B&CE bolsters strategic board with new hire

B&CE1, which provides The People’s Pension to one in five UK workers, has bolstered its strategic board with the appointment of Veronica Oak, who has spent her career in financial services.

Over the past decade, B&CE has grown from providing financial products to construction workers, to becoming one of the UK’s leading workplace pension companies, providing The People’s Pension to almost 6 million people across all sectors. This appointment is part of a move to broaden the expertise of B&CE’s strategic board in line with the company’s growth and direction.  

Before joining B&CE, Veronica has served as a Marketing Director and spent more than 20 years as an independent marketing and business development consultant, working primarily on strategic and product development assignments. She has held non-executive director posts with a variety of organisations in the private sector as well as trade associations and a wealth management company.

Commenting on the appointment, Veronica said:

“When you look at B&CE you can’t fail to be amazed by its progress and growth since the introduction of auto-enrolment. The number of people looking to us to provide them a pension, and help them save towards their future, is phenomenal. B&CE has created a great base to build upon and I’m excited to play my part in helping its members build financial foundations for life.”

Patrick Heath-Lay, CEO of B&CE, said:

“Over the past ten years, B&CE has been on a fantastic journey, growing from a small financial services company serving the construction industry, to becoming one of the largest master trusts in the UK. As we continue to build on our success, we’re broadening the expertise of our board to ensure it meets the needs of our members and our plans for the future. It’s fantastic to have Veronica on board, as she brings invaluable expertise and experience to the organisation.”


Note to editors:

1 B&CE is a not-for-profit organisation, which provides The People’s Pension, a leading workplace pension scheme, serving nearly six million pension savers across the UK, with more £17 billion assets under management. With no shareholders, it uses its profits to help people build financial foundations for life.

New Head of Risk and Performance appointed

B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, has strengthened its investments expertise with the appointment of a new Head of Risk and Performance.

Shakeel Ahmad joins the UK’s largest independent master trust from F&C/BMO Global Asset Management, where he was Head of Investment Risk. He has previously held the same position at JP Morgan and spent four years at ABN Amro Asset Management as Head of Risk Management for fixed income and FX. He has also previously held risk and performance-related roles across multiple asset classes at various investment houses.

At B&CE, which provides The People’s Pension to one in five workers, almost 6 million people, across the UK, Shakeel joins a growing investments team which oversees assets under management of more than £17 billion, alongside asset manager State Street Global Advisors.

Commenting on his appointment, he said:

“I’m delighted to have joined B&CE at such an exciting time in its history. I’m looking forward to working with a hugely talented investment team, which has the shared aim of making the right choices for the millions of members of The People’s Pension.”

Jon Cunliffe, managing director, investments at B&CE, said:

“We’re delighted that Shakeel has brought his wealth of knowledge and experience to B&CE. He shares B&CE’s values and is committed to putting the member at the heart of every decision made and helping them to build financial foundations for life.”


The People’s Pension appoints new Trustee Chair

The People’s Pension1 has appointed professional trustee and actuary, Mark Condron, as its new Chair of the Trustee.

Having already served for two years on the Trustee Board, Mark will step into his new role in September this year, replacing Steve Delo who has come to the end of his term. Steve will remain on the Board until March 2023. 

With more than 30 years’ experience in the pensions industry, Mark has already brought a wealth of expertise to The People’s Pension, as it has grown to become the largest independent master trust in the UK, providing a workplace pension to 1 in 5 workers across the country.

During his career he has held a wide range of senior positions with responsibility for pensions advisory and administration businesses. In his advisory work he has helped many large UK pension funds and companies on all aspects of pension provision and is a member of a number of trustee boards and pension scheme governance committees. He is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and an Accredited Professional Trustee.

Commenting on his appointment, Mark said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to be appointed as Chair. The People’s Pension is a huge success story, having helped almost 6 million people across the UK save more than £17bn in pension savings. It has an incredibly important role to play in the auto-enrolment market, helping to bring pension provisions to those who may not otherwise have access to retirement saving tools. The People’s Pension has an exciting future and it’s fantastic to be a part of that.”

