News reaches me that the Pensions Trust, who provide a multi-employer pension scheme covering 100’s of small charities and not for profit organisations has decided to close the scheme for all future benefit accrual from April 2010. Now I’ve been banging on for a number of years about the headaches this scheme has been causing small charitable bodies (frequently without them even knowing about them!!).
The provision of final salary benefits for many of these organisations was patently unaffordable and the promotion of them patently unacceptable with a car crash in the offing. But the car crash has just become a train wreck and one that’ll take a long, long time to resolve. Employers were gradually becoming more aware of the issues as contributions rose steadily year on year (18% in 2002 to 29.75% in 2008) to unsustainable levels for many organisations but the picture has become very stark indeed with this announcement. Participants will have the opportunity to review their benefit provision and this time they really need to get it right and arrive at a solution that meets their needs and provides an affordable, competitive and sustainable arrangement for the organisation and their staff. Boards of trustees must not accept a lone view from a discredited messenger but must seek out independent advice to identify a course of action most suitable for their organisation.