Re-engaging our client’s Scheme members on wind up
Following a number of corporate transactions, the former mighty Unigate plc was a much reduced Uniq plc supporting the much larger Uniq Pension Scheme. Having been through the Pension Protection Fund assessment period, but with sufficient assets to buy out the Scheme, the Trustee was faced with the task of re-engaging the membership of some 20,000 members with the end stages of the wind up of the scheme. During this time, the membership had received occasional announcements with various updates and information. We were given the task of creating a strategy which would explain the last remaining steps of the wind-up and give members a final statement of their benefits before transfer to the insurer.
The challenges on this case were many and varied. We started by creating a new style newsletter so that the members realised we had now reached a different phase of the wind up and should engage with the process. The Trustee had completed a check of Scheme benefits and needed to explain the outcome of that process to members, some of whose benefits needed to be adjusted. We wrote to those members to explain the situation, told them how they were affected and what action the Trustees intended to take. We took great care in the drafting to create empathy with members and to clearly explain what had happened. The outcome was that there were relatively few issues or complaints.
In addition, a significant proportion of deferred members, pensioners and dependants of the Scheme were entitled to a Wind up Lump Sum. We had to explain the option clearly and make it easy for members to respond and choose to take a lump sum instead of an ongoing pension. Specially created forms were included with the final personalised benefit statements, of which there were 10 different versions, to make this easy for members.
As the costs of the wind up communications were met by the Scheme, the Trustee wanted to make sure the information provided was accurate and clear but still attractively presented, within a budget that maximised the funds available to provide member’s benefits. We came up with designs to fit that essential requirement. The Trustee also wanted members to recognise that valuable Scheme funds had not been diverted away from providing the best possible member outcomes.
The Uniq Trustee was able to successfully re-engage with members, explain the final benefits and choices for members before transferring the remaining liabilities to the insurer.