Commenting on the appointment and his time as Chair, Steve Delo said:

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mark for the last two years and know he will be a fantastic Trustee Chair for the next stage of The People’s Pension journey. With his brilliant mix of leadership skills, pragmatism, technical knowledge, business acumen and compassion for members, he will ensure high standards of governance. I have enjoyed every minute of my 10 years as the scheme’s Chair, and I am delighted to now be passing the baton to Mark for what will, I am sure, be a long and successful tenure.”

Patrick Heath-Lay, chief executive of B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, said: “Mark’s appointment as Chair of Trustees is fantastic news as, like Steve, he is fully focused on ensuring that the members of The People’s Pension are at the heart of every decision the Trustee makes. I very much look forward to working with him on continuing to grow and develop the scheme for the benefit of our membership.

“I would also like to thank Steve for his magnificent service as Chair of Trustees during the incredible first decade of The People’s Pension – his wisdom and drive have played a significant role in its success.”


B&CE appoints new Chief Operating Officer

B&CE1 has appointed a new Chief Operating Officer to oversee all its operational functions, including the day to day running of The People’s Pension2; the UK’s largest independent master trust which helps 1 in 6 UK workers save for retirement.

Joanne Palmer, who joins B&CE in January, has more than 30 years’ experience in banking and financial services, most recently with Lloyds Banking Group, in senior positions across a range of roles within UK and international operations.

She has extensive experience of executive leadership and board and trustee level appointments in complex and highly regulated sectors.

Commenting on her appointment, she said:

“I am delighted to be joining Patrick and the team at B&CE at such an important time in their history. It is truly a privilege to be able to work with such a committed group of people to serve the members of The People’s Pension and to develop plans to do more to help members prepare for their future and take care of their families. “

A passionate environmental conservationist, Jo led the sustainability programme for Lloyds Banking Group achieving 100% renewable energy supply for UK operations – 97% globally – eliminating 60 million pieces of single use plastic from catering operations and delivering a carbon neutral footprint strategy.

She was also the Executive Sponsor for emerging talent within Lloyds Banking Group Operations and was Co-Chair of the Group’s women’s network, Breakthrough.

Welcoming the new hire, B&CE Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Heath-Lay, said:

“We’re delighted to kick off next year with Joanne joining the team. B&CE has ambitious plans for growth, and her expertise will be vital; not least in making sure that the operations and customer service for The People’s Pension continue to serve the growing needs of our 5 million members.”


Charge rebate now £1 million a month

The People’s Pension gives back more than £1 million a month to members

The People’s Pension1 has today (October 4th) revealed that it now gives back more than £1 million a month to its members in the form of rebates on its annual management charge (AMC).

Its charging structure consists of three components:

  • an annual charge of £2.50 – equivalent to 21p a month
  • a management charge of 0.5% of the value of a member’s pension pot each year
  • a rebate on the management charge (between 0.1% on savings over £3,000 and 0.3% on savings over £50,000)2

This charging structure was introduced to reward its members for saving more and to reduce the cross subsidy by active members to millions of small, inactive pots which are increasingly created by auto-enrolment.

Since the rebate was introduced last year, The People’s Pension, provided by not-for-profit organisation B&CE2, has, given back more than £12.5 million to its members who have pots above the required threshold.  This figure is only set to increase as individual pots grow, with members on the current structure projected to receive a total rebate of £34.5 million a year in five years’ time.

This comes as the Government is running a consultation on the proposed introduction of a universal charging structure, which could see combination and graduated charging structures, such as the rebate given by The People’s Pension, no longer permitted.

Patrick Heath-Lay, CEO of B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, said:

“As the UK’s largest independent master trust, we have a responsibility to do what’s best for our 5 million members. This charging structure rewards our members for saving more by using our profits to directly benefit them and improve their chance of a better retirement.

“As automatic enrolment matures, the number of people benefiting from this as well as the total size of the rebate we pay out will grow considerably and could help members to save thousands more towards their futures3.”


