BT head of pensions speaks at Deloitte pensions seminar

Kevin O'Boyle (left), BT head of pensions, with Andrew Mewis from Deloitte

Companies need to do more to make it easier for employees to save for retirement, according to BT’s head of pensions, Kevin O’Boyle.

Mr O’Boyle, who was speaking at a Deloitte pensions breakfast seminar in Birmingham, said it is an individual employee’s responsibility to put enough away for retirement, but employers can facilitate this by making it easy for them to save.

In the past year, BT has made significant changes to its UK pension schemes. The telecoms giant has introduced a new group self-invested personal pension (Sipp) that has a minimum employee contribution of five per cent, but offers a bigger basic employer contribution of eight per cent in return. The company previously had a trust-based plan that matched employee contributions on a sliding scale from four per cent to ten per cent of salary.

Mr O’Boyle, who is responsible for more than 150 pension schemes at BT, said the new defined-contribution pension scheme was more beneficial than its predecessor to lower paid staff because it spreads employer contributions more evenly among members.

“The focus is to encourage all employees, particularly the lower paid, to contribute, and an innovative minimum employer contribution underpin will help participation,” he said.

“People were previously put off because they knew they could never afford to put in ten per cent.”

Mr O’Boyle said companies needed to realise where their paternal responsibility lies regarding pensions.

He said: “We want our staff to be more responsible, so we have given them the tools and opportunities to do this. It’s also about giving employees enough information to make informed choices, as well as providing support and guidance.”

Andrew Mewis, director and head of pensions at Deloitte in the Midlands, said: “BT has made significant changes to its pension arrangements over the last 12 months and offers its new employees an extremely attractive defined contribution proposition. It is clear that pensions sit firmly on the company’s overall reward strategy.”

ENDS

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