EXCLUSIVE: United Health Group struggles to get market data on 2012 pension reforms

United Health Group is struggling to get market data on what steps its competitors are taking to comply with the 2012 pension reforms.

The healthcare benefits and services firm’s strategy on how to adopt the changes, including auto-enrolment, for its UK employees will be influenced by the approach taken by others in its sector, but it is still waiting on reports from employee benefits consultants that will shed light on what others are doing.

Chad Murphy, compensation consultant at United Health Group, said that the market data is in flux because factors, such as budget constraints and the worsening economic climate, have created a planning blight among employers.

“The worsening economy has thrown quite a lot of people out,” he said. “Budgets are being reviewed and looked at. It couldn’t be a more difficult time to bring in something of this nature, which does increase costs.”

Earlier this year, the firm, which has to comply with the legislation in 2014, presented three different possible compliance options to its senior management team. However, the team requested more information on market trends before making a decision on the firm’s silver, gold and platinum options.

Under the silver offering, it would meet the statutory requirements, while the gold approach would see it offer contributions above the minimum. The platinum approach would see it offer a very competitive contribution rate, to be adopted ahead of its 2014 staging date.

Murphy said: “We are all waiting to see what each other are doing in terms of how we adopt the legislation. Do we adopt the legislation to the letter and match the minimum contributions or do we offer a little bit more?

“We hope that the market does not adopt the legislation verse and chapter. Ultimately, we want our employees to have a reasonable pension and a reasonable savings pot at the end of their working life. If auto-enrolment leads all organisations to dumb down their pension plans that is a lose-lose situation across the board.”

Read also Employee Benefits pension reforms supplement 2011

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