Hot on the heels of recently issued guidance from the Pensions Regulator on “Record Keeping – Good practice in measuring member data” specialist administrator Spence & Partners has launched a data evaluation tool aimed at scheme trustees and administrators.
The data audit report evaluates the overall quality of the scheme data held electronically and provides a rating. It can also provide a quality rating in relation to a specific exercise being undertaken, for example, scheme buyout or the provision of scheme transfers. The report provides information which meets the Pensions Regulator’s required outputs and provides a list of all the areas which need attention prioritised according to their potential impact. Read more »
Some of you may have heard of Johnny Knoxville. He has made a career for himself by taking outrageous risks which usually damage his body in spectacular ways. He and his skateboarding pals are part of an MTV show called Jackass where they indulge in these high risk activities for the camera.
There are plenty of video clips documenting his unhealthy appetite for risk, however, despite his reckless risk taking and disregard for his personal welfare I was unable to find one clip of Johnny Knoxville acting as a pension scheme trustee. I found this surprising given the high risk nature of pension trusteeship in the UK today. Read more »
Specialist actuary, Spence & Partners, who provide actuarial support to Independent Financial Advisers, have launched a longevity calculator. The calculator, which is free to download from the Spence & Partners website www.spenceandpartners.co.uk looks to assist financial advisers and their clients in evaluating life expectancy as part of the process of establishing cash flow requirements in retirement. Read more »
The requirements for trustees to ensure that arrangements are in place, and implemented, that provide for at least one-third of trustees or at least one-third of directors of the trustee company to be member-nominated, start to apply from what is known as the ‘commencement date’. Read more »
The obvious question regarding acting as a pension scheme trustee in the current environment is: who in their right mind would want to take on a role for which they have had no relevant training or experience, which carries unlimited personal liability, up to and including the value of your house, in an increasingly litigious world, and provides little tangible reward?
Company directors are finding it increasingly difficult to perform both the role of company director and pension scheme trustee given the potential conflicts of interest that exist around setting scheme contributions, agreeing future investment strategy or dealing with a corporate restructure. Read more »
There has been much written recently about the potential pitfalls of so called ‘inducement exercises.’ Whilst some of the concerns are valid I believe that provided those participating take the time to understand the recent regulatory guidance and the roles of various parties in the process then the risks are lower and more manageable than they might appear at first glance. Read more »
There has been a huge amount of what I can only describe as ‘hype’ in the popular press and financial magazines over recent months, almost wholly negative, about the practice of employers topping up final salary scheme transfer values to allow members to exercise a real choice in relation to their pension benefits. I wouldn’t wish to suggest that reporting on this matter approaches the worst excesses of the fourth estate (“Freddie Starr ate my Hamster” or “London bus found on Moon” for example) but headlines such as “Bribes offered to quit final salary schemes”1 and “Regulator launches probe into growing ‘cash for company pensions’ scandal”2 certainly leave scope for a more considered and balanced assessment of the issues. Read more »
Final salary pension schemes may have come in for a hard time in recent years, but the employers running them are not as mercenary as media reports would suggest.
Many have come under fire for trying to take a hack saw to their liabilities and cut them on the cheap. However actuarial and consultancy firm Spence & Partners says that providing a clear and structured process is followed there is the potential for a significant win-win solution for employers and their staff. Read more »
David Davison, a Director at Spence & Partners, independent actuaries and consultants, has called for a rational debate as to how companies which wish to better manage their final salary pension liabilities engage with their current and former employees.
Said Davison, “There has been a huge amount of hype over recent months, almost wholly negative, about the practice of employers topping up final salary scheme transfer values to allow members to exercise a real choice in relation to their pension benefits. There is scope for a more considered and balanced assessment of the issues. Read more »
In a reversal of the traditional economic relationship between Scotland and Northern Ireland, actuaries Spence & Partners has expanded from its Belfast origins to grab a significant foothold in the Scottish market only two years after opening an office in Glasgow.
Established in 2000 Spence & Partners now employs 18 people in its Belfast head office and 10 in Scotland. The Glasgow office opened early in 2004 and has grown both its turnover, by about 25% to £2.5 million, and its staff ever since. The firm is presently positioning itself for a further surge in demand for its services with a range of senior appointments. Read more »