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NAPF celebrates 100th employer to receive its pensions quality mark for a defined contribution arrangement

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Vodafone has become the 100th employer to get the Pension Quality Mark (PQM) for offering its staff a high quality pension.

According to the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) this means 200,000 workers are covered by a PQM recognised pension. Vodafone has received PQM PLUS, the highest standard that can be attained through PQM.

It is the latest organisation to obtain the pensions industry's standard of excellence. Other recent employers include Nationwide, Capital One, Centrica, Roche and Liberty IT.

The standard distinguishes defined contribution (DC) pension schemes with good contribution rates, which are well run by employers and clearly communicated to staff.

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the NAPF, said: "This is a landmark achievement. PQM has been given to 100 employers for the pensions they offer to their staff. The awardees include small and medium-size firms, as well as FTSE 100 companies.

"We are encouraged by the result as it shows that employers across the board increasingly understand the importance of giving their employees good quality pensions.

"The UK is under saving for its retirement, but the continued growth of PQM is a cause for optimism. The more employers and staff recognise the importance of a quality pension, the better our chances of tackling our pension savings crisis.

"So congratulations to Vodafone and other PQM holders, and we encourage other employers to follow suit by applying for this important recognition."

Geoff McKenzie, head of pensions at Vodafone Group, added: "Vodafone is committed to providing long-term, sustainable pension plans, and the Pension Quality Mark further underlines the quality of our offering for current and prospective employees.

"Our company pension scheme remains a vital component in our benefits package to retain and attract the very best people."

PQM was launchedin September 2009 to recognise high-quality defined contribution (DC) pensions. It also aims to raise awareness amongst employers about the importance of providing solid pensions to staff.

There are two standards, PQM and PQM PLUS. To qualify for the mark, pension schemes need to meet the following criteria:

• Good contribution rates. For PQM, the total contributions need to be of at least 10%, with a minimum employer contribution of 6%. For PQM PLUS, they need to be of at least 15%, with the employer contributing at least 10%

• Good quality governance and low charges

• Clear and ongoing communication with the scheme members