Posts by Andrew

Andrew Kerrin

In my down time – between working in the Spence actuarial department, studying for actuarial exams, chasing after my four and two year olds – I am partial to spending some time managing… my fantasy football team.

Having witnessed another terrible weekend of results for my team, my mind turned back to reality and to the third Quarterly Update of 2018.  Thankfully the topics we have selected for this report carry far more promise and relevance than my football selections:

  • The first name on the Quarterly Update team sheet is a mainstay of recent selections. An unpredictable, volatile, yet entirely unavoidable choice for the Q3 team – Brexit.  No update would be complete without it!
  • On the wing, we have a summary of the British Airways judgement – a case that keeps running and running, with no sign of tiring out, until it reaches the final (at the Supreme Court).
  • Bringing older, wiser and more experienced traits to the report, we have an article on the recent trends in Longevity.
  • Providing a cool head in defence, an article summarising the G4S case that brought clarity on what is a “frozen” scheme.
  • In midfield, we have the European leader, organising all members of the team, with great communication skills – a summary of the member communication requirements from the IORP II European Directive.
  • Whilst up front, we have the most honest of finishers, who won’t try to win a penalty by scamming the referee – an update on the ScamSmart
  • STOP PRESS: The imminent Lloyds judgement mentioned in this edition of our Quarterly Update has been published today and confirms the requirement to equalise Guaranteed Minimum
    Pensions (GMPs).   See more inside our report.

So, although I couldn’t deliver a winning fantasy football selection this week (again), I am happy to be able to deliver the Quarterly Update for the third quarter of 2018.

To download this report, click here .

As always we love to get feedback from you. If you like what we do please tell us – it’s nice to get great feedback. If you would like things included, excluded or done differently please drop us a line too. The report is to help you, so help us tailor it to your needs.

And … if you find that you do have time to keep up with things, why not follow us on Twitter @SpencePartners and keep up to date as you go along.

Andrew Kerrin

“Time flies like an arrow – but fruit flies like a banana.” Just a personal favourite line (often attributed to Groucho Marx) that popped into my mind when sitting down to introduce Spence & Partners latest Quarterly Update. It seems like only last week that I was searching for words to introduce our first report of 2018!

Having taken aim at the topics that hit the headlines over the last quarter, marking with an arrow those of most interest, we have fired them into a neat summary for your consideration. We hope you enjoy reading this compilation, that it helps you pass the time, and who knows, might help you avoid a banana skin or two.

This quarter we have a wide variety of tasty morsels for you to digest, including a summary of the potentially far-reaching opinion from the Advocate General in Hampshire v PPF, a discussion of the main cyber security issues for trustees coming from the Regulator’s recent practice note, to a bite-sized rundown of the key legislative changes that hit the pensions industry back in April.

Enjoy your latest Quarterly Update – I hope you agree that our selection has hit the bullseye and our efforts have been fruitful!

To download this report click here or on the image above.

As always we love to get feedback from you. If you like what we do please tell us – it’s nice to get great feedback. If you would like things included, excluded or done differently please drop us a line too. The report is to help you, so help us tailor it to your needs.

And … if you find that you do have time to keep up with things, why not follow us on Twitter @SpencePartners and keep up to date as you go along.

Andrew Kerrin

The first quarter of 2018 has flown by and has proved to be an eventful three months. We have had no problem finding topics worthy of inclusion in this Quarterly Update – it’s been more of a problem deciding what NOT to include. We have been ruthless however and pulled together the topics that we believe you need to know about from January to March 2018. Enjoy!

The topics of note this quarter include:

  • GDPR Compliance
  • Government White Paper on DB Schemes
  • The Pensions Regulator and recent Corporate Failures
  • DC Consolidation
  • Reviewing your Currency Hedge
  • EIOPA Market Development Report
  • New CMI mortality improvements

To download this report click here or on the image above.

As always we love to get feedback from you. If you like what we do please tell us – it’s nice to get great feedback. If you would like things included, excluded or done differently please drop us a line too. The report is to help you, so help us tailor it to your needs.

And … if you find that you do have time to keep up with things, why not follow us on Twitter @SpencePartners and keep up to date as you go along.

Andrew Kerrin

Another year, another mixed bag for the pensions industry.  Looking back, with its final quarter now closed, 2017 was a year that threatened change (the Work and Pension Committee’s review and subsequent Green Paper on DB schemes, and the much-anticipated ban on cold-calling) but that ultimately saw pensions taking a back-seat to the political beast that has become the Brexit negotiations.

That’s not to say that pensions weren’t firmly in the headlines, with the collapse of schemes adorning household names, and some significant decisions coming from the courts (not least the Walker v Innospec decision on same-sex spousal benefits).  However, the final quarter of 2017 brought some significant announcements and stories that promise to keep trustees and sponsoring employers busy during the next 12 months.

So, we have collated all of the most important topics from the 3 months to 31 December 2017 into a bite size report, to let you sign off on 2017 and get ready for 2018. Enjoy your Quarterly Update!

The seasonal topics of this quarter include:

  • Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
  • Latest news from the PPF
  • VAT on DB scheme management costs
  • MIFID II and the regulation of investment firms
  • Bank of England interest rates
  • Transfer value redress
  • 21st Century Trusteeship

To download this report click here.

As always we love to get feedback from you. If you like what we do please tell us – it’s nice to get great feedback. If you would like things included, excluded or done differently please drop us a line too. The report is to help you, so help us tailor it to your needs.

