As part of Pi’s commitment to help develop knowledge and understanding over a wide range of pension subjects, we run a series of breakfast seminars for pension managers, trustees and professional contacts. Our seminars qualify for 1¼ hours of PMI CPD, based on an assessment of the seminar’s value to each attendee, so they also contribute meaningfully to your CPD.
Now in their fifteenth year, our seminars have many “regulars”, which gives them an informal and friendly ‘club’ feel, as well as facilitating relaxed participation and informed debate. Seminar subjects are topical and each seminar season usually runs from September or October to the following April or May.
08 October 2020 – ‘Developing a long-term funding objective’
Paying the promised benefits is the key objective for all schemes. This requires trustees to look ahead and set clear plans for how the objective will be delivered and then manage its delivery within an IRM framework.
In their 2020 Annual Funding Statement, TPR noted that the good practice they observed among schemes that appear to do this well often involves trustees and employers agreeing a clear strategy for achieving their long-term goal, which recognises how the balance between investment risk, contributions and covenant support may change over time as the scheme gets better funded and more mature.
What does a long-term funding objective really mean and what do Trustees need to do differently?
We will be joined by Patrick Bloomfield, a Partner at Hymans Robertson and Ajeet Manjrekar, Co-Head of River and Mercantile Solutions.
Patrick was part of TPR’s Funding Industry Working Group, helping develop the new DB Funding Code of Practice. As a scheme actuary he’s advised on long-term funding for 20 years and currently Chairs the Association of Consulting Actuaries.
Ajeet is a qualified actuary with over 20 years’ experience in working with trustees to understand their specific investment and governance needs. He specialises in designing innovative solutions to achieve their funding objectives and manage their key investment risks effectively.
20 February 2020 – Making the Chair’s statement work for you
Since 2015 trustees of defined contribution schemes have been required to prepare an annual governance statement signed by the Chair that “provides a meaningful narrative of how, and the extent to which, the governance requirements have been complied with.”
10 October 2019 – Challenging the concept of sole trusteeship
How do you judge the value of a professional trustee and how do you know if they are doing the job you expect? Trustee standards are a hot topic at the moment, and the increase in number and size of pensions schemes where sole trustees are being appointed is starting to attract the attention of the Regulator.
When the accepted wisdom is that diverse opinions on a board adds to better informed decision making, how can a sole trustee structure be anything other than compromised? Concerns about employer friendly appointments leading to less robust funding discussions have also been highlighted as a potential concern along with the potential for skewed procurement processes.
Roger Cooper, Head of Trusteeship at Pi, will look at how a trustee company needs to rise to the challenge and why the sole trustee model can still offer the benefits of diversity.
We will be joined by Rosalind Connor, a Partner at ARC Pensions Law, who will be looking at the inherent conflicts in sole trusteeship and why this model has governance challenges in a modern Trustee Board environment.
Rosalind has spent more than two decades advising employers, trustees, administrators and members in relation to the establishment, management and winding up of pension schemes. Rosalind was Chair of the Association of Pension Lawyers between 2015 and 2017 and it is probably fair to say, she is not one to sit on the fence, so will no doubt provide some interesting challenges for us to consider.
09 May 2019 – When you need something to talk about at parties
Telling people you work in pensions used to be the quickest way to clear a room. Now people can’t wait to tell you what they think – not always an improvement!
Our May seminar brings together our thoughts on the challenges facing us as trustees, distils what advisers and regulators are telling us and ensures we always have something to chat about with taxi drivers.
These are some of the topics that have driven our thinking as a firm and as individuals:
Pension trustee standards – Roger Cooper, our Head of trusteeship, will share putting this into practice. It will be a challenge and an opportunity for professional trustee firms, but it will also reduce choice for employers
GMP equalisation – Susan Smith, Head of Consulting at Pi, will share our thoughts on the various opinions being presented by advisers and how to interpret them.
ESG – Lucy Tindal, a Senior Consultant at Pi, will examine how sustainable is ESG and how different might the perspective be for DB versus DC.
GDPR – one year on from its introduction, Amanda Burden as the Director with responsibility for GDPR will share how it has changed our thinking as an organisation and the lessons we have learned
….and we may even manage not to mention the “B” word?
Even within one firm there are differing points of view, so please join us for a debate on the challenges faced by individuals and firms.
