Atkins closes defined benefit pension scheme

Construction firm, Atkins has closed its final salary pension scheme to all employees, and has moved the 2000 staff who are affected into its defined contribution (DC) plan.

The defined benefit (DB) scheme, which was closed to new entrants in 2001, had a deficit of £187m when it was evaluated in March 2006.

Iain Willetts, head of reward, said: “The link to final salary will be maintained, so if an employee had 10 years’ service, the final pension benefit will be calculated using the salary at the time of leaving, but length of service will cease from October 2007. The pensionable service will cease accruing but salary will continue to grow; usually both would be in the pension benefit calculation.”

The firm is running financial education sessions, provided by JP Morgan Invest, for employees affected by the closure of the DB scheme. “We wanted to introduce a financial education programme for the DB population, and it is running for six months,” explained Willetts.

Friends Provident will also run pension workshops on its DC scheme.