- "In the last 20 years our business has changed considerably…and as the focus of our business has changed, Bird Luckin have moved with us."
Alex Tanner, George Tanner (Shalford) Ltd
- "Bird Luckin has looked after us incredibly well for over 60 years, they are pro-active and innovational - meeting all our needs to help us achieve our aims."
Richard Stubbings, Cliffords Limited
- "I can honestly say that Bird Luckin are the best firm of accountants and auditors I have ever dealt with - and I don't say that lightly!"
Colin Webb, Walthamstow Stadium
- "It's important for us to know that we will always be able to contact the right people to give us the right advice and support."
Jane Bennett, Bennetts Funeral Directors
- "Although we deal mainly with one Partner … we also know that if we need to contact someone else who is a specialist in another area, we can get the advice we need quickly and easily"
Jeremy Ruggles, J.S. Wright & Sons Ltd
- "Bird Luckin got us to a stage which would have taken us months - if not years - to reach on our own, and they got us there in a matter of weeks"
Matthew Sullivan, SNC Ltd
- "You can be a good accountant, but if you don't have an understanding of the industry it can be very difficult. "There are two or three people we have regular contact with at Bird Luckin who know our business well, and it makes a difference.""
Robert Church, W A Church (Bures) Ltd
- "The work which Bird Luckin has done for Boddingtons over the past few months has helped shape our future direction for the better."
John Warner, Chief Executive, Boddingtons Ltd
- "Bird Luckin has acted for us since our inception 10 years ago. They have a very 'can do' yet highly professional attitude - we are very appreciative of their support and advice over the years."
Marlon Fox, Outlook Property Ltd
New defined benefit pension rules offer breathing space for employers
The Pensions Regulator is to relax the rules regarding defined benefit pension schemes, after fears that businesses are putting themselves at risk struggling to maintain funding in the current economic climate.
Publishing its first annual funding statement, the new guidelines are aimed at over one third of the UK's 6,500 defined benefit schemes and will give employers more time to plug growing pension deficits.
The new rules come in the wake of low interest rates, poor returning investments and the effects of quantitative easing (QE) on the value of defined benefit schemes, with the Pensions Regulator fearing that many businesses will be unable to meet their promises to employees unless the rules are relaxed.
Employers will be given some leeway by allowing them to to assume that investment returns will improve, in turn giving them more time to top up funds.
It is speculated the change will affect around 300 final salary pension schemes and around 600,000 members, although the Pension Regulator's own estimations believe that most schemes and employers should be able to fulfil their pension obligations to employers with either little or no change to existing plans.
Defined benefit pensions, typically known as 'final-salary' schemes, are widely considered the most generous pension policy for employees. However, faced with rising costs many companies are struggling to meet employee contributions, with many now closing final salary schemes completely to both new and existing members.
The Pensions Regulator's chief executive Bill Galvin said: "Employers that are struggling have greater breathing space to fill deficits over a longer period. However, we will draw a distinction between this group and those cases where schemes are substantially underfunded and employers are able to afford higher contributions. In such cases we will expect pension trustees to be taking steps to put their scheme on a more stable footing."
While the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the new rules, it said the regulator had failed to address the problems of QE on pension funds adequately.
"Increases in deficits distorted by QE lead to demands for even more money from hard-pressed employers, diverting money away from investment in growth and job creation and locking it away unproductively. This can have serious implications for firms' credit ratings, as well as their ability to raise finance and their market outlook. The best form of protection for members' employment benefits is a healthy, solvent employer and the Regulator and Department for Work and Pensions should put this first."
Detailed information on the changes can be found on the Pensions Regulator website (http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/).