The People’s Pension bolsters Trustees with appointments

The People’s Pension bolsters Trustee Board with two new appointments

Baroness Jeannie Drake CBE and consulting actuary Mark Condron have been appointed to The People’s Pension Board of Trustees.

Both joined the Trustee this month, bringing a wealth of expertise and experience to the leading master trust which provides auto-enrolment pensions to one in six workers across the UK.

Baroness Drake is a former member of the Turner Pension Commission which recommended the introduction of auto-enrolment. She was also on the Board of the Pension Protection Fund, the Board of The Pensions Advisory Service, and was Acting Chair of PADA, the forerunner of NEST.

She has more than 30 years’ experience in the trade union movement, including as President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and was a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Mark Condron joins the Trustee after 30 years’ experience at Mercer, where he was  a scheme actuary, senior partner, and non-executive member of the company’s audit committee. He is also an independent trustee on the Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan, part of Heineken.

Steve Delo has been re-appointed as Chair of Trustee for a further three years, while Sue Lewis has stepped down after coming to the end of her tenure.

Commenting on the appointments, Trustee Chair, Steve Delo, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome both Baroness Drake and Mark Condron to the Board. They each have top class reputations and will reinforce our high governance standards.

“The Scheme has gone from strength to strength and recruiting quality Trustee Directors with complementary skills is an essential part of managing that growth.

“I’d also like to thank Sue Lewis, who has completed her term having been a tenacious, highly member focused Board member.”

Responding to the announcement, Baroness Drake said:

“Auto-enrolment has been a success in delivering for the public good by getting millions of workers to start saving or saving more. A requirement of continuing success is that pension funds deliver good quality provision to low and middle earners.

“The People’s Pension has grown rapidly in the last few years and I am privileged to join the Trustee board and to contribute to protecting the interests of its nearly 5 million members.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mark Condron said:

“I’m delighted to be appointed as a Trustee of The People’s Pension at this important time. I am joining a great team, completely committed to helping members build better outcomes in retirement.”


The People’s Pension moves to combination charge

The People’s Pension moves to a combination charge structure

One of the UK’s largest auto-enrolment pension providers has modified its charging structure, to make it fairer and futureproof against the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

A new annual charge of £2.50 – equivalent to just 21 pence a month – has been added to the charging structure for all members of The People’s Pension. Given the current volatile financial climate, this annual charge will be deducted from member’s pension pots later in the scheme year.

The new combination charge structure reduces the cross subsidy by active members of millions of small, inactive pots which are increasingly created by auto-enrolment.

It also cushions the effect on scheme revenues of the extreme market volatility sparked by the COVID-19 global pandemic crisis.

The new combined Annual Management Charge will consist of 3 components:

  • annual charge (£2.50 deducted during each scheme year)
  • management charge (0.5%)
  • rebate on the management charge (between 0.1% on savings over £6,000 and 0.3% on savings over £50,000)

To further encourage active savers, The People’s Pension will halve the starting rate for a rebate on its management charge to £3,000 from £6,000, to encourage members to save more for their retirement and consolidate their pots. Nearly half a million of The People’s Pension members would benefit currently. This will be implemented later this year.

As an illustrative example of the new combined charge structure’s impact in encouraging long term saving: a member on an annual salary of £20,000 with an initial pension pot of just £3,000, if they save with The People’s Pension for twenty years, could be paying the equivalent of just 0.3% in total annual management charges.

Commenting, Patrick Heath-Lay, Chief Executive Officer for B&CE, said:

“As we evolve our charging approach to meet changing requirements, we think this approach combines fairness, incentives to save, and prudence. Our modified charging structure cuts fees as members save more, reduces the cross subsidy from actively saving members to inactive small pots, and futureproofs revenues against the unpredictable financial impact of COVID-19.

“These changes ensure we offer fantastic value for money to active savers of all types.”


The People’s Pension launches manifesto

The People’s Pension launches manifesto ahead of 2019 General Election

The People’s Pension has today called for a package of measures from the next Government to make saving pay for the low paid, reduce the gender pensions gap, and make pensions more transparent.

