Employee Benefits Connect: Arup achieves 93% pensions take-up after DB closure

Arup has achieved a 93% take-up of its defined contribution (DC) pension scheme since it was launched in July 2010 following the closure of its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme.

The global engineering firm communicated the DB scheme closure and the new DC scheme launch through a segmented and personalised approach with communications firm Ferrier Pearce.

Rosemary Mounce, global pensions manager at Arup, spoke about the communications strategy in a session at Employee Benefits Connect, called Personalised and segmented communication to improve employee engagement around benefits.

She said: “We had to first understand our employee base and then communicate in a segmented and personalised way.”

Arup has 4,000 UK employees who are easily reached through the internet and email. As a result, the firm introduced a dedicated pensions website, which included all information about the pension scheme, an online contributions calculator and a risk-profiling tool to determine the right investment choice.

Nearly all employees used the risk-profiling tool, with only 27% opting for the default fund once completing the exercise.

Since the new scheme was introduced, 93% of employees have enrolled, a 30% increase since 2010. Mounce added: “One great side effect is that we are in good shape for auto-enrolment.”

The DC scheme offers five levels of contributions, from a minimum of 2% to a maximum of 6%, with the employer doubling all contributions. The majority (83%) of employees are contributing the maximum of 6%.

“We want to ensure members really understand the value of the benefit,” said Mounce. “We have received engagement levels higher than industry expectations.”

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