The Future Influencers are back…

Lauren Jones

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On Tuesday Last week the Future Influencers came together for our second quarterly event.

The idea behind these events, for those new to the concept, is to bring together ‘up-and-comers’ in the pensions industry and give them an opportunity to learn from various firms as well as start building their own network of professional connections. You can read about our last breakfast here.

The day started off with a chance to catch up with fellow Future Influencers, followed by four, ten minute talks presented by Future Influencers  themselves.

First up was our very own Christopher Shortt, from the Spence Administration team talking about why “Closed schemes should behave like schemes in the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) Assessment Period

It’s hard to avoid the fact that DB schemes are on the decline with many moving towards buy-out. Christopher discusses what would happen when the scheme is very close to finalising the buy-out and it transpires that the data is wrong. Would it not be more beneficial to get the data and benefits correct, like schemes in the PPF assessment period before thinking about starting the buy-out process.  The question that the trustees need to ask is; do the benefits of acting like a scheme in the assessment period (a reduced premium of £1m) outweigh the costs (£100k)? You can download Christopher’s full presentation here.

Elisabeth Storey, a Chartered Accountant from Baker Tilly, then went on to discuss Fraud, with her presentation titled “Go to jail!”.

Liz looked at the issue of fraud within the pensions industry and why it is an issue that everyone involved in pensions needs to be aware of. In the current economic climate, fraud is on the increase, and Liz gave some examples of high-profile cases and how that relates to a pensions fraud survey conducted by Baker Tilly. Liz gave examples of red flags which indicate a heightened risk of fraud, and talked about whose responsibility it is to be considering fraud, and what we can each be doing to help our Trustees in meeting their obligations. Click here to have a look at Liz’s presentation.

Next up was Betty Bangura and Paul Turrell from the PPF with “An overview of the Pension Protection Fund & its panels”. As a Scheme Delivery Associate, Betty started off with an introduction to the PPF, how assessment and compensation process works and how the PPF is funded. Paul then stepped in as a Panel Manager to give us an overview of each panel, what work they’ve been doing so far and what the future plans are. You can download their presentation here.

With every Future Influencer event, not only do we share technical knowledge, but we also look at opportunities for career development. An important part of operating successfully with in a business is getting involved in PR.

Adam Sewell and Becky Hutton, two PR Consultants from KBPR gave us “An introduction to pensions PR”. KBPR is a bespoke public relations consultancy specialising in the pensions and investments industry. Their presentation is intended to be an introduction to pensions PR, explaining how the process works and why it is important for any business. They also went on to explain how the pensions press operates in the UK institutional market and how as a ‘future influencer’ in the pensions industry you might start to get involved in the PR process. Click here the download their presentation.

All-in-all the event was a great success and there was a good amount of discussion that followed each presentation.

Spence & Partners are looking forward to welcoming everyone back and hopefully some new faces to our next event in June 2014. It will be good to see a few of the attendees from this event present on a topic they’re passionate about.

If you or someone within your team would be interested in attending any upcoming Future Influencer events, please contact me on lauren_jones@spenceandpartners.co.uk for more information.

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