We understand that as an employer, you need to be confident the workplace pension scheme you’ve chosen is right for your employees.
So we’ve created this podcast to explore what makes a good workplace pension scheme – and how The People’s Pension ticks all the boxes.
When you set up with The People’s Pension, you may have visited The Pensions Regulator (TPR) website for guidance on what makes a good quality pension scheme.
So in this episode, we run through TPR’s guidance and explain how we meet each point…
Here’s the full podcast in writing – so you can read instead of, or as well as, listening…View transcript
As you’ve already signed up with The People’s Pension, you’ll know that automatic enrolment isn’t a one-off project.
We’re running a series of podcasts to answer the top five questions employers just like you have asked us about running your workplace pension, and what it can offer your employees in the future.
This is the first in our series of five podcasts. This time we’ll cover one of the most important questions:
'How do I know if my scheme is run in the best interests of its members and is suitable for all my employees?'
We call this governance…
Governance covers not only the rules and regulations of running the scheme, but also how The People’s Pension works to maintain standards and support your employees. We’ll cover this in more detail later.
When you set up with The People’s Pension, you may have visited The Pensions Regulator’s website for guidance on what makes a good quality pension scheme. I’m going to run through this now and explain how The People’s Pension ticks all the boxes.
The essential characteristics of a workplace pension
The Pensions Regulator states that schemes must be designed to be durable, fair and deliver good outcomes for members.
With The People’s Pension this means:
- You get good value for money.
- All costs are transparent and communicated clearly.
- Contribution structures are flexible.
- Each profile gradually and automatically moves members’ pension savings into lower-risk investments as they near retirement.
- When a member selects one of the investment profiles, The People’s Pension uses what is known as a ‘glidepath’ to automatically move their pension savings into lower-risk investments as they get closer to retirement. This glidepath normally begins 15 years before their selected retirement age.
So how do we deliver good outcomes for members?
The People’s Pension is a master trust run by an independent trustee who looks after the scheme and all the pots of money held by it. The Trustee ensures the scheme is run in the best interests of members.
There’s just a one-off set-up charge for employers. Members' charges are kept to a minimum too, with one simple annual management charge of 0.5% per year. That works out at just 50p a year for every £100 of the value of their account.
Your employees can save as much or as little as they like into the scheme, although not all their savings may receive tax relief for which HMRC limits apply. They can also choose to invest their money in one of our investment profiles, or select from our range of funds, including the Shariah Fund and Ethical Fund.
Let’s now take a look at…
The Pensions Regulator states that schemes must establish a comprehensive governance framework at set up. Clear and transparent accountabilities and responsibilities must be both agreed by our trustees.
How do we meet this?
We’ve already spoken about how The People’s Pension is a master trust run by an independent trustee. But it’s a key point because the trustee is legally obliged to prioritise members’ interests over any others. The trustee is also responsible for making sure the investment options are appropriate and the administration is first class.
The People’s Pension has also been independently audited to show it reaches the highest standards of practice. In 2014, it was the first master trust to achieve the first level of voluntary assurance, in accordance with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) assurance framework for master trusts. This shows we’ve got the right processes in place. And having since achieved the second level, we’ve been able to demonstrate that they work too.
Being a master trust means you have your own section of The People’s Pension – and you can customise it to suit your needs.
The People’s Pension has gained the PQM READY standard, in recognition of its low charges, clear communications and strong governance. The standard was introduced to help employers identify a good multi-employer pension scheme and is widely accepted in the industry as the gold standard.
The Pensions Regulator also insists that those who are accountable for scheme decisions and activity understand their duties and are fit to carry them out. And that they have adequate arrangements in place to manage any conflicts of interest.
So this includes, the trustee of the scheme, the investment advisers and B&CE (the scheme administrator).
Our Trustee Board is made up of experienced independent trustees, including Steve Delo, former President of the Pensions Management Institute. So, we’re confident it’s in safe hands.
Customer service is important too – like, how quickly we answer your queries and ways we provide you (and your employees) with ongoing help and support.
We like to think, so far so good! This year alone we’ve gone global, winning The European Pension Awards Master Trust Offering of the Year 2017.
