The Pensions Minister today (Thu) commended the BBC, BASF, E.ON and Age UK for achieving the mark of excellence that recognises their staff pensions.
Steve Webb MP congratulated the four household names at the National Association of Pension Fund’s (NAPF) Annual Conference in Liverpool, before an audience of over a thousand pensions professionals.
The Pension Quality Mark (PQM) was presented to the BBC, international chemical company BASF and Age UK, the charity that improves later life. The Pension Quality Mark (PQM) PLUS was given to energy company E.ON.
Both standards are given to those employers that provide good-quality defined contribution (DC) pensions to their staff. They distinguish pensions that are well run by employers, whose contribution rates are good, and whose benefits are clearly communicated to members of staff.
With these four employers receiving the mark, PQM now covers about an extra 6,000 active pension scheme members, taking the total number of active members covered by the standard to around a third of a million.
Steve Webb, Minister for Pensions, said:
"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 of the NAPF, which is behind the PQM initiative, said:
“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.”
Jeff Webley, BBC Pension Communications Manager, said:
“Pension provision is an important part of the BBC’s reward package, we are therefore delighted to have achieved PQM status.”
Over 1,000 BBC employees are active members of the PQM accredited pension scheme.
Mary Clarke, Head of Treasury and Pensions at E.ON UK, said:
“We are delighted to be presented with this award which is a fantastic endorsement of our E.ON Pension Plan.
“By achieving the Pension Quality Mark Plus and as we move into auto enrolment in 2013, we can demonstrate to our colleagues the quality of our scheme and the valuable benefit it provides in helping them save for the future.”
Around 2,700 of E.ON’s employees are active members of the PQM PLUS accredited pension scheme.
Pam Taylor, BASF's UK & Ireland Group Pension Manager, 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 Pensions Quality Mark as a demonstration of the standards we set ourselves."
More than 640 of BASF’s employees are active members of the PQM accredited pension scheme.
About 1,050 of Age UK staff are covered by PQM.
PQM was launched by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) in September 2009. 160 schemes now qualify and over third of a million active scheme members are now covered by schemes that carry the Mark. L’Oreal, Volkswagen, Kellogg’s, Heineken and Michelin are some of the brands that have the benchmark. There are two standards, PQM and PQM PLUS.
PQM recognises DC schemes whose total contributions are of at least 10 per cent, with a minimum employer contribution of 6 per cent. PQM PLUS recognises DC schemes whose total contributions are of at least 15%, with a minimum employer contribution of 10%.
Notes to editors:
Photographs of the ceremony will be available.
For further details on the Pension Quality Mark & the Friend of the Pension Quality Mark initiative: http://www.pensionqualitymark.org.uk/ and http://www.pensionqualitymark.org.uk/friendofpqm.php
The BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees, with about 23,000 staff. Its main responsibility is to provide impartial public service broadcasting and enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.
E.ON is one of the UK's leading power and gas companies - generating electricity, retailing power and gas, developing gas storage and undertaking gas and oil exploration and production. It is part of the E.ON group, one of the world's largest investor-owned power and gas companies. E.ON employs around 12,000 people in the UK and more than 79,000 worldwide.
In the UK, E.ON supplies power and gas to around five million domestic, small and medium-sized enterprise and industrial customers - meaning the company has to buy approximately 122.7 billion kWh of power and gas each year to meet their needs.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. It combines economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection. Through science and innovation BASF enables its customers in almost all industries to meet the current and future needs of society. BASF products and system solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring healthy food and nutrition and helping to improve the quality of life. BASF sums up this contribution in its corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF posted sales of about €73.5 billion in 2011 and had more than 111,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF Group companies employ about 2,000 people in the UK.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England(registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they
have formed the Age UK Group (“we”). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).
The NAPF is the leading voice of workplace pensions in the UK. We speak for 1,300 pension schemes with some 16 million members and assets of around £900 billion. NAPF members also include over 400 businesses providing essential services to the pensions sector.
Paul Platt, Head of Media and PR, NAPF, 020 7601 1717 or 07917 506 683, [email protected]
Christian Zarro, Press Officer, NAPF, 020 7601 1718 or 07825 171 446, [email protected]