21 February 2019 – Evaluating your investment consultant and picking a Fiduciary Manager
We know now that tendering for first time fiduciary appointments will be mandatory, where the appointment is for more than 20% of a scheme’s assets. Pension trustees will also need to set objectives for their investment consultants that enables them to assess the quality of advice received. Whilst many trustees will say they set “objectives”, this raises the question as to how measurable these are in terms of assessing quality.
Roger Cooper, our Head of Trusteeship, has been actively engaged in looking at how realistic it is to be able to measure the value added by your investment consultant. He will be sharing his thoughts on asking them to demonstrate their worth!
On the other hand, fiduciary managers performance measurement can be relatively straight-forward. Performance is generally measured against a client’s bespoke benchmark, with the impacts of asset allocation, hedging and stock selection, typically highlighted.
However, when trustees are seeking to select a fiduciary manager, each one may provide performance information using a different approach which can be of limited value in the selection process.
25 October 2018 – Transfers, Tendering and Trustees
We may all be over our GDPR hangovers, but other issues continue to cause us to rethink and update our risk registers. The recent Pensions Ombudsman’s decision in respect of the Northumbria Police Authority is just the latest in a number of developments reminding Trustees of the importance of keeping up to date with matters affecting the operation of their pension schemes. On the question of transfers, Angela Sharma (Taylor Wessing) will look at the possible impact of the Northumbria decision and what it might mean for Trustee Boards and risk management.
Meanwhile the Competition and Markets Authority have published their initial findings on the investment consulting market. They have focused more heavily on the risks inherent in the lack of a competitive tender process in the fiduciary markets, but there is also a proposed requirement for Trustees to set objectives when they hire an investment consultant in order to be able to judge quality of the service.
7 September 2017 – Cybersecurity and Data Transfer – Are you the weakest link?
I am not sure whether Brexit or Cyber security heads more news items at the moment, but one thing is clear – They are closely followed by GDPR in pension circles. We have certainly seen numerous updates and webinars on how to ensure your member data stays protected.
18 May 2017 – Communication -members, customers or liabilities?
Trustees and employers are constantly trying to find ways of communicating complex messages. However, behind the stated objective of member communication, or engagement as it is now called, lies the hidden conflicts of communication meeting the needs of more than one master.
As part of its work to examine how Trustee Boards can meet the challenge of scheme governance in the 21st century, TPR published a discussion paper setting out what it is doing to educate and support Trustees of both DC and DB schemes.
8 September 2016 – The Launch of Evolution Trustees – A Catalyst for Change
Our latest breakfast seminar saw the launch of our new trustee company “Evolution Trustees”. As detailed on the day , we believe in working strategically with employers to make the theory of buyout of members benefits a reality. As part of this proactive approach to scheme management with access to quality streamlined support, Craig Harrison, Managing Director of Creative Wealth Management provided additional information on their transfer service to prove any size of scheme can benefit from their approach.
19 May 2016 – Retirement planning in the 21st Century
Whilst the Chancellor’s last budget didn’t release the tax fireworks expected, he did potentially light a long burning fuse with the introduction of the Lifetime ISA (or Lisa as she is already affectionately known). The announcement has already led to the Work and Pensions Select Committee re-opening its inquiry into auto-enrolment after experts raised concerns that LISA could lead people away from workplace pension saving.
25 February 2016 – State Pensions: Everything you wanted to know (but were afraid to ask)
Whilst we often focus on private pension provision most people will rely heavily on a state pension for a significant part of their retirement income. The communication of state benefits is likely to continue to hit the headlines throughout 2016. As part of the pension industry we should all be helping to manage expectations and provide clear information.
09 September 2015 – Making the most of your investment meetings
Given the millions of pounds under the management of pension scheme trustees and the importance to both DB and DC benefits, it is little wonder that investments form a major part of any trustee meeting agenda.
14 May 2015 – Post election – feast or famine ahead?
One week after the 7th May election, what will be the political landscape? Based on media headlines at the moment, the general consensus seems to be Mr Salmond holding the balance of power and Mr Cameron not having to worry about a third term.
This year has seen so many changes in the DC pension world, it would be easy to forget that there are still DB schemes to consider, the majority of which are still open to some form of accrual. It might be a dwindling number, but trustees will still need to deal with the consequences of the cessation of contracting out and the impact on scheme design.
27 February 2014 – Helping protect your pension scheme and its members from fraud
2013 saw an explosion in pension liberation headlines and whilst not all liberation schemes could be classed as fraud, there is no doubt Pension Schemes need to be increasingly aware of how vulnerable their scheme may be to a possible fraudulent activity.