Willis Backs Government Guidance on Greater Employer Involvement in Contract-Based Pension Schemes
London, UK, February 11, 2008 - The UK Employee Benefits Practice at Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, welcomes the continued drive by the Pensions Regulator for employers to introduce voluntary governance and education of contract-based pension provision. This stance was reiterated by the Pensions Regulator in a press release entitled “Encouraging Employer Engagement in GPPs” issued on January 31, 2008.
As increasing numbers of firms introduce contract pensions as the main form of pension provision, it is essential that the employer plays a role not only in the initial sourcing and placing of the arrangement, but also in the ongoing management and stewardship. Martin Ralph, Willis Pension & Retirement Benefits Director, comments, “The marketplace is continually changing and the providers are all adapting and enhancing their products at different rates. What may have been suitable at point of selection may no longer be the most appropriate.”
Surveys show that many employees are also suddenly left out in the cold as they lose the perceived protective trustee wrapper and take full ownership of contribution levels and fund selection, leading to a greater need for education. Mr Ralph believes that strong governance, and employee understanding and awareness programmes can provide a solution to these issues, enabling employers and employees alike to fully understand their pension arrangement and maximise the value that they get from this.
Mr. Ralph adds, “At Willis Employee Benefits, we believe that it is a case of when, rather than if, compulsory governance is introduced (a minimum level of which we suggest is long overdue), and we proactively seek client engagement through such programmes, operating governance panels comprising stakeholders from both the management and employee communities, and by providing tailored awareness programmes”.
Willis Employee Benefits Limited, a national Employee Benefits Practice advising on and arranging pension investment business and general insurance contracts and a member of the Willis Group, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 300 offices in some 100 countries, with a global team of approximately 16,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.