GeoPost UK prepares for auto-enrolment

EXCLUSIVE: GeoPost UK is encouraging employees to join its group personal pension (GPP) ahead of its auto-enrolment staging date of 1 August 2013.

Under the banner ‘Last Chance Saloon’, the logistics organisation invited all employees who were not members of the pension scheme to join the GPP, which matches employee contributions at a maximum of 8%.

Those employees who do not take up the offer will be auto-enrolled into The People’s Pension, provided by B&CE, on 1 August.

Debbie Morey, compensation and benefits manager at GeoPost UK, said: “We were promoting the new scheme, but also saying: You’re going to have to enrol come 1 August, why don’t you join the main scheme, which has a generous contribution structure from the employer and it comes with life assurance?

“If you’re not in it come 1 August, you’re going to have to go into the auto-enrolment compliant scheme, which is just a 1% match and no life assurance.”

Around 1,000 employees have since joined the GPP, which now has 3,500 members. Another 270 are in a defined benefit (DB) pension, which has been closed to new entrants since 1999. Around 2,000 employees will be enrolled in The People’s Pension.

“We sent out the invites in March,” said Morey. “We’re still letting them in. We just sent out a postponement notice. That has generated more interest in joining the GPP. We are expecting a lot of people to opt out because they have had plenty of opportunity to opt into a better scheme.”

The GPP, which is provided by Aegon, replaced GeoPost UK’s stakeholder scheme in early 2013 following a pensions review with consultant Lorica Employee Benefits.

The change was due to a lower annual management charge (AMC), and was also a reaction to the retail distribution review (RDR), which came in from 31 December 2012.

“We were looking to generate savings, which we use to pay for all our auto-enrolment advice. And we will have the ongoing commissions to use for the benefit of members going forward,” added Morey.

The organisation has postponed its auto-enrolment staging date from May to August to manage the added cost to the employer and allow for more time to comply with the legislation.

Communications began in October 2012 to create awareness of auto-enrolment and how it will impact employees.

Around 1,500 monthly-paid staff received emails, while the remainder of the 5,300 employees, who are paid weekly and cannot access email at work, received letters at their home addresses.

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It was also communicated through the organisation’s online portal, which is provided by Lorica Employee Benefits. “At the time we were launching the new pension scheme,” said Morey. “We thought it was a good time to communicate the new scheme.

“Also, employees knew they would have to be enrolled at some point anyway, so we thought we’d communicate that as part of a joint exercise.”