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APPLYING FOR The pension Quality mark

This page describes the application process. Please use the same application form for renewals.  If you have any queries or concerns about applying, or if 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.


You can use this form for new applications and renewals:  PQM Application form  

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, group SIPPs and schemes using a master trust.   If your scheme has DB and DC sections you can apply for PQM for the DC section. 

How to Apply and renew PQM

The PQM Application Form   takes you through each of the Standards and lists the documents you can provide to demonstrate that you meet each of the five PQM Standards. You may provide web-links where appropriate.    If you don't have exactly the documents detailed, we can usually agree on alternative ways of showing that the scheme meets the standards.  

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

If you are unsure whether your scheme meets the PQM standards, or have questions about what evidence to provide, please contact us  and we'll be happy to discuss the application informally.   

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.

Terms and Conditions

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

Contact us

T: 020 7601 1736

Latest news


07/10/2020 - The Children's Society - the value of PQM read more

We welcome the Pensions Quality Mark as an independent benchmark to help employers with this important communications task, and we?re delighted to practice what we preach in securing the Pension Quality Mark PLUS for our own scheme.
Lisa Sarjeant - HR Director, CIPD