Ensuring a bright future at Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited
Kingfisher PLC is Europe’s leading home improvement retailer, operating more than 1,100 stores in 10 countries across Europe. Kingfisher includes brands such as B&Q, Screwfix, Brico Dépôt and Castorama, and 6 million customers shop in its stores every week. To keep their operations humming, the retailer employs 79,000 people and offers a pension scheme in the UK – the Kingfisher Pension Scheme (KPS) – through its corporate trustee company, Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited. Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited began using the Diligent Boards™ solution in 2012.
For the tens of thousands of employees who have worked for Kingfisher over the years, saving for their retirements is made easier and more secure through the KPS. Safeguarding employees’ hard-earned money requires a prudent investment strategy. And those investment decisions were overseen by the Kingfisher Pension Trustee’s board of directors.
The Trustee’s main board meets four times a year. In addition, within the board of directors, there are four sub-committees that meet every quarter for a total of 20 meetings overall. For each of those meetings, a full two days are spent preparing materials. That included copying stacks of paper reports that contained from 180 to 360 pieces of paper and couriering information to the trustee directors in the UK. At one sub-committee meeting, a trustee director mentioned using Diligent Boards in her role on the B&Q PLC board. Kingfisher Pension Trustee decided to try it for its meetings as well.
When Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited began its assessment of Diligent Boards, security was top of mind, as the KPTL deals with highly sensitive information about the investments and retirement status of current and past employees. Another concern centred on ease of use. Some of the trustees were unfamiliar with iPads and were worried about the transition from paper to digital.
According to An-Magritt Aune, PA to Head of Group Pensions at Kingfisher, “Some of our trustees were a bit hesitant in the beginning. But after the initial training, people told me they couldn’t believe how easy it was to use.”
The transition from paper-based board materials to the digital board portal was nearly instantaneous. Currently, there are a total of 15 users of the Diligent Boards solution, and Kingfisher Pension Trustee plans to migrate more users in the upcoming months. Now Trustee Directors can participate in meetings more efficiently because they have up-to-date information to power better decision-making. Thanks to Diligent Boards, administrators can add links to agenda items that allows readers to click and be taken instantly to relevant information. Beyond sparing reams of paper that would have been used for board materials, the company saves money, too. In fact, Aune believes Diligent has saved the company over £18,000 a year.
Another feature that makes communication better is the calendar feature that synchs all board members’ calendars in one place. The Archive is also a favourite feature, as it allows administrators to upload years’ worth of existing board materials so that prior information is just a click away for directors. According to Aune, “It’s something that would literally have been impossible with the old paper method.”