The Billington Group began its journey back in 1858 when Edward Billington began importing tea, coffee and sugar to the UK and soon became a full trading company. In the 1900’s, Billington’s moved into the agricultural sector as well as being involved in the distribution of sweets, savouries and sauces. The group is now composed of five divisions across the agricultural and food ingredients sectors.

The Billington Group

The divisions are united by a strong family ethos, and the company’s commitment to its pension provision for all employees is a key part of this. We started working with Cullen Wealth about six years ago when we had to implement auto-enrolment.

How did Cullen Wealth help?

Karen Robinson and her team helped to find the best fit for us in terms of provider and worked with us on payroll systems, employee rights and compliance as we made the transition. It was a tight timeframe to meet all the requirements but they were really well organised in showing us what needed to be done and in keeping us on track. They even sent a member of their team to sit with us in the office as we uploaded the first pensions onto a new screen which was extremely helpful.

More recently, we’ve decided to harmonise the various pension schemes across the divisions within the company. We have a mix of demographics across the entire Group and also inherited different levels of pension, all using different criteria which made it extremely complex from a payroll point of view. The challenge was to unite and simplify them all into one scheme.

Cullen Wealth helped us scope out the project over a period of 12 months, investigated all the rules of the particular schemes and produced a giant matrix to summarise everything. They were proactive in suggesting practical ways we could reduce costs and streamline procedures.

The outcome

As a result, Cullen Wealth recommended a different provider and have helped us bring 80% of our employees under one single umbrella scheme, with just one business left to move across. This has made a significant impact in simplifying all the rules and regulations. The team is good at telling us what we must include in documents from a compliance point of view, but have a real skill at putting it in our own language.

Employees have been given the opportunity to have one-to-one meetings or group workshops with an adviser from Cullen Wealth. Cullen Wealth make the world of pensions accessible, providing a range of different communication channels. We’ve had very good feedback from staff about their meetings with their advisers over the years.

The annual governance meeting we have with Cullen Wealth has been really valuable in helping us see how employees are treating their pensions and the percentage of uptake on workshops etc. It also enables us to focus on any forthcoming legislation that might impact us.

Karen and her team are professional, dynamic and proactive – always looking for continuous improvements they can suggest. They’re closely aligned with us from a business point of view and we enjoy working with them. After all, when you’re poring over detailed pension spreadsheets with someone, it helps if you get on well with them!

Lindsey Broadbent
Group People Director