The awards shortlist was created by Pensions Insight in partnership with the Pensions Quality Mark. We wanted to recognise best in class schemes and consultants, looking for those that have really pushed the boundaries in communications, governance, investment or at-retirement.

We were looking for schemes that are putting members first, whether that’s prioritising value for money, member engagement or creating sound defaults that meet the challenges of freedom and choice.

We drew from Pensions Insight’s annual top 50 DC schemes research as well as from those schemes that have gone above and beyond to secure PQM’s top qualifications and recognition. And we also wanted to recognise the consultant and independent trustee firms that have helped schemes navigate the ever more complex DC landscape.

Best DC pension scheme
We were looking for schemes that have demonstrated great governance and that were meeting the challenges of the 21st century. We searched for schemes that have robust investment practices, excellent communications initiatives or those that had dealt best with the new at-retirement challenges.

  • Arco Ltd Stakeholder Pension Plan
  • Associated British Foods
  • Heineken
  • HSBC Bank UK Pension Scheme
  • Hymans Robertson Pension
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Kingfisher
  • Lend Lease
  • Northern Marine Group
  • Pearson GPP
  • Peel Ports Group Retirement Savings Plan
  • Warburtons

Best mastertrust
We were looking for mastertrusts that have gone above and beyond when it comes to creating a scheme that was fit for the widest number of members. Good communications was a must, as was making sure that investments are as innovative as they can be within a charge capped environment.

  • Aon
  • Aviva
  • Ensign
  • Nest
  • Smart Pension
  • The People’s Pension

Best IGC or mastertrust board
We were looking for signs of multi-employer schemes that had prioritised governance. Trustee boards were considered as was evidence such as chair’s statements. As the regulator continues to focus on consolidation we wanted to identify those boards that were best exemplifying good governance.

  • Aviva
  • Legal & General
  • Standard Life
  • The People’s Pension
  • Whitbread

Independent trustee company
Independent trustees form the bedrock of good scheme governance. We wanted to recognise those trustee firms that continue to show leadership and help their clients ensure that governance standards remain up to scratch.

Firms that have contributed to the wider debates around pensions, helping to lift standards across the industry were of particular note.

  • Capital Cranfield
  • PAN Group
  • PTL

DC consultancy of the year
We were looking for consultancies that were helping their clients manage the new DC landscape. In particular, those that were challenging provider or launching new products to help schemes secure the best possible future for their members.

  • Aon
  • Barnett Waddingham
  • Hymans Robertson
  • JLT

Communications consultancy of the year
This award recognises those consultancies that have helped their scheme clients overcome the engagement barriers in DC pensions.
We were looking for companies that had developed tools and strategies to help foster better pensions understanding, that had strategies for increasing contributions and had helped schemes help their members navigate at-retirement.

  • AHC
  • Landscape
  • Quietroom

Financial wellbeing consultancy of the year
It’s becoming increasingly clear that pensions as a benefit cannot sit in isolation and that we need to find ways to promote general financial wellbeing among employees.

This award was designed to recognise those consultancies that were helping organisations develop wellbeing strategies whether that’s financial education, developing well-balanced financial benefits, or streamlining programmes to help promote better finances among staff.

  • Barnett Waddingham
  • JLT
  • Neyber
  • Wealth at Work

Scheme strategy awards

Most innovative scheme investment approach
This award looks to recognise those schemes that offer best in class investment approaches, whether that’s through regularly reviewed defaults, strong positions on ESG, introducing new asset classes or innovative investment strategies designed to meet the changing challenges of growing DC pots.

  • Abbott Retirement Saver
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • J P Morgan Pension Plan
  • Nest
  • Railways Pension scheme
  • Scottish widows pension plan
  • T. Rowe Price International UK Pension Fund

Best at-retirement strategy
This award rewards those schemes that are best dealing with the challenges of freedom and choice. We looked for schemes that offered seamless transitions. Those that had communications initiatives or even advice at retirement, and those that had made options such as drawdown available in house.

  • Action for Children
  • Arla Foods Worksave Plan
  • BNP Paribas DC Pension Scheme
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Legal & General
  • LifeSight by Willis Towers Watson
  • Rolls Royce
  • Sony UK Pension Trust Limited
  • The Co-operative PACE DC

Best communications strategy
Here we were looking for schemes that had gone above and beyond on communications. We either wanted schemes that have consistently demonstrated strong communications with members, or those that had launched new strategies or initiatives to deal with a specific challenge faced by members. We recognised those that have done more to provide education and advice as well as those who have prioritised increasing contributions or explaining at-retirement options.

  • Associated British Foods Pension Scheme
  • Bank of England
  • Church Administrators Pension Fund DC Section
  • Coca Cola Europe
  • Heineken
  • Lend Lease
  • Morrisons Retirement Saver
  • Nationwide Group GPP
  • Telefonica UK Pensions Plan
  • Tesco
  • Total UK

Best approach to governance
This award is designed to recognise good governance. We recognised those schemes with strong boards of trustees in place. Those that regularly reviewed their investment strategies, and those that could demonstrate that they fully understood members needs. Value for money was key here, as was demonstrating that schemes had kept abreast of the changing regulatory environment.

  • Canal and River Trust Group Flexible Retirement Plan
  • First Actuarial Workplace Pension Scheme
  • Fluor Limited Retirement Plan
  • Forth Ports DC Plan
  • Hymans Robertson Staff Pension Plan
  • The People’s Pension

Best use of technology
Technology is changing the way we deal with everything in DC pensions from communications and engagement to investment strategy. We were looking for schemes that had harnessed new innovations and used them to create real solutions to benefit their members.

  • My LV= Pension Plan
  • National Grid YouPlan
  • Smart Pension

Best workplace pensions initiative
Some issues need to be addressed at a level beyond the scheme membership. This award looks to recognise those initiatives that have been designed with the good of UK pensions and savers in mind. We were looking for campaigns that have really influenced the world of DC pensions and which can help overcome some of the biggest challenges facing DC.

  • Good Communications Guide
  • Pensions Awareness Day
  • The Simpler Annual Statement

Best employer contribution structure or approach to retirement benefits
We all know that members of schemes with generous contribution structures are far more likely to experience better retirement outcomes. Equally, companies that pour resources into education or other retirement benefits clearly have employees best interests at heart. This award recognises the businesses that have prioritised retirement among employees and – critically – put their money where their mouths are.

  • Arco Ltd
  • Baker Hughes
  • Caterpillar
  • Diageo
  • DMG media
  • Heineken
  • MSD
  • Total UK