‘Milestone’ moment as Fram Farmers launches pension service

Fram Farmers chief executive Richard Anscombe.

Fram Farmers chief executive Richard Anscombe. - Credit: Archant

A farmers’ co-operative boss said he was “chuffed to bits” as it launched a new pensions service for its members.

Fram Farmers decided to set up the pension initiative after it was itself obliged to comply with new Government rules which require employers to auto-enrol all their employees aged 22 up to State Pension Age in a scheme.

“You have got to do it if you employ one or more people – you don’t have a choice,” said chief executive Richard Anscombe.

“We thought: ‘Let’s put it all in place for them and give them, if you like, a pension in a box’.”

Having already done its homework while setting up a scheme for staff, the organisation, which has worked with a pensions consultancy on the project, felt it was well-placed to offer help to farmer-members.

“It went to the Fram Farmers board in January and here we are, introducing it to members. I think it’s really, really exciting,” said Mr Anscombe.

Members were already reacting “incredibly well”, he said.

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“I believe that we will look back in years to come and see this as a milestone new service provision for our members and a great example of us innovating amongst the cooperative sector,” he said.

The new Fram Farmers Pension Scheme will be launched by the end of this month.

The new Workplace Pension Reforms are due to come into effect progressively through to 2018 and mean most employees will need to be auto-enrolled in a pension scheme.

Mr Anscombe said some farmers were concerned they lacked the knowledge and time to implement such a scheme.

Having spent considerable time developing the pension scheme for Fram Farmers’ own employees they realised that offering it to member businesses would help them to meet their obligations without the time, cost and complication involved in establishing their own scheme.

Having mentioned the multi-employer pension concept to a number of members at various Pie and Pint meetings through the winter, at which Mr Anscombe meets informally with members, the co-op agreed to move forward with it.

Operated in conjunction with the One Pension Consultancy, the scheme will streamline and simplify members’ pension obligations to those who work within their businesses.

These include eligible monthly and weekly paid employees as well as seasonal workers and those on zero-hours contracts, if they meet the qualifying requirements.