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PQM announced consultation on future standards for DC pensions

13 July 2017

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The Pension Quality Mark Ltd (PQM) has announced a wide-ranging consultation on the future standards for defined contribution(DC) pension provision in the UK.

The consultation will cover the Pension Quality Mark (PQM) for individual employer schemes and the Pension Quality Mark Ready (PQM Ready) for multi-employer schemes.

Closing on 4 August, the consultation is an opportunity for the industry to work together to deliver high quality schemes that benefit consumers, the PQM said.

Matthew Doyle, PQM managing director, said: "The consolation covers new topics, not previously part of the standards, including the duties of schemes and trustees as responsible owners, how diversity on trustee boards is measured and ensured, and external assessments of trustee board performance – as seen in the corporate sector."

Doyle added that with the capital trustees are overseeing in the master trust and multi-employer space, the new standards will introduce an "appropriately higher level of governance."

One key area the consultation is seeking feedback on, is whether scheme excellence should be judged on the employer offering, or the scheme member uptake.

The PQM is proposing to review and enhance the standards required to achieve the PQM and PQM Ready accreditations.

Areas covered by the consultation include: introducing ways to encourage employees to take up higher levels of employer matching contributions; increasing minimum contribution level; removing age bands for pension provision; reviewing fee cap levels; extending the standards to assess schemes approaches to corporate stewardship and environmental, social and governance issues; improving board performance through regular external assessment of trustee performance; and extending the PQM Ready standards to cover Group Personal Pensions (GPPs).

The new standards are set to be released prior to the end of 2017.

Since being launched, PQM (2009) and PQM Ready (2013) have become the highest accreditation available for the provision of individual and multi-employer DC pensions in the U.K.

However, since both were introduced there have been considerable developments in the DC market and, as a result, regulation and best practise now meet many of the PQM standards.

Chairman of PQM Adrian Boulding, said: "Over the last eight years the PQM standards have led the way in the development of good quality DC pension provision including the introduction of fee caps, which went onto be reflected in industry regulation."

"This consultation provides the opportunity for everyone in the pensions industry to shape the delivery of good quality DC pensions in the future."

First published 13.07.2017

Lindsay.sharman@wilmingtonplc.com