The UK’s biggest pensions trade body has launched two new platforms for multi-employer pension schemes to give them a stronger voice.

The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has created separate multi-employer scheme forums for Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) pensions. The DB forum will be chaired by Joyce Martindale from RPMI and the DC forum by Mark Fawcett from NEST. The new forums will allow the NAPF to target its multi-employer lobbying activity and better meet these members’ needs.

The forums are open to any NAPF members offering multi-employer arrangements, and will cover issues ranging from transfers of DC pots to EU plans for Solvency II-type rules for DB funding.

Darren Philp, NAPF Policy Director, said:

“The advent of auto-enrolment is triggering the emergence of a new generation of large multi-employer pension schemes. Such arrangements could help savers secure better retirement outcomes because of the scale and efficiency they bring. But we now need to ensure that the regulatory conditions are in place to enable them to flourish even more.

“These new forums will give multi-employer schemes a direct channel into the heart of the NAPF so that we can represent their interests as effectively as possible. This will allow us to develop the right policies to take to the Government and the Regulator.”

Joyce Martindale, RPMI, who is a member of the NAPF’s Investment Council and chair of the Multi-Employer DB Forum, said:
“These new forums highlight the importance of multi-employer schemes to the NAPF and will provide a good two-way information flow between the NAPF’s Councils and the multi-employer scheme forums members.”

Mark Fawcett, Chief Investment Officer at NEST who is a member of the NAPF’s Investment Council and Chair of the Multi-Employer DC Forum, said:

‘‘The advent of automatic enrolment puts an increasing emphasis on multi-employer DC schemes. I look forward to representing NEST in working with others to build trust in and improve the overall quality of these schemes to help support better retirement outcomes for the millions more people likely to be enrolled from 2012.”

The two forums will be closely linked to the Retirement Policy Council and Investment Council, the two bodies through which the NAPF develops policy on behalf of its members.

The forums will be held three or four times a year, but one-day events on specific policy issues will also be organised throughout the year, and research projects will be carried out on relevant topics. The first meetings of the new forums took place at the end of July.