BESA has announced it is to close its Welplan master trust pension scheme.
The scheme, which is run as part of BESA’s Welplan welfare benefit and pensions subsidiary, has operated in the HVAC sector since 1988.
The decision to close Welplan Pensions comes as a result of the Pensions Regulator’s Master Trust Authorisation regime, which came into effect on 1 April.
BESA says the new regime has made pursuing authorisation too costly for many small and medium‐sized trusts and, after a strategic review, the Welplan Board decided it was no longer viable to support the scheme in the long term.
The Welplan scheme will operate as normal until the Trustee Board has put arrangements in place to transfer its existing employers and members to a suitable alternative pension scheme. Welplan expects this process to take around five months to complete. Existing Welplan industry wide employee benefits schemes will be unaffected by this decision.
Following the scheme’s closure, Welplan will focus on investing in and growing its employee benefits schemes, which provide sickness, accident, death and other benefits to specialist construction industry companies.
All contributions into the scheme will be held securely in trust, along with members’ accumulated funds, and Welplan will continue to provide financial and administrative support during the closure process.
Welplan chief executive Bruce Kirton said: “Closure has been a very difficult decision. Our team in Penrith have always been and will remain committed to offering the best possible service and value to our employers and their employees.
“However, over recent months it has become increasingly clear that the new master trust regulatory environment is one that favours much larger scale schemes. There is now no meaningful place for small, or even medium‐sized, specialist businesses like ours.”