And … if you find that you do have time to keep up with things, why not follow us on Twitter @SpencePartners and keep up to date as you go along.

Andrew Kerrin

The first three quarters of 2017 truly flew by, with only two thirds of 2017’s last quarter left to go too.  We never do things by halves, and we have kept a close eye throughout the whole of the last quarter, to bring you the hottest topics in the pensions industry, divided up into bite size pieces.

Read more »

Andrew Kerrin

On this summer lunchtime in July, as blue skies backdrop the birds flying by the Spence office windows, and tourists bustle by on the streets below, I’ve found myself looking for inspiration for an introduction for this quarter’s pension update. Yet, I needn’t have looked far. Classic lyrics from The Byrds, that have been stuck in my head for a few days now, might just do the trick. Read more »

Andrew Kerrin

“If Mr Walker was married to a woman, or, indeed, if he married a woman in the future, she would be entitled on his death to the pension provided by the scheme to a surviving spouse.  When the claim was issued, the value of that “spouse’s pension” was about £45,700 per annum.  As things stand at present, Mr Walker’s husband will be entitled to a pension of about £1,000 per annum (the statutory guaranteed minimum).”

This is how the Supreme Court judgement described the situation in which Mr Walker found himself, in relation to his membership of Innospec’s DB scheme.  How did this happen?  Ironically it was the anti discrimination provision in the Equal Treatment Framework Directive, coupled with scheme rules, that allowed this disparity to occur in respect of same sex survivors’ pensions. Read more »

Andrew Kerrin

Well, the wait is finally over. Horton v Henry has been decided. After hearing arguments in April and deliberating over this important decision for 6 months, the Court of Appeal released their much anticipated judgment on 7th October 2016. Unfortunately for me, this came a week after my summary of the case history was published in PMI News with a “wait and see” conclusion on the Horton decision. The Lord Justices clearly forgot to give me a heads-up… so rude!

Anyway, as mentioned in my article and earlier blog this decision has been a long time coming. A controversial and potentially devastating judgment for bankrupts (Raithatha in 2012) has been put to bed, meaning bankrupts can now breathe a sigh of relief that their entire pension pots post Pension Freedoms are not at risk of an Income Payment Order.  Read more »

Andrew Kerrin

One thing you can be sure of is that there is no shortage of pension updates hitting your inbox on an almost daily basis – updates we don’t always get round to reading.  Here at Spence we like to be helpful so to save you time, the team have scoured the news and developments which have impacted the pensions world in the last quarter and produced an update of the most topical, newsworthy and essential matters that you need to see to keep you updated and informed.

This quarters highlights include

  • 5 investment questions to ask post Brexit.
  • We are still  in Europe so how does this affect risk assessment frameworks?
  • Gilt yields have been detrimentally effected by Brexit but what does this mean for transfer values and funding?
  • We explain HMRC’s latest announcement on VAT and pension schemes.
  • What’s been happening with the Pensions Ombudsman and in the Court?
  • Governance has been tightened up for DC Schemes.  We explain how.

Read more »

Andrew Kerrin

Christmas presents? Fine. Out of season clothes? Sure. Those trainers you bought two years ago that you’ve worn once but you’re definitely going to go running with again? Absolutely, chuck them out. How about your retirement savings? Under the bed!? Surely not.

As the Brexit splash continues to ripple through the economy, we are now facing the very real possibility of the UK joining the growing club of major states with negative base interest rates. In terms of pension schemes themselves, this won’t be a significant shock – they have been feeling the pain on their funding levels for a number of years with the low interest rate environment. Putting a ‘–‘ in front of the base rate isn’t going to shock schemes who have been seeing the number behind the ‘–‘ in their funding results growing year on year. Their pain will continue, but it’d hardly be a game-changer in the current environment.

The group that could truly be shocked are savers, and in particular, pensioners. To finally make some sense of my opening, Ros Altmann reacted to the news that Natwest had warned corporate customers that they may have to charge interest on accounts in credit, should the Bank of England dip the interest rate into the sub-zero waters. Should that happen, many will anxiously wait to see if those charges seep across to personal savings accounts too. If that levee were to break, the outgoing Pensions Minister said “the danger is many people will just think, “I’m going to put the money under the mattress.””

In truth, pensioners have been feeling the pain of low interest rates for some time now, right across Europe. Despite showing real patience – or perhaps acquiescence – with little to no returns, surely those same people would jump into action if their savings actually started to shrink. For many, it could be the watershed moment and see them rescue their savings and bring them closer to home. After all, if it’s good enough for the Commerzbank in Germany (who are reportedly considering shifting billions of euros to their vaults, rather than pay for the ECB to hold it under its negative rates) why isn’t it good enough for Joe Bloggs Snr.

While it may be reasonable to follow the actions of a big bank with its hundreds of financial advisors, Mr Bloggs Snr is different – he doesn’t have a vault. Should pensioners take such action, there have to be real security fears for their savings, as well as their own health and safety. Beyond the concerns of large amounts of cash being under beds, there is also the real possibility that these concerned pensioners may be more susceptible to pension/investment scams, offering a safe haven with fantastic (aka. positive) returns on their savings, just like they used to have. Should negative interest rates come our way, the industry should be alive to these risks arising.

Some may sneer and feel this is an overreaction. Some may say that it will never come to that. Well, we live in a world where Brexit is happening, Donald Trump is 270 electoral college votes from the White House and Leicester City are preparing to defend their Premier League title. Stranger things have happened…

Baroness Altmann (or perhaps her successor) may yet have to fetch Workie out from under the bed.

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