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NAPF defends pensions quality mark

The National Association of Pension Funds has defended its pensions quality mark after coming in for criticism from businesses and providers.

The pensions quality mark was designed by the NAPF to act as a measure that defined contribution schemes met certain standards, and that they are suited to employers looking for a scheme provider for employees. It is awarded to schemes based on their contribution rates, governance and charges.

It was introduced in 2009, and several schemes including Nest, The People’s Pension and Now:Pensions carry the label. 

A ‘pensions quality mark plus’ label highlights schemes that offer higher minimum contributions.

Speaking at the Money Marketing auto-enrolment invitation in London last week, the Federation of Small Businesses questioned whether the pensions quality mark was valid.

FSB senior development manager for London Matthew Jaffa said: “Having a quality mark where not everyone necessarily makes the standard may be more helpful to small businesses. They are not pensions experts so they rely on digestible information.”

Standard Life head of proposition Alan Ritchie said: “We do need something that addresses the quality point on the defined contribution side. One problem with the quality mark is that if everyone gets it, how do you compare?”

But speaking after the event, NAPF policy lead on DC pensions Richard Wilson says: “We have awarded the pensions quality mark to seven mastertrusts and rejected two. Achieving the pensions quality mark is a robust process which takes months to get through. Several of the schemes that have got the pensions quality mark have had to make changes to their governance in order to achieve it.”

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