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Master Trusts - in more detail

Retirement savings provision in the UK is going through an unprecedented period of change and consolidation. Political reforms such as the introduction of Freedom and Choice, from April 2015, means no one has to buy an annuity.

The increasing regulatory focus on ensuring that schemes deliver value for money for members is forcing costs down and the governance burden ever upwards.


How a Master Trust Can Benefit You

Our DC pensions expert takes a look at Master Trusts in more detail.

Since the statutory default retirement age of 65 was abolished in 2011, employers can only enforce a compulsory retirement age which is objectively justified. But economic pressures and societal changes mean more employees than ever are working beyond their state pension age.

What Is a Master Trust and How Does It Work?

A master trust is an occupational pension scheme for multiple nonassociated employers, in which each employer is included in a separate section of the master trust arrangement. Although governance and regulatory responsibilities sit with a Master Trust Trustee, participating employers retain the ability to make decisions about contributions, investments, and benefits.

A master trust offers employers the advantage of a strong governance capability, but with generally lower operating costs and greater simplicity than a single-employer scheme, which requires its own trust deed, rules, and trustees.

Our Master Trust helps you overcome pension provision challenges by:

Taking the compliance responsibility off you

Large employers are mitigating risk by moving legislative compliance responsibility, demands and complexities to a Mercer Master Trust. Mercer delivers Pensions Freedom and Choice changes within five months at no cost to our clients by utilising our scale and experience and the structure supporting our Mercer Master Trust. Comparable projects typically take nine to 12 months and cost multiple thousands of pounds.

Saving you costs while maintaining high quality

A commitment to continuous improvement is at the core of the Mercer Master Trust: Investment changes in the Mercer Master Trust are made automatically to save you investment consulting costs and to ensure your members are not left stranded with under-performing funds.

Focusing your teams on business improvement, not on service delivery

Relentless regulatory change and the complexity it brings force HR teams to focus on operations and delivery, rather than on strategy. By outsourcing pensions to a trustee who is legally accountable to act in your members’ best interests, you reduce management time while protecting the financial outcomes of your employees.

Achieving better outcomes

Moving to the Mercer Master Trust is more than a cost saving exercise. Our integrated communication strategy — based on in-depth research with leading behavioural scientists — includes best-in-class digital and face-to-face communications.

Adding value through active Investment Management

Sophisticated default investment options - the Mercer default investment fund has delivered benchmark outperformance, without taking excessive risk

Find out more about our personalised pension videos that put this theory into practice.

Offering simplified guidance as well as full-service retirement planning and advice, the Mercer Master Trust delivers annuity broking and integrated drawdown with institutional pricing through retirement.

The Mercer Master Trust also provides short-term savings options such as ISAs on the same platform, giving you the assurance of future-proofing and allowing you to offer short and long-term savings in the same package.

You can also have confidence in knowing that the Mercer Master Trust was awarded Master Trust Offering of the Year at the 2016 European Pensions Awards and winner of 'Mastertrust' at Pensions Insight's DC Awards 2017.

Learn More about Master Trusts & If They Are Suitable for You

A master trust arrangement could provide more access to a better range of investment options — economies of scale may result in “better” default funds. However, employers must still engage with their provider to ensure that their default strategy is a good “fit”, taking into account the employer’s experience of typical retirement patterns within its workforce.



Our Master Trust guide provides key questions to ask when deciding whether a Mercer Master Trust is a good solution for your core business needs. The guide also provides expert views from Wragge & Co and Best Trustees.

This guide provides key questions to ask when deciding whether a master trust is a good solution for your business and offers important criteria for selecting the best option for your company.


Master Trust: One Page Fact Sheets

Check out these factsheets to learn more about the benefits of Master Trusts.




Are you looking for a well-managed retirement plan for your employees at a reasonable price? Our cost fact sheet shows you how.

Take a look at our fact sheet that identifies how you can have the best retirement plan for your employees while still focusing on the core needs of your business.

Do you need a retirement solution that works in your employees and company's best interest? Our quality fact sheet illustrates why our Master Trust is unique to Mercer.

View Factsheet

View Factsheet

View Factsheet


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