Archive for August 2015

Rachel Graham

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have recently issued guidance for defined benefit (DB) schemes on how to assess and monitor the employer covenant (“the guidance”). This guidance aims to provide trustees and employers of DB occupational pension schemes with detailed good practice guidance to assist with their duties in the process of employer covenant assessment. This guidance will be welcomed by DB scheme trustees as to quote my colleague Richard Smith’s June 2015 blog “What drives your Employer Covenant?“, “…assessing the strength of a company and then monitoring the way that changes is no easy task”.

In July 2014 the TPR issued its revised Code of Practice 3: Funding Defined Benefits (“COP”) which identified three key areas of risk DB schemes face and how these risks interrelate;

1. Employer Covenant Risk

2. Investment Risk

3. Funding Risk.

Read more »

David Davison

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

Many charities participating in local government pension schemes (LGPS) have been increasingly frustrated by the lack of recognition of the issues they face by the schemes and indeed the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) who oversee them.

The issues are not new but there remains an element of denial and finger pointing and it’s very easy to see how charities could be frustrated. Read more »

Alan Collins

I read with a sigh, but not much surprise, that many employers are failing to engage with the retirement process of their employees. The headline from the Close Brothers survey, as reported in Professional Pensions, was that three in ten employers do not know where employees were getting information on the April 2016 pension reforms.

There also seems to be some indication that the fanfare and blast of publicity behind the launch of Pension Wise needs to be followed up, with a third of employers confirming they did not have a clear understanding of how the new service could help retirees.

The story underneath the headline was certainly not all bad. Read more »

Clare Caswell

Whilst auto-enrolment (AE) has provided invigoration to the pension sector and many employees are engaging with pensions for the first time, there are still historic pension schemes hanging about creating headaches for employers that do not provide the best retirement options for members in today’s market.  Spence is actively involved in assisting employers by investigating the possible options available to them to manage both their existing pension scheme liabilities and their new responsibilities under auto-enrolment.

Although liability management exercises have previously been seen to be more advantageous for the employer rather than the member, the dawn of Pension Freedoms from April 2015 has proved that these exercises can now be more attractive to members as well as employers.  In addition to reducing an employer’s pension liability, these exercises also give members the opportunity to explore alternative and potentially more beneficial options, available to them in the pensions market.  So it’s a win-win for everyone!

Employers – what do we need to know? Read more »

Brian Spence

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today announced their move to new, larger, offices in the City.

The firm, who first opened their London office in the West End in 2013, also has offices in Belfast, Glasgow, Bristol and Manchester.

Brian Spence, Founder at Spence & Partners, commented; “The last three years in London have been great for Spence, we have constantly innovated and it is pleasing to see our team in London grow. In the last 12 months we have picked up two major industry awards for ‘Best Administration’ and ‘Consulting Innovation’ which is a great recognition of our work.

Spence & Partners new offices are at 46 New Broad Street.

Suzanne Wilson

Following the Pensions World’s latest Third Party Administration (TPA) survey Allison Plager reports that the TPA market is awash with activity as more schemes are looking to de-risk as well as keep up with recent industry changes. One such change of course, being the introduction of pension freedoms. Our very own Head of Administration, Suzanne Wilson was available to comment on the effects this will have on schemes without sufficient technological resources to manage the demand.

Allison, rounds off the report by urging trustees to ask questions of their existing or prospective TPA to ensure that they are ready for the new challenges. You can read the full report on the Third Party Administration (TPA) annual survey here.

Angela Burns

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

Chancellor George Osbourne announced his Summer Budget on 8 July with a number of key developments for the pensions industry.

The main one being that the annual allowance will be reduced from April 2016 for individuals with income, including their own and their employer’s pension contributions of more than GBP 150,000.

The Chancellor also launched a consultation requesting industry views on reforming pensions tax relief. Read more »

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