Although auto-enrolment has been a success so far, with 10 million more people now saving for retirement, the workplace pension provider’s new manifesto also underlines the need to ensure people are saving enough for a comfortable retirement and millions of workers aren’t unnecessarily excluded from auto-enrolment.

With just 30 days before the nation goes to the polls, it calls on the next Government to:

  • End the ‘net-pay anomaly’ which deprives an estimated 1.75m low earners of much-needed tax relief through auto-enrolment.
  • Extend auto-enrolment to millions more workers and help people save more by making pension contributions begin from the first pound of earnings; lowering the eligible age for auto-enrolment to 18; and reducing the earnings requirement to the primary National Insurance threshold of £8632.
  • Introduce a universal flat rate tax relief between 25-30 per cent to increase the pensions savings of those who need it most.
  • Reduce the gender pensions gap by accepting the principle that caring is an economic activity which should attract workplace pensions contributions.
  • Support a one stop shop, publicly operated pensions dashboard free from commercial sales pitches, featuring all pensions entitlements from day one, and with pension charges disclosed in a standard format.

Commenting, Gregg McClymont, director of policy at The People’s Pension, said:

“The topic of pensions may not be a vote winner like the NHS or Brexit, but with millions of people at risk of not having enough to live on in retirement, it’s an issue that all politicians should care about and act on.

“There can be no doubt of the positive impact that auto-enrolment has had, but the next Government must work to ensure that people are saving enough for a comfortable retirement and that millions of workers – in particular women – aren’t unnecessarily excluded from auto-enrolment.

“We’re calling on future ministers to stop women’s financial futures from being penalised because they choose to have children, and ask that the next Government ensures savers can access all their pensions information on a one stop shop dashboard that’s operated in their best interest and free from commercial sales pitches.

“Pensions matter; which is why we’re launching this manifesto and asking those who seek to represent us to prioritise improving the system.”


New Chief Finance Officer hired at The People’s Pension

New Chief Finance Officer hired at B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension

B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, has appointed Sue Hunter from the Legal and General Group, to join the leading master trust as its Chief Finance Officer.

During her long tenure at L&G, she has held a variety of finance director roles in the savings, corporate and business performance divisions. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (ACMA). Sue will join B&CE on November 12, when she will take responsibility for the company’s financial strategy.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am extremely excited to have been appointed to the role of chief finance officer at B&CE, a company which, through The People’s Pension, has developed into one of the leading auto-enrolment providers in the country. It is a tremendous honour to join such a forward-thinking business, one which always puts the interests of its 4.5 million members first.”

Patrick Heath-Lay, Chief Executive Officer at B&CE, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sue into the B&CE family as she brings with her a wealth of experience and first-class leadership qualities. As our chief finance officer, she will play a crucial role in the continued growth of B&CE and The People’s Pension.”


The People’s Pension granted master trust authorisation

The People’s Pension is granted master trust authorisation

The People’s Pension, one of the UK’s largest master trusts, has been granted master trust authorisation from The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

Trustees of master trusts were given six months to apply for authorisation and show their scheme met the five criteria laid out in legislation:

  • demonstrating the people running their scheme were fit and proper
  • the master trust was financially sustainable
  • the funder of the scheme could support it
  • the master trust had adequate systems and processes in place
  • a continuity strategy had been prepared.

Commenting on being granted master trust authorisation, Patrick Heath-Lay, CEO of B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, said:

“We are delighted to receive master trust authorisation; it’s reward for all the hard work that has gone into building The People’s Pension into one of the UK’s largest master trusts, now serving more than four-and-a-half-million savers and 88,000 employers across the country.

“For our members and employers, authorisation offers peace of mind. But at The People’s Pension we know that this is just the beginning – rightly – of much closer ongoing regulation of master trust provision.

“We anticipate further change as the authorisation process beds in, as auto-enrolment continues to grow in importance, and discussions about the regulation of the master trust ‘at retirement’ market develop. Our size and strength mean we are well placed to face the future.”