Cancer Research UK diversifies default fund

Cancer Research

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) replaced its equity-based default investment fund with a more diversified, less traditional option following the introduction of April’s pension flexibilities.

Since then, of CRUK’s 800 staff, and those who left its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme when this was closed to future accrual on 31 March 2015, 90% have gone into the default option for the charity’s group personal pension plan (GPP).

James Dolan, pensions manager at Cancer Research UK, says: “We wanted to make our staff more aware of the changes to pensions and the value of the pension scheme and other benefits we offer, which is why we updated our internal pensions website and pushed people towards it with email communications.”

The charity held awareness shows for staff to highlight the most significant points of the organisation’s forthcoming pensions changes in October 2014, which it will do again around the same time this year. It also hosted the shows in January, March and June this year in different stores around the country. The shows are a chance for staff to ask questions to the internal pensions team and to be shown where to get more information.

CRUK has a younger workforce in its London head office, and therefore adapted communication around its new default fund and the pension freedoms to suit this demographic. Its initial roadshows focused on older staff in the charity’s retail stores, whereas communications for head office staff were more focused on what auto-enrolment means and why staff should contribute more into a pension.

Dolan adds: “Default funds are part of the wider issue of pensions, so it’s important for people to understand where their money is being invested and the risks around it.”