
Over 1,000 BBC employees are active members of the PQM accredited pension scheme.
Mary Clarke, Head of Treasury and Pensions at E.ON UK, said:
“We are delighted to be presented with this award which is a fantastic endorsement of our E.ON Pension Plan.
“By achieving the Pension Quality Mark Plus and as we move into auto enrolment in 2013, we can demonstrate to our colleagues the quality of our scheme and the valuable benefit it provides in helping them save for the future.”
Around 2,700 of E.ON’s employees are active members of the PQM PLUS accredited pension scheme.
Pam Taylor, BASF's UK & Ireland Group Pension Manager, said:
"We are committed to providing the best DC scheme we can. We want to help our employees to play an active role in preparing for their retirement and we are very pleased to gain the Pensions Quality Mark as a demonstration of the standards we set ourselves."
More than 640 of BASF’s employees are active members of the PQM accredited pension scheme.
About 1,050 of Age UK staff are covered by PQM.
PQM was launched by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) in September 2009. 160 schemes now qualify and over third of a million active scheme members are now covered by schemes that carry the Mark. L’Oreal, Volkswagen, Kellogg’s, Heineken and Michelin are some of the brands that have the benchmark. There are two standards, PQM and PQM PLUS.
PQM recognises DC schemes whose total contributions are of at least 10 per cent, with a minimum employer contribution of 6 per cent. PQM PLUS recognises DC schemes whose total contributions are of at least 15%, with a minimum employer contribution of 10%.
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