Barnardo’s to close DB pension scheme
“Our pension strategy is prudent and fair.” Kevin Barnes, director of finance at Barnardo’s said, when he announced that the children’s charity is to close its DB scheme to further contributions
Due to increasing liabilities of the Barnardo Staff Pension Scheme (BSPS), the trustees have decided to close the defined benefit (DB) scheme to future contributions from 31 March 2013.
Staff will be offered access to a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme from April. Barnardo’s says this DC scheme is “considerably more generous than the government requirements for auto-enrolment”.
“This proposal is in line with from the view of the Pension Regulator, and we believe that this is the responsible action to take, having already closed the scheme to new members in 2007,” its finance director Kevin Barnes said.
Making this change now, he says, will allow Barnardo’s to deal with future risks, meet their longstanding commitment to honour the already accrued staff benefits in the old pension scheme and ensure greater parity of benefits across staff.
Barnes said: “Each year Barnardo’s works to transform the lives of over 200,000 of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families. This is made possible by both the commitment and dedication of our staff, coupled with our on-going strong financial health.
“As the UK’s largest children’s charity we have a responsibility to be as prudent as possible in future-proofing our finances, and managing our pension deficit is vital to ensure that our priority remains providing services to those who need our help most. The continued unprecedented economic conditions have increased the volatility of the liabilities of all DB pension schemes and therefore the scale of the potential risks that such schemes are being forced to manage.”
Barnes said that despite the increased risks faced by all DB schemes, the pension deficit recovery plan that Barnardo’s agreed upon back in 2009 continues to perform well and the scheme is currently on track to have resolved the deficit ahead of the target date.
“We expect that the deficit in the scheme as assessed by the scheme’s actuary will be lower in 2012 than the last valuation in 2009. We are pleased with this achievement, particularly when contrasted with the performance in many other pension schemes over the same period."