Pension Scheme of the Year categories - entry criteria
This year, the UK Pensions Awards incorporate the Pension Scheme of the Year Awards, with three categories – Pension Scheme of the Year, Best Pension Scheme Communications Strategy and Pension Scheme Risk Reduction Initiative – dedicated to the achievements of pension schemes themselves.
In each category, pension scheme will need to submit an entry form, along with a submission up to 4 sides of A4 in length.
Pension Scheme of the Year category
The overall Pension Scheme of the Year category is open to both DB and DC schemes of all sizes but is not open to entry by commercial master trusts (which are covered by the ‘DC Master Trust of the Year’ and ‘DB Master Trust / Consolidator of the Year’ categories above.
Judges assessing this category will be looking at innovations the scheme has made over the 12 months to 31 December 2022; what entrants have done to improve member experience, service and outcomes; improvements and innovations they have made to their investment strategy; and how they have successfully engaged and communicated with their members. It will also assess how funds have improved their governance and administration during the period as well as at-retirement processes as applicable.
In particular, it will look at:
Innovation: Schemes should demonstrate innovations they have made over the 12 months to 31 December 2022 in order to improve the scheme or solve a specific problem. This will be worth 30% of the total mark.
Member Outcomes / Service to Members: What have entrants done to improve member outcomes / the experience for members / member service. This will be worth 15% of the total mark. Investment management: Companies with DC schemes should explain how their chosen investment strategy helps members achieve good outcomes as well as how these investment choices and charges are reviewed to ensure ongoing good value and outcomes. DB schemes should set out their investment strategies and show performance over one, three and five years. This will be worth 15% of the total mark.
Communication / Engagement: Judges will be looking for how schemes have successfully communicated with members and innovative ways they have used to make sure key messages have been understood by members (use of websites, webinars, social media, newsletters, meetings, roadshows, financial guidance etc). Judges will also look at measures schemes have taken to change communication strategies, educate members and raise their financial awareness in light of the pension freedoms. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
Governance: Entrants should set out what they have done to improve their scheme’s governance or ensure it is best in class – be it through a traditional trustee board, a pensions committee or other form of oversight. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
Administration: Schemes should demonstrate how they have improved their administration and ensure their admin is ‘best of class’. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
At-Retirement: Entrants should set out their at-retirement processes – detailing the support, communication and education given to members in the run-up to retirement and, for DC schemes, the process that is in place to help members choose an appropriate way to take income from the scheme. This will be worth 10% of the total mark.
Best Pension Scheme Communications Strategy
This category is open to both DB and DC schemes of all sizes but is not open to entry by commercial group personal pension providers, master trusts or consolidators (which would be covered by the ‘Pensions Communication Initiative of the Year’ categories in the UK Pensions Awards. GPP providers and commercial master trusts are, however, allowed to put forward an entry on behalf of one of their employer or pension scheme clients.
Judges assessing this category will be looking for evidence of a successful communications or engagement project or strategy over the year to 31 December 2022 – particularly looking for evidence on the effectiveness of its communication, the way it has used technology to support its strategy and any innovations it has employed.
Pension Scheme Risk Reduction Initiative
This category is open to DB schemes that have undergone or are undergoing a risk reduction exercise – be that the use of bulk annuity products such as buy-in or buyout; the use of longevity swaps or through things like member option exercises. It will be largely based on work done to 31 December 2022 (ie the majority of the work for a transaction or exercise should have been completed in 2022).
Judges will look at how trustees assessed potential reduction offerings, how they implemented the strategy and how the strategy fits in with the rest of the scheme's asset portfolio and will develop in the future. It will also assess how the risk reduction exercise was communicated to members.