Barnardo’s has announced to staff a proposal to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to future accrual from 31 March 2013.
Employees at the children’s charity will be offered access to a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme from April 2013, which will be more generous than the government requirements for auto-enrolment.
The Barnardo Staff Pension Scheme (BSPS) was closed to new members in 2007.
Kevin Barnes, director of finance at Barnardo’s, said: “As the UK’s largest children’s charity we have a responsibility to be as prudent as possible in future-proofing our finances, and managing our pension deficit is vital to ensure that our priority remains providing services to those who need our help most.
“The continued unprecedented economic conditions have increased the volatility of the liabilities of all defined benefit pensions schemes and therefore the scale of the potential risks that such schemes are being forced to manage.
“In the light of this, we have made the judgement that we cannot ignore the increasing liabilities of the Barnardo Staff Pension Scheme (BSPS).
“Making this change now will enable us to limit Barnardo’s future risks, meet our longstanding commitment to honour the already accrued staff benefits in the old pension scheme and ensure greater parity of benefits across our staff going forwards.
“Despite the increased risks faced by all defined benefit pension schemes, the pension deficit recovery plan agreed in 2009 continues to perform well and we are currently on track to have resolved the deficit ahead of the target date.
“We expect that the deficit in the scheme as assessed by the scheme’s actuary will be lower in 2012 than the last valuation in 2009. We are pleased with this achievement, particularly when contrasted with the performance in many other pension schemes over the same period.”