Posts by Alan

Alan Collins

Alan Collins

Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence he provides actuarial, funding and investment advice to trustees and sponsors of ongoing defined benefit schemes.
Alan Collins

Last week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) splashed onto the business pages extolling the virtues of choice for consumers in the pension annuity market.  Their review has found that 80% of consumers purchasing annuity from their existing providers could have got a better deal by shopping around in the open market.  I welcome the FCA’s continued efforts in this area and trust that, in time, it will lead to a better deal for consumers.

This drive to encourage consumers to shop around with their defined contribution pot should be mirrored in defined benefit (DB) arrangements.  Read more »

Alan Collins

“The acceleration of changes to the State Pension is not a surprise, as life expectancies continue to increase. Within retirement, life expectancy has almost doubled over the last century. While it may not be a particularly cheery message for the festive season, there is unfortunately no magic wand that can be waived when it comes to pensions. Simply put, the only way to avoid having to work longer to fund your retirement is to save more and save earlier.”

 “It is likely these changes will increase the blurring of the lines between working and retirement with more and more people continuing to work even when they are receiving pension income.”

Alan Collins

Since the Pension Protection Fund’s doors opened in 2005, around 600 pension schemes have transferred into it, covering a membership of around 190,000. And around 90,000 pensioner members are now receiving PPF compensation.

Following the insolvency of a scheme sponsor, a scheme automatically enters the PPF and has to go through what is known as an assessment period before it is eligible to transfer. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

31st March and 5th April are common dates for pension scheme valuations. The popularity of 5th April dates back to 1997, when trustees and employers were able to squeeze in one last valuation before the Pensions Act 1995 took effect for valuations from 6th April 1997 onwards.

There is, however, a problem with valuation dates of 31st March and 5th April in 2013. And, for a change, it is a good problem! Current market conditions have improved scheme funding levels to such an extent that the results from earlier valuation dates are effectively redundant. Read more »

Alan Collins

Dissecting The Pensions Regulator’s latest funding statement, and encouraging trustees to use the tools at their disposal in my latest blog for Pensions Funds Online –

Now that the nonsense of ‘smoothed’ discount rates has rightly been consigned to Actuarial Room 101, trustees and advisers are turning to face the challenges of funding valuations in the current difficult economic environment. Deficits are up (yes, I know markets are up, but liabilities have generally gone up faster) and employers’ cash reserves are probably down.

So what do we do now? Read more »

Alan Collins

Now that some of the dust has settled from the Government’s long-anticipated launch of their white paper on state pension reform, the implications for employers may be far reaching and may act as a catalyst for further changes in employees’ benefit packages. So, what will this change mean for employers? Read more »

Alan Collins

The ONS consultation on inflation will not, against expectations, result in any major change to the calculation of RPI.  Instead , yet another measure of inflation will be created.  It will take time before we see what the new index will mean and where it will be used.  This will no doubt lead to further confusion as to what inflation actually means, as it would appear we will now have (at least) three ways of measuring it. Read more »

Alan Collins

This article by Alan Collins was first published in the Herald Scotland on the 4th of January 2013.

All the fanfare surrounding the Government’s auto-enrolment pension legislation when phase one was launched last October may have understandably caused some worry and consternation amongst the UK’s SME community.

Given the multi-phased stages of the new legislation, the leaders of small to mid-sized firms – which make up the backbone of the UK economy – would be forgiven for feeling a bit out of touch when the likes of Theo Paphitis and other high profile figures proclaimed ‘I’m in’ on a series of Government TV adverts aired in advance of the launch.  In actual fact, there is still a long way to go before auto-enrolment will impact on most SMEs. Read more »