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Annie Hayes

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HR directors take centre stage on pension provision

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The latest National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) annual survey reveals that HR directors are at the heart of company pension decision making.

HR also sits as trustees on 25 per cent of occupational pension schemes. Around a third of private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes remain open to new members, much the same as in 2006 (31 per cent in 2007, 33 per cent in 2006).

NAPF chief executive, Joanne Segars, said: “With both the gradual shift from salary related to money purchase pensions and a competitive labour market, the HR community has a growing and important role to play in good workplace pension provision. With the growth of money purchase pensions, employees will often look to their employers, very often their HR manager or director, for help and information on pensions issues.”

Over the next five years 40 per cent of private sector respondents with open DB schemes expect no changes to be made to pension arrangements. Twenty-two per cent expect to modify their schemes while retaining at least some DB elements, just 15 per cent expect new employees to be offered pure defined contribution (DC) money purchase pensions and 22 per cent felt unable to answer.

Applauding HR’s role in communicating pension strategy Segars said: “HR directors already go to considerable lengths to ensure that employees understand the pension benefits available with 60 per cent offering a website, for example. We predict the role of HR Directors in the world of workplace pensions will become even more important when Personal Accounts are introduced in 2012.”

The survey shows that employers operating DC schemes are, on average, contributing 7 per cent of pensionable pay – more than double the minimum 3 per cent required by the new Personal Accounts system due to be introduced in 2012. In addition, 9 per cent contributed 10 per cent or more.

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Annie Hayes

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Read more from Annie Hayes
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