Pensions update – Building A-Day readiness

Britannia Building Society has set up one-to-one briefing sessions for senior executives to help prepare them for the change in the lifetime allowance limit following A-day.

Mercer Wealth, a division of Mercer Group, will conduct the briefings during the rest of this month (January) and February. Around 20 senior executives are likely to be affected by the lifetime allowance limit on a tax-advantaged pension saving set at £1.5m for the tax year 2006/7.

In addition, all employers will receive a newsletter about A-day and what it may mean for them.

Louise Baker, group reward manager at Britannia, said: “We have managed to work closely with Mercer and actually link them in to our internal communications so that staff are still receiving information from Britannia, the company they actually work for.

“Employees here need to take responsibility for their retirement, and it is vital they understand how their specific pension operates.”

Britannia currently runs two pension schemes, a defined benefit scheme, which was closed to new members in 2001, and a defined contribution (DC) scheme, which was set up in the same year.

Take-up for the DC plan was initially low, but following a review into the reasons why employees were not signing up to the scheme, an automatic entry system was introduced in 2005 to ensure maximum participation from new staff.

All new employees are automatically enrolled into the scheme, on maximum contribution levels of 4% for employees and 8% for the employer. Staff are given the option of reducing their contributions or opting out of the scheme. Now, around 90% of new employees stay in the DC scheme.