We were engaged to support the RSPCA with reviewing its current DC section (within a hybrid trust arrangement) and help it to define the most appropriate pension arrangement that can deliver valued and cost effective DC benefit provision.
The decision was taken to move to a Master Trust arrangement and in the design phase we worked closely with the RSPCA to agree the features which would enhance the overall offering, such as access to different retirement options (income drawdown), improved member engagement tools, access to ESG funds and technology-led proposition, as well as selecting a provider which matched its own cultural values.
Following the selection of a new Master Trust provider (overseen by BW), we moved to assisting the RSPCA with a formal consultation stage working closely with its Reward team. This included hosting two group presentations explaining the proposals and helping affected staff understand the need for the proposal, how it might affect them and to allow them to participate in the consultation in an informed manner, ultimately helping the RSPCA arrive at a way forward that would meet the needs of all parties in the optimum way possible.
The final phase of the exercise was the implementation of the Master Trust scheme and the transition of assets.
What was our role?
As well as the original consultancy advice and discussions, we supported the RSPCA with:
- design work around the new Master Trust DC arrangement, including a provider recommendation;
- working collaboratively with the Joint Working Group which included employee representatives and the trustees;
- drafting and reviewing communication material (with compliance reviews);
- delivering presentations to staff;
- responding to member questions during the consultation process;
- support answering technical questions; and
- the smooth implementation of the DC scheme working with the DC provider and the RSPCA.
Where did we exceed expectations?
We developed a close working relationship with the Reward team which allowed us to understand their preferred way of working and what areas of the project they wished us to lead on. We established early on that we would always be on hand to help and the client felt they could call us whenever they had a query or concern (from a quick five minute phone call, to impromptu Teams meetings) the client knew they could reach out and resolve matters quickly. This built a relationship of trust and partnership which was invaluable when dealing with an evolving and potentially sensitive project of this nature.
"The client knew they could reach out and resolve matters quickly"
It was important that we demonstrated flexibility and pragmatism when working on a project that continues to evolve and have the ability to adapt seamlessly to changing requirements. The regular engagement and communication channels we had established between the RSPCA and DC pension provider ensured there was an appropriate forum to raise issues and agree best way forward.
Furthermore, we supported the RSPCA in navigating the various relationships (working collaboratively with the trustees, internal communications to key stakeholders, and responding to member queries) tailored to the needs of the RSPCA. This resulted in a very positive consultation process and a real team spirit among all stakeholders working towards a common goal.
"We demonstrated flexibility in our approach ... ensuring that all views were heard and considered"
We provided robust technical support to the RSPCA through the consultation process. Our balanced and clear presentation of the proposal built credibility which helped the employee representatives and trustees understand the purpose and potential impacts of the proposal, in turn helping constructive dialogue. We demonstrated flexibility in our approach through the project keeping an open mind to supporting the RSPCA and ensuring that all views were heard and considered.
As the exercise involved moving employees from an own trust DC to a Master Trust arrangement it was important to provide clear, unbiased communications explaining the key benefits and differences between the current scheme and the new plan.
All of the above ensured we delivered the project on time and in line with the client’s expectations. Throughout the project we considered where there was the potential for cost savings (such as utilising the DC pension provider to deliver on key aspects) and allowing us to focus on where our services could genuinely add value.
"I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all of your help and support. You have been absolutely fantastic and are such a great organisation to work with."
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