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New Pension Quality Mark open for applications
Applications are being invited for a new set of industry-wide standards showcasing those pension schemes providing high contribution levels and high standards of governance for millions of savers.

New applicants will need contribution rates of 12% or more to meet the new PLSA Pension Quality Mark (PQM) standards. Previously, contribution rates were set at a 10% minimum. This change reflects research from our Hitting the Target report last year – and by the Pension Policy Institute – that a 12% contribution is necessary to reach a good standard of living in retirement.

The launch of our new standards is accompanied by the announcement of the members of our new PQM Standards Committee, which will have oversight of the Standards.

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PQM Standards 2019
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), is today (24 January 2019) launching new standards for its Pension Quality Mark (PQM) to help raise the quality of single-employer defined contribution (DC) pension schemes.

PQM was developed in 2009 and is an accreditation scheme designed to increase confidence in workplace pensions by helping employers demonstrate the quality of their scheme.

The new standards recognise the changes to DC pensions over recent years and focus on a number of key areas to help ensure savers can get better outcomes in retirement.

• Increasing pension contributions to employees' pensions to a minimum of 12% of salary, with at least 6% contributed by the employer. The new level, and a requirement that all employees must be automatically enrolled at that level, will be phased in over the next two years.

• Improved governance by enhancing the quality of pension trustee boards and employer-employee pension committees through focussing on skills, experience, knowledge and understanding.

• Having an appropriate default investment strategy for the members, and ensuring it is regularly reviewed.

• Requiring schemes to better understand their membership, with greater focus on the overall experience of scheme members.

The PQM has, to date, been governed by an independent company, PQM Ltd. However, standards have increasingly become a more significant part of PLSA policy work, so, alongside the introduction of the new standards, we plan to establish a new PQM Standards Committee to drive forward its work. The new Committee chair and the full membership will be announced soon. Our work on standards will be reported through the executive team to the Boards.

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PQM Distinction award 2018
The Pensions Quality Mark (PQM) has announced that Tesco Retirement Savings Plan is the winner of its annual Distinction Award, recognising the best of the best in pension communications.
The announcement was made at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's (PLSA) Annual Conference in Liverpool by Matthew Doyle, PQM Managing Director.

Tesco and a select number of other pension schemes were put forward over the year by PQM Assessors to be considered for this award. The winner was then chosen by a panel of independent experts, including communications experts and financial journalists.

Tesco is a leading retailer with over 3,400 stores and more than 300,000 colleagues in the UK. Its pension scheme looks after the interests of 300,000 members of which around 210,000 are made up of its employees.

The pension scheme was seen as excellent at producing communications materials for its workforce. Judges praised the scheme for keeping employees in mind when compiling communications, ensuring staff would clearly understand the information included.

The judges also commented that they felt Tesco's communications focused on what savers would want to know, rather than just what the scheme wanted to tell them.

The emphasis of putting the pension scheme trustees in the employees' shoes also sat well with the judges.

The judges also highly commended the shortlisted schemes including CCEP Personal Pension Plan and Lendlease UK Pension Scheme - DC Section for their communications work.

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Latest news

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

24/01/2019 - PQM Standards 2019 read more

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Securing this independent recognition for the Manchester United Group Pension Scheme is an important step in the way we communicate the benefits of retirement planning to staff.
Philip Townsend, Director of Communications at Manchester United