We’ve also won the Best Auto-Enrolment Implementation Award at the Pension Age Awards, and retained our Defaqto 5 Star Rating for Auto-Enrolment (Defaqto is an independent financial research company focused on supporting better financial decision-making – five stars is the top award).
Last year, B&CE (provider of The People’s Pension) won Best Overall Customer Service at the Top 50 Companies for Service Awards. We beat a number of established names from a variety of sectors to win the top prize for performing consistently well. We also finished top in the Best Insurance and Financial and Best Medium Call Centre categories.
But we don’t perform like this just for the awards. Our high service standards are the result of a long-term strategy to put our customers first.
Let’s look at how we do that…
Ongoing governance and monitoring
The Pensions Regulator requires that the scheme benefits from effective governance and monitoring throughout its full lifecycle.
For us, regular reviews of our scheme management are part of our overall governance.
We want – and are obviously required – to provide good outcomes for all members of the scheme. So, we regularly review our investment strategy, compliance risks, and operational and financial risks, to make sure we’re acting in the best interest of our members all the time.
Schemes must be well-administered with timely, accurate and comprehensive processes and records. But if you are unhappy with our service, we’ll listen and deal with your concerns fairly and promptly.
As well as making sure we keep member records up to date, process financial transactions quickly and keep your data secure, we look for ways to make administration easier for you.
We think we’ve hit on something that could save you a lot of time. Up to now, each time you’ve sent us your employee data, you’ve needed to manually authorise the collection of contribution payments. We know it can be a long and (at times) frustrating process. So we’ve introduced automated payment collection by Direct Debit for all customers, no matter what payroll software you use. Payments are taken automatically, when it best suits you. You can set up a Direct Debit in your Online Services account.
And if you’ve only just joined The People’s Pension, the good news is that we can also complete your declaration of compliance to The Pensions Regulator for you.
The People’s Pension is provided by not-for-profit organisation, B&CE. So we put the money we make back into the business to continually improve our product and service. It means we invest in our systems and our people to make automatic enrolment as simple as possible for you, and your employees.
Communications to members
The Pensions Regulator states that communications must be designed and delivered to enable members to make informed decisions about their retirement savings.
We’re open and honest and explain things in simple terms.
B&CE, provider of The People’s Pension, is a corporate member of the Plain Language Commission – a sign of our commitment to help people understand financial products, so they can make better financial decisions. And our value of Creating Simplicity lies at the heart of everything we do.
There are lots of handy resources online to help you.
You’ll find tools to help you communicate with your employees about their pension in our communications toolkit. You can tailor it to suit your needs and search by topic or document type (videos, posters, templates and presentations).
You can also search for letter templates, guides, checklists (and more) in our resource library.
And we’ve got an online knowledge base called ‘help and support’ (there’s a link on our website – top right under the ‘manage account’ button) — where you and your employees can type in your questions or browse the most frequently asked questions (grouped by topic).
All new members of The People’s Pension receive joiner information. This tells them a bit about automatic enrolment and The People’s Pension. It also explains things like contribution levels, tax relief, and that they can opt out – and ask to re-join at any time – if they choose to.
We also tell them how to set up their Online Account. That’s where they can keep track of their pension savings and do the following:
- Move their other pensions to The People’s Pension
- Tell us who their beneficiaries are
- Choose how to invest their money
- Review and change their selected retirement age
- Update their personal contact details
- View their annual pension statement
It’s quick and easy for them to set up their Online Account. They can find a useful, step-by-step video in the employees section of www.thepeoplespension.co.uk.
So, that’s the end of this podcast
Thanks for listening. We hope you’ve found it useful. Look out for our next podcast which will cover automatic ‘re-enrolment’.
Remember, you can find plenty more information on our website – www.thepeoplespension.co.uk. We have different sections aimed at employers and employees – both are full of useful information.
Plus, don’t forget that you can download most of our communications online – from our resource library and communications toolkit. There’s also our help and support section where we hope to answer any questions you may have.
Of course, if you have specific questions about your scheme and if you want to discuss how to transfer other schemes to The People’s Pension, please give us a call:
01293 586 643
We look forward to speaking to you.Close transcript
Look out for our next podcast...
Our next podcast – on Tuesday 17 October – will cover automatic ‘re-enrolment’.