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UK roundup: BT Pension Scheme, Accenture, HM Treasury

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The £40bn (€56.5bn) BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) has re-appointed Accenture to provide its administration system for its 300,000 members, extending the current arrangement for another eight years.

Accenture has been the scheme’s provider since 2000, when the BT Group and Accenture launched a joint venture, with the outsourcing firm providing pensions administration alongside HR services such a payroll, training and recruitment.

The scheme began reviewing the arrangement in 2013 and has appointed Accenture for an additional eight years.

Accenture does not market itself as a third-party administrator to other UK pension schemes.

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It provided the service to BTPS as part of the wider deal with BT.

However, it said it would continue building its capability to provide additional features to BTPS’s members, and grow its business in the UK.

Chairman of the scheme, Paul Spencer, said the company was appointed on new terms after a full review of the market.

“This new contract provides for further investment in the administration function to continue to enhance the service provided to members,” he said.

In other news, the UK government has begun consulting with the pensions industry on whether to cap or ban charges placed on defined contribution (DC) pension scheme members when they transfer out a scheme.

Since April, when HM Treasury brought in new freedoms to DC savers to access their savings as cash or income drawdown, the government grew concerned providers might restrict access by adding charges.

HM Treasury is also assessing whether to cap fees by assessing what may be “excessive”, and whether charges deter members from accessing savings.

The consultation runs for 12 weeks.

Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, criticised the government consultation for being non-specific on what charges and controls it wanted to identify or implement.

“[It is] more a case of kicking the ball down the road, pending further evidence, than anything else,” he said.

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