PQM application and renewal
1.Who can apply?
Any defined contribution (DC) scheme can apply for the PQM. This includes trust-based arrangements (even where the trust has a defined benefit section), group personal pension schemes, group stakeholder schemes and group SIPPs.
PQM is not available to defined benefit (DB) and hybrid schemes.
2.Can I apply prior to the launch of my scheme?
Yes. We have worked with a number of schemes on this basis, where they wanted to display the PQM logo on their communications from day one, or even on communications leading to the launch of the scheme.
Please contact us if you would like to apply for PQM on this basis and one of the team will be happy to guide you through the process.
3.What is the application process for PQM?
The applications are completed online. Click the 'Apply Now' button on the PQM website which will take you to a short registration form. Once this is completed you can start the application form.
You will be asked a series of questions about your scheme, focusing on contributions, governance and communications. We recommend you refer to the relevant PQM Standards document and to the guide when completing the application.
You don't have to complete the form in one go, each page is saved one by one, so you can complete some of it and then come back to it if you wish. After you have completed the application you will need to print it, sign it and send it to us together with signed Terms and Conditions, the relevant evidence and the assessment fee payment.
4.What is the application process if my company is using a PQM READY scheme?
As an employer using a PQM READY scheme you can easily achieve the full PQM accreditation by meeting the contribution standards only. Simply register via the PQM website by clicking the 'Apply Now' button and start completing the application form. Don't forget to select which PQM READY scheme you are using from the drop down list on the first page of the application form.
5.What is the assessment process and how long does it take?
Once we receive your full application it is passed to one of the assessors for first assessment. After completing this assessment we might request from you more information or clarification on some of the issues. The additional information is then assessed and the application is passed to second assessor together with the assessment note. The second assessor may need to see further information but this happens rarely. Usually it is just a formality to ensure that the application has been thoroughly assessed and nothing has been missed.
The assessment process usually takes 4-6 weeks, depending on whether we have any additional questions and how quickly you respond to them. If you need PQM by certain date, please let us know in advance and we will do our best to process your application as quickly as possible.
6.Why does the PQM have to be renewed every year?
We need to ensure that the schemes don't meet the standards only at the initial application but on an ongoing basis. We therefore require for schemes to renew their PQM every 12 months.
7.What is the renewal process?
You will receive an automated email 60 days prior to the renewal due date. This email will include a link to the renewal form. It is therefore important to keep your contact details up to date to ensure the email is sent to the correct contact. If the email is mislaid we can send you another copy on request or you can simply log in and the renewal form will be waiting for you.
The renewal is completed online the answers on the form are auto-populated from the previous year's form. All you need to do is to check the answers are correct and make any necessary changes.
After you have completed the renewal form you will need to print it, sign it and send it to us together with signed Terms and Conditions.
8.What evidence do I need to supply with the application or renewal?
The required evidence documentation is:
- evidence of how you meet the pensionable pay standard
- example of joining communications
- example of ongoing communications
- example of 'at retirement' communications
- You can also provide additional evidence in support of your application, such as:
- Trustee Board meeting agenda
- Management Committee meeting agenda
- information about the annual scheme review
- presentation to new and/ or existing scheme members
- investment options explanation document
9.What if I have not supplied enough evidence? Will my application be automatically rejected?
No. We will simply ask you for additional information or clarification.
10.How much does it cost?
For PQM applications the assessment fee is £305 + VAT and should be sent with the application.
For PQM applications using a PQM READY scheme the assessment fee has been reduced from £305 + VAT to £100 + VAT.
The PQM is renewed every 12 months and annual fee of either £405+VAT (for schemes with 499 or fewer active members) or £710+VAT (for schemes with 500 or more active members) is payable once the scheme gains the PQM and at each annual renewal.
11.What if you are unhappy with our decision?
The purpose of the PQM is to raise quality of the pension provision, so we will not fail schemes on issues that can be easily rectified. You will be given a few months to put things right and then we should be able to pass your application.
However, some schemes do not meet the required standards and are unable to make the necessary changes to comply with the PQM. If the scheme is unhappy with our final decision, they have the opportunity to appeal to the PQM Board. Please contact us for more information about the appeal process.
28/02/2017 - Sir Steve Webb and Gregg McClymont join the Pension Quality Mark Board read more
01/01/2017 - PQM Distinction read more
T: 020 7601 1770
The IoD welcomes the PQM initiative. Employers and employees need to work together on tackling the retirement income challenges we all face, and on improving communication of scheme benefits. The focus of PQM in both these areas marks an important step forward in preserving and enhancing good quality workplace pension provision.
Malcolm Small - Senior Adviser, Pensions Policy, Institute of Directors