News that Adrian Boulding has taken the chair at the Pension Quality Mark and that its new MD is crack Kiwi-saver Justine Tate, roused me to re-engage with a venture I had thought as much use as a chocolate teapot.
The idea is a good one. Employers pay to be get a kitemark from the NAPF that recognises they have gone the extra mile. The cost is justified by employee appreciation of the company’s pension as an outstanding part of overall reward and by the kudos it gives the PQM holder in the recruitment process.
PQM should be a net beneficiary of the recent budgetary changes which make pension saving a mainstream financial activity, rather than a branch line terminating at the annuity buffers.
PQM should also benefit from the DWP’s efforts to introduce minimum standards into workplace pensions. If we all know that there is a solid foundation, it’s easier to admire good architecture.
Nonetheless, PQM has a world to go from getting national recognition in the way the BSI kite marks (for instance) get national recognition. It currently is awarded to less than 200 employers. Since 10,000 employers have already staged auto-enrolment and 1.2m are still to do so, there is scope to widen it’s coverage.
So it’s up to those of us wishing to see public confidence in pensions to get behind Adrian and Justine and make this PQM thing happen in a mass market way.
Despite being dismissive of Pension Quality Mark (one), I’m going to big up PQM2 because meeting minimum quality standards shouldn’t be all we aspire to.
PQM2 needs to continue to promote proper contributions into DC pensions, proper engagement at both the accumulation and decumulation stages, ace operations, value for money and good governance.
With the new management in place, they might just manage it and get PQM to the masses.