There are fundamentally two ways of providing a workplace pension scheme. One is through contract-based direct contribution schemes and the other is through a form of trust. Contract-based direct contribution schemes are more commonly known as workplace personal pensions. Although the employer selects the provider, manages payments and makes contributions, the actual legal contract regarding the pension is between each individual employee and the provider. These schemes are not trusts and therefore there is no board of trustees to oversee them, but employers can be involved in the management of their pension schemes.
Trust-based pension schemes come in two main variations. Standard trust-based pensions are created by employers either individually or in co-operation with other employers. They are invested for the benefit of their members under the direction of a group of trustees. Master Trusts are essentially super-trusts, which accept any members who meet their qualifying criteria. They may be run commercially or as not-for-profit and in either case members may benefit from economies of scale. PQM-Ready Master trusts are master trusts which meet particularly high quality standards regarding governance and communications. Employers who make a certain level of contributions into PQM-Ready trusts can apply for the Pension Quality Mark, which can prove very attractive when recruiting staff.
Auto enrolment pension service providers
There are a number of different organisations which can help you to set up a suitable pension scheme. Most obviously there are the pensions providers themselves. Depending on the provider they may offer standardised products or be able to adapt them to individual requirements. Some providers can even support tailor-made products. There are also firms which specialise in managing employee benefits arrangements. Finally there are accountants and financial advisers who may create and manage pensions themselves or they may have arrangements, possibly, preferential arrangements with certain providers.
The value of the investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back as much as you put in.