Roche aims to get ahead of schedule on pension auto-enrolment

Roche is planning to bring forward its staging date to auto-enrol all staff into a pension scheme to comply with the 2012 pension reforms.

The pharmaceutical firm is required to auto-enrol staff from 2013, but is looking to bring it forward to 2012, with the aim of providing a better duty of care for its staff.

It also wants to make its pension scheme as attractive as possible ahead of the reforms, to encourage the 7% of its UK employees who are currently not in the scheme to join voluntarily before they are auto-enrolled.

Roche is also looking at matching additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) for its trust-based defined contribution (DC) scheme, as well as offering financial education around investment options.

At present, if an employee contributes 4% into their pension, Roche will put in 8%. Senior executives have to contribute 8% to receive 20% from the employer.

Maria Yanev, benefits co-ordinator at Roche, said: “Some of our competitor employers are matching AVCs or part of the AVCs. We have never done so, but are looking at it. But nothing is set in stone and nothing has been decided.”

Roche has 85% of its pension scheme members in the default fund, so is considering providing more financial education to encourage them to be more proactive around investment choices. “It is a matter of engagement and communication, and developing individual thinking,” said Yanev. “Staff need to make more informed decisions and realise we are there to support them and give them basic knowledge, but not make decisions on their behalf.”

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