It’s a well-known fact that attracting and retaining a highly skilled, motivated workforce is crucial for the success of any business. In fact, employee turnover cost UK businesses an estimated £42bn in 2010, and it was estimated that by 2012 attrition rates had increased dramatically.
At Cullen Financial Planning, we understand that employee engagement is a key factor for you in your Employer sponsored pension schemes, and pride ourselves in working closely alongside our clients in Corporate schemes to ensure both Employer and Employee obtain full value for the investment made.
Client Profile: The Billington Group
In our first ‘Client Profile’, we’d like to introduce you to The Billington Group, who are a super example of how great businesses can turn what some consider a (soon to be) necessary but unwanted expense into a great investment in their people, even potentially saving your business time and money through a reduction in staff turnover and increase in morale.
Who are they?
The Billington Group (parent company Edward Billington and Son Ltd) is one of the UK’s largest privately owned businesses, trading and manufacturing a breadth of products and services in the food and agriculture sectors. Household brands you may be familiar with include “The English Provender Co.” range of chutneys, condiments and salad dressings and the “Very Lazy” range of cooking ingredients, which can be readily found on major supermarket shelves.
The Group’s ethos is to provide, through continuous innovation, world-class products and services to their customers. Attracting and retaining a highly skilled, motivated workforce is therefore crucial for the success of the Group. Their employment benefit package, which includes a very generous pension provision to the tune of £830,000 per annum, plays a significant part in this.
What was the challenge?
As a manufacturer and supplier to the agriculture and food industry, and operating from around 13 sites throughout the UK, which includes factories and mills, a large number of employees are not office based and have limited access to IT. As a result, Employee engagement in their pension arrangements has historically proved difficult. This led to many employees sitting in scheme default funds with little or no understanding of the benefit that this pension investment being made on their behalf by the company , and indeed themselves, would provide on their retirement.
And the solution?
We commenced working with The Billington Group in November 2011. The pension scheme has 390 members and since our appointment we have held at least 780 face-to-face meetings with scheme members (2 per member), at their work location. Following these meetings:
- Each member has been individually risk profiled and is now investing in a portfolio of funds that is suited to their personal risk profile;
- Each member has reduced their scheme charges;
- We have reviewed and given advice on over 500 pension plans that employees have accumulated during their working life;
- We have worked with a number of members to reclaim in excess of £20,000 higher rate tax relief on their personal contributions.
With what results?
At Cullen’s, we believe that the only true success indicator of this type of work is feedback directly from our clients – both employers and employees. With this in mind, we sent out feedback forms to members, to ensure our work had not been misdirected and we had achieved our and the Group’s objective.
The consensus of opinion is that the meetings were well run, well received and members have come away with a better understanding of their pension planning and the value of the company’s investment in their pensions.
In our commitment to working as partners and trusted advisors with our clients, we are fast approaching annual review time where our Consultants will be deployed around the country meeting members face to face, answering any questions they may have and providing them with the opportunity to revisit their pension plans.
If you would like to take advantage of a similar partnership and service levels, then please drop us a line or give us a call. We will be happy to help.
Further information on The Billington Group can be found on their website www.ebsgroup.co.uk