Marks and Spencer PLC will freeze its U.K. defined benefit fund in April 2017, with members offered the option to enroll in its defined contribution plan.
The £8.5 billion ($11.1 billion) M&S Pension Scheme, London, was closed to new members in 2002. Sponsoring employer M&S said in a statement on its website Friday that it would make the changes following a comment period with its national employee representative group on proposed changes, announced in its latest annual report published in June.
The pension fund had a £204 million surplus as of March 31, 2015, according to its most recent triennial valuation. That improved from a £290 million deficit at its previous triennial valuation, dated March 31, 2012. The sponsoring employer has made additional contributions, and the pension fund has also benefited from strong investment returns, said the annual report.
Members will be enrolled in the existing Your M&S Pension Savings Plan, London, a DC plan. The size of the plan could not be learned by press time.
Pension fund participants who choose not to enroll in the DC plan will receive death-in-service benefits at four times their salary, the statement said.
M&S said the decision to freeze the plan has been announced to pension fund participants, and a series of briefings will take place. The company will also write to employees with details of the changes.
Spokesmen for the company could not be reached for comment by press time.