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

Spence & Partners, the UK actuaries and consultants, today announced their appointment by Simons Group Limited Pensions & Life Assurance Scheme for their award-winning, fully-integrated approach to DB scheme management – ‘The Spence Approach’.  Services to the 450 member, £25 million Scheme will include actuarial, investment and pension scheme administration.

Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence commented: “The Pensions Regulator’s Integrated Risk Management (IRM) guidance encourages trustees to make joined-up decisions around funding, investment and governance. Most schemes face three key issues when trying to do this – systems, data and monitoring.  Our Mantle® system allows schemes to make informed decisions around their funding at any point in time, based upon the live administration and investment data.  Read more »

Alan Collins


Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries, investment and administration specialists, today welcomes the publication of The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) Integrated Risk Management Guide, and urges trustees to review scheme management in line with the new principles.

The guidance from TPR sets out practical help on what a proportionate and integrated approach to risk management might look like and how trustees could go about putting one in place. Spence already adheres to the guidance with its ‘Spence Approach’. Read more »

Alan Collins

George bides his time on TEE

Those waiting for news of further seismic changes to the UK pension scene were made to wait yesterday when the Autumn Statement confirmed that the Government’s response to the pension tax relief consultation will be published in the 2016 Budget.  Given the continued polarisation of views on the matter, and the impact that the changes could have, it is perhaps not surprising that the Government has paused, albeit briefly, for further reflection. Read more »

Alan Collins

In a recent article from Pensions Age, Laura Blows looks at the very lucrative, but potentially very short, careers placing individuals in quite unusual circumstances when preparing for their retirement. Sportspeople, dancers, singers and reality TV stars are just some of those that may have high volumes of money to invest during the short lifespan of their lucrative careers. The issue is making the investments last throughout their very long ‘retirement’.

Alan Collins was on hand to comment and warns that with high volumes of cash to invest up front, the key will be to do so as tax efficiently as possible. While the fame may last only for 15 minutes or so, investing for and living through retirement will inevitably last a lot longer. Read the full article here.


Alan Collins

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

With many schemes currently receiving confirmation of a hike to their Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levy (the invoices for 2015/16, the first year where Experian risk ratings apply, have begun to arrive), the PPF has just issued their consultation document for the computation of the 2016/17 levy.

Given the substantial shift brought in for 2015/16, it is some comfort that the PPF have “chosen to keep the levy rules substantially the same for 2016/17”. In particular, the main levy calculation parameters (such as the scaling factor, the scheme-based levy multiplier and levy bands) will remain unchanged. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, scooped their third award of the year last night at the 2015 Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards. The company was awarded the Pension Consultant of the Year title for their ‘Spence Approach’* for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes at a ceremony at London’s Royal Garden Hotel.

Spence were recognised amongst their peers for their work, most notably their innovative approach to Defined Benefit (DB) scheme management, and the role they have played in helping schemes complete DB to DC pension transfer requests.

Alan Collins, Director at Spence & Partners, commented: “It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the primary objective of a pension scheme is to provide accurate benefits and information to members. Our technology, with robust systems and procedures, goes a long way to improving scheme management but it’s what we do with it and the impact it has had on our clients’ schemes which matters most. All schemes, no matter their size, now have access the same level of analysis and advice that is usually reserved for only the largest of schemes. Ultimately giving trustees and sponsors the confidence to manage their schemes towards an end goal.”

Collins added: “Being recognised at the Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards highlights that we are meeting the needs in the market and challenging the manner by which consulting services are delivered within the pensions industry.”

This award follows Spence & Partners’ success with the Consulting Innovation of the Year award at the 2015 UK Pensions awards in May and the Pension Scheme Administrator of the Year title at the European Pensions Awards in June, both again for the ‘Spence Approach’.

WSB Award 2015 pic

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 »

Alan Collins

When attending the recent Actuaries Pensions Conference in Glasgow, I heard behavioural change expert Nick Southgate suggest that maybe the name ‘pensions’ was the thing holding pensions back.

I doubt this message made it all the way to Downing Street, but today’s budget suggests George Osborne and his treasury team are having similar thoughts.  The fact that today’s “pensions” green paper was issued by HM Treasury says it all.  This is not about pensions, it is about tax.

Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today commented on The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) annual defined benefit funding statement 2015.

Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence & Partners, said: “The regulator’s funding statement is now a firm fixture in the pensions calendar and this year’s instalment has given trustees, sponsoring employers and advisors plenty of food for thought.  It is also clear that 2015 valuations will contain more bad news than good.  The regulator’s own analysis shows that ‘despite all major asset classes having performed well and schemes having paid £44 billion in deficit repair contributions over the last 3 years…many schemes with 2015 valuations will have larger funding deficits’ and that ‘most schemes will set funding strategies based on lower expected returns than at their last valuation’. Read more »

Alan Collins

Glasgow-based pension consultants and actuaries, Spence & Partners and its sister firms Dalriada Trustees Limited and Veratta have moved their Glasgow operation to the city’s Culzean Building.

Following expansion of the firms’ UK-wide business and growing staff numbers, they have re-located from their previous offices at West Regent Street taking the 4,700 square foot 6th floor of the historic building, located at the junction of Renfield and St Vincent Street in Glasgow city centre.

Barclay Gilmour Partners provided consulting advice on the move.

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