Kingfisher to bring forward staging dates

NAPF: Kingfisher will auto-enrol its nearly 40,000 employees across six organisations into a money purchase pension scheme on 1 April 2013.

Based on the number of employees in each part of its business, parent company Kingfisher would have been enrolling staff between January 2013 and July 2014. Its businesses include B&Q, which has 32,000 employees, Screwfix, which has 4,600 employees, and its smaller businesses, which have less than 50 employees.

Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) annual conference on 18 October, Dermot Courtier, head of group pensions at Kingfisher, said: “Our smaller businesses have later staging dates, but we will use the three-month waiting period to bring everyone in at the same time.”

Kingfisher began a full review of its pensions arrangements in April 2011. Its first step was to close its final salary pension scheme to future accrual in July 2012, following a consultation that was open for the first half of 2012. It moved the scheme’s members into its money purchase scheme. Courtier added: “In closing the final salary scheme, we took the opportunity to look closer at the money purchase scheme.”

Along with the closure of the final salary scheme in July, Kingfisher also made a variety of changes to its money purchase scheme, which included:

  • The introduction of a salary sacrifice arrangement.
  • An increase in employer-matched contributions to 14%.
  • An increase in the death-in-service benefit from two-times to four-times salary.

The next step was to look closely at how to communicate auto-enrolment. Kingfisher’s employees are spread out across diverse locations, and are not engaged with their pension scheme. Courtier added: “We wanted to have a consistent message for all employees, bearing in mind the low level of awareness and understanding. We wanted to raise awareness so employees could make an informed decision.”

Kingfisher updated communications include: frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) booklets to support formal letters and teaser campaigns, which will continue past its staging date.