Posts by Gillian

Gillian Lister

21st Century Trustees

The Pensions Regulator’s 21st Century Trustee initiative inspired a previous blog by one of my Dalriada colleagues recently “Trustees in the 21st Century” and is now the subject of a discussion paper.  What should a modern trustee look like and is regulation required?

Let’s face it, being a pension scheme trustee was never an easy job but it just seems that it is becoming more and more demanding.  The demands being met by trustees require them to have a complex knowledge in the minefield that is now pensions and they are coming under increased scrutiny. This means that effective trustees need a high degree of knowledge and understanding. Trustees need to be knowledgeable of the whole pensions landscape, understanding such things as scheme funding, investment decisions, employer covenant and above all else the best interests of their membership in relation to that pension scheme. The wisdom of Solomon and patience of Job would seem apt for a trustee job description. Read more »

Gillian Lister

The Pensions Regulator (tPR) shows concern over smaller employees leaving auto-enrolment too late.

It is now over 3 years since the auto-enrolment requirements were first introduced and the first employers staged. These large employers are approaching their first automatic re- enrolment date in 2016. Certainly, most signs so far have been positive. The National Audit Office’s October 2015 report examining the implementation of the auto-enrolment reforms highlighted among other points that the degree of employer compliance has been higher than expected, with 99% of employers submitting a declaration of compliance to the tPR. Read more »

Gillian Lister

Effective pension scheme governance is a necessity for any well-run scheme and is an area the Pensions Regulator scrutinises closely. It covers a broad spectrum of controls that together build a framework to help Trustees create, manage and realise their long-term objectives.

For scheme governance to be effective it has to be constantly managed and assessed in a proactive way – it should not be a tick box exercise once each year. If managed in this way, it can have a significant positive impact on the ongoing management of the scheme.

Here are the five key areas we believe trustees need to focus on:- Read more »

Gillian Lister

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today announced their appointment by Northampton-based Wintle Heating and Plumbing Retirement Benefits Scheme for their award-winning, fully-integrated DB scheme management service – ‘The Spence Approach’. Services to the 40-member, £5 million Scheme will include actuarial, consultancy, administration, payroll, treasury and accounting functions.

Alan Collins, Head of Spence’s Trustee Advisory Practice said: “Our appointment by Wintle complements our growing client base in the south of England.  During the appointment process we were able to demonstrate to the Trustees and the Company how we will work with them to develop and implement clear long-term strategic objectives and focus our time on solving the challenges relating to defined benefit scheme funding.” Read more »

Gillian Lister

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today announced their appointment by the Hayman Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme for their fully integrated DB scheme management service.

Wealth management and employee benefits group Mattioli Woods plc, has been advising the trustees since 2009 and recommended the appointment of Spence. Mattioli Woods understands that trustees need to develop an integrated strategy to manage their DB pension scheme and members of their employee benefit team are experts in providing guidance in this area. Mattioli Woods provides consultancy and investment services to the scheme and has partnered with Spence to deliver actuarial and administration services. Read more »

Gillian Lister

Last month I had the pleasure of attending a session with Charles Stanley Pan Asset, for a seminar entitled “Can pension schemes cut risk and cost without sacrificing investment performance”.  The slots were covered by two speakers, John Redwood of Charles Stanley Pan Asset and our very own Alan Collins, Director & Head of Trustee Advisory Services.

What struck me at the sessions was the challenges ahead for Trustees of Defined Benefit (DB) Schemes in relation to funding, investment risk and cost.  However, thankfully, I did see a potential light at the end of the tunnel.

What we’re dealing with now

Interest rates have fallen significantly over the past year.  For schemes with un-hedged investments, funding levels will have plummeted.  Similarly, inflation is low and schemes with fixed increases and un-hedged investments will be hit hardest.

The number of DB schemes in deficit on a S179 basis averaged 1,500 in January 2007 rising to over 4,000 at the peak of the credit crunch in 2009. The current estimate for 2015 is well over 5,000!  Surely this trend can’t continue…..can we let it? Read more »

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