Property, construction and services group Kier previously ran a number of different defined contribution schemes, but moved to a master trust in July 2016.
Mark Bradshaw, group reward and benefits director, says: “We wanted just one, to make communication of our pension offering easier for [employees] to understand, as well as to streamline the management and administration of the schemes. “We chose the master trust route [because] it had an independent board of trustees to look after members’ interests and also provided the necessary defined contribution governance required under The Pension Regulator’s guidelines.”
The business wanted a scheme that was large enough to manage members’ investments securely and also wanted an online platform so staff could view and manage their pensions.
The firm eventually chose to work with BlackRock, which was subsequently bought by Aegon, and launched the scheme at the same time as the triennial pension re-enrolment was due, to ensure that happened under the new arrangement.
It ran a 60-day pension consultation and a detailed communications plan ahead of this. “We also set up a dedicated website which contained the consultation information and FAQs [frequently asked questions] raised by people during the process,” adds Bradshaw.
The biggest challenge the business faced was in transferring members over to BlackRock, says Bradshaw. “There were a number of different contribution structures and schemes we had to close to achieve this,” he says. “We consulted with all colleagues and moved schemes across in stages. This was supported with a detailed project and communications plan.”
Since the scheme went live, Kier has sought to raise awareness of the scheme through its intranet site and visiting members in their workplaces. “Previously this was difficult to do [because] there could have been people in the same team who might have been members of a number of different schemes,” says Bradshaw. “We’ve also seen an increase in activity in those accessing their pension account online, and increasing contributions.”