Amey rejigs pension plans to prepare for 2012 reforms

Amey has closed its trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension scheme to future accrual, moved members to its group personal pension (GPP) and introduced automatic participation in a pensions salary sacrifice arrangement to prepare for the 2012 pension reforms.

After a consultation exercise, the private sector outsourcing contractor closed its trust-based DC scheme in March 2011 and invited members to move to the GPP. The trust-based scheme had about 2,500 members, and almost 100% moved across to the GPP, which was set up in October 2010 with provider Friends Life.

Before deciding to close its trust-based scheme, Amey reviewed its pensions and the possible cost of the 2012 reforms. It is now setting up a governance committee to oversee the smooth running of the GPP and take on responsibilities similar to those held by the trustees of its previous scheme.

Amey also introduced pension contributions via salary sacrifice to maximise efficiency for staff and the organisation. Employees participate automatically unless they opt out, but most have chosen to contribute in this way.

With about 11,000 staff at 200 sites across the UK, Amey carried out an extensive communications campaign to make everyone aware of the changes.

Charlie Rogers, pensions manager at Amey, said: “We wanted to get ahead of the game for when the reforms come in and when they do, we will have something we can auto-enrol people into. We do not necessarily have to put them in the national employment savings trust (Nest), we have our own scheme ready to take these people.”

Read more articles on preparing for the 2012 pension reforms

Update: 9 June – Amey took hope top honours at the Employee Benefits Award 2011 as the benefits team of the year. Congratulations to Amey!