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APPLYING FOR The pension Quality mark

This page describes the application process. If you have any queries or concerns about applying, or you are unsure what evidence to provide, please contact us  and we will be happy to assist.

The core principles of the PQM Standards  are that a pension scheme should have: a commitment from the sponsoring employer, minimum contribution levels, an effective board, a quality default investment strategy, a value for money assessment, an understanding of its members with an inclusive engagement strategy, and support members at retirement.

Which schemes may apply for the Pension Quality Mark?

Defined contribution (DC) schemes 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.

How to Apply

The PQM Application Form   takes you through each of the Standards and lists the documents you should provide to demonstrate that you meet each of the five PQM Standards. You may provide web-links where appropriate.

These documents should be submitted with your completed application form. You do not need to pay anything at this stage.

What happens next?

We will usually acknowledge receipt of your application within 3 days.

The documents you have supplied will be stored securely, and will only be accessible by the PQM team. Your application and the data you have provided will be treated as confidential and any information will be managed in accordance with all relevant data protection regulations.

The PLSA will review the application and assess it against the PQM Standards. We may ask you to provide further information or clarification. A proportion of the applications will be reviewed by an external expert assessor, who will have access to the evidence you have provided.

Outcome of your application

We would normally be able to notify you whether the scheme has met the PQM standards within one month of receiving the application, if you have provided all the requested information. If we are unable to make a final decision, we will give you an update on the progress.

Once a scheme has been awarded with PQM we will add it to the list of PQM holders on this website. We will also send you a confirmation letter and a certificate, and we will email you the PQM logos that you can use on the scheme communications. We will also invoice you for the annual licence fee.

If the scheme has not met PQM Standards we will contact you to explain the reasons and give you the opportunity to supply further evidence if applicable.

If we still think the scheme does not meet PQM Standards we will refer the application to the PQM Standards Committee for a final decision. We will notify you that we are doing this and give you the opportunity to submit any other information that you think may be relevant.

If the scheme is not awarded PQM there are no costs to you.

Annual fee

There is an annual licence fee to use the Pension Quality Mark - we will send you an invoice when the fee is due. The fee is £950 pa for schemes with 500 or more active members, and £650 for schemes with up to 499 active members.


PQM holders are required to submit an application to retain and renew the PQM accreditation every second year. We will send you a reminder ahead of the date.

During 2019 existing PQM holders may renew aginst the previous standards using their online renewal form.  If you have any queries about your renewal, please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting an application for Pension Quality Mark you are agreeing to the PQM Terms and Conditions .

Latest news

02/07/2019 - New Pension Quality Mark open for applications read more

24/01/2019 - PQM Standards 2019 read more

Contact us

T: 020 7601 1736

In a complex industry such as pensions, both employers and employees need help to recognise high standards which initiatives like the PQM can offer.
Steve Webb, former Minister for Pensions