BBC and E.On awarded PQM

The BBC, BASF, E.On and Age UK have been awarded the Pension Quality Mark (PQM) for their defined contribution (DC) pension schemes.

The PQM recognises DC schemes with total contributions of at least 10%, with a minimum employer contribution of 6%. It also distinguishes pension schemes that are clearly communicated to employees.

Pensions minister Steve Webb congratulated the companies at the National Association of Pension Fund’s (NAPF) annual conference in Liverpool. “I have real pleasure in awarding the Pension Quality Mark to these schemes, and recognising their efforts to offer good quality pensions, even in tough times.

“In a complex industry such as pensions, both employers and employees need help to recognise high standards, which initiatives like the NAPF’s can offer.”

Joanne Segars, chief executive at the NAPF, which is behind the PQM initiative, added: “These marks of recognition, which have gone to four very well-known organisations, demonstrate the increasing importance that employers are placing on providing good workplace pensions. 

“We are seeing more and more employers applying the PQM standard. This gives us faith that companies are increasingly committed to playing their part in helping tackle our country’s retirement savings crisis.”

The BBC has more than 1,000 employees in its DC pension scheme. Jeff Webley, pension communications manager at the BBC, said: “Pension provision is an important part of the BBC’s reward package. We are therefore delighted to have achieved PQM status.”

Utilities firm E.On has around 2,700 employees in its scheme, which achieved the PQM Plus. Mary Clarke, head of treasury and pensions at E.ON UK, said: “By achieving the Pension Quality Mark Plus, and as we move into auto-enrolment in 2013, we can demonstrate to our employees the quality of our scheme and the valuable benefit it provides in helping them save for the future.”

International chemical company BASF has 640 pension scheme members. Pam Taylor, group pension manager at BASF, UK and Ireland, said: “We are committed to providing the best DC scheme we can.

“We want to help our employees to play an active role in preparing for their retirement and we are very pleased to gain the Pension Quality Mark as a demonstration of the standards we set ourselves.”

Charity Age UK has 1,050 staff in its DC scheme. These four organisations join 160 other employers that have PQM-accredited pension schemes, including Heineken, Kellog’s, L’Oreal, Michelin and Volkswagen.