Punter Southall Aspire launches AVC master trust

Pensions-savings-retirement-piggy bankPunter Southall Aspire is launching a new master trust for additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) for DB scheme members so schemes do not have to themselves meet the Pension Regulator’s new defined contribution Code of Practice.

TPR’s DC Code introduces a  value for money test covering scheme management and governance, administration, investment and communications. Punter Southall Aspire says the new Code may lead to disproportionate governance costs, particularly if the value of AVC investments in the scheme is low.

Trustees and sponsors facing this challenge can assign their scheme’s AVC benefits to the Punter Southall Aspire Master Trust. The independent pension trustee teams at Capita Asset Services and Pitmans have been appointed to the master trust, which is seeking accreditation under the Master Trust Assurance Framework, which has been jointly developed by ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and TPR.

Punter Southall Aspire launched in February, bringing together Punter Southall Defined Contribution Consulting; CAMRADATA, the investment research firm; and Aspire to Retire, a member communications services provider.

Punter Southall Aspire chief executive Steve Butler says: “Employers are facing increasing pressure to help their employees plan for retirement. At the same time, many DB AVCs are outdated in terms of both investment strategy and fee structures, representing a headache for trustees in making sure they’re managed properly. The Punter Southall Master Trust represents a simple and cost-effective option that also offers members flexibility upon reaching retirement.”