EXCLUSIVE: Lend Lease to close DB pension to future accrual

Lend Lease is to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to future accrual in February 2012, when it will switch all 600 members to its trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension scheme.

The property and infrastructure firm’s career average revalued earnings (Care) scheme closed to new members in November 2006 and will close to future accrual on 31 January 2012.

Simone Macmillan, pensions manager Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “The DB closure was driven by the need to manage the build-up of future liability and ensure the pensions offering is sustainable for the future and equitable for all employees.”

This year, the firm carried out a big pensions communications campaign, in conjunction with Shilling Communication, for its 1,200 existing DC members. It will repeat this in 2012 for the 600 staff moving from the DB scheme.

The communications campaign started in February with a postcard sent out to all staff, using personalised imagery and terminology for Lend Lease’s diverse age demographics.†

A newsletter went out in May around pension contributions, again with different messages for the different age groups. Macmillan added: “We did messaging to the younger population about giving up one cup of coffee a week to make a big difference in terms of the pension they will get when they come to retirement age.”

In August, the annual total reward statement went out, redesigned to work in the new message around pensions. In October, an investment newsletter was sent out to all staff, segmented into three age groups. “It is focused on managing investments and making sure employees are happy with them,” said Macmillan.

The trust-based DC scheme has minimum employee contributions of 5% and a maximum employer contribution of 10%. Macmillan added: “The design and structure of our scheme is in the top quartile in terms of contributions, but we did not feel employees valued that or were proactive enough in looking after their pension.”

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