Pension Funds Insider

Pension Funds Insider brings the latest pensions news and industry insights; from investment and governance updates to new mandate appointments and pensions regulatory information.

Latest news

Image for If the cap fits

If the cap fits

11 April 2019

Ian Neale tackles the complexities of the charge cap.

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Image for Getting ready for GMP equalisation

Getting ready for GMP equalisation

05 April 2019

As schemes head towards completion of their GMP reconciliation, thoughts turn to the rectification process.

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Image for What's new at the Pensions Ombudsman

What's new at the Pensions Ombudsman

05 April 2019

In this update we cover a range of different issues in relation to the Pension Ombudsman (TPO), including:
• A new government consultation on TPO’s powers to resolve both pension complaints and disputes;
• The introduction of fixed amounts for non-financial injustice awards; and 
• A reminder of key issues for trustees faced with overpayments, in light of recent case law.

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Image for Transfer Pains

Transfer Pains

04 April 2019

Trustees have, for a number of years, been at the forefront of a pension transfer renaissance. While in general terms, the introduction of pension flexibilities (through the government’s “freedom and choice” reforms in April 2015) has generally been seen as a positive step for pension scheme members, it has, and continues, to put the role of pension trustees under the microscope.

In this article we consider the evolution of the transfer process and the trustees’ role in it, as well as issues arising from past transfers, and potential future developments.

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Image for Look Over There – Lessons from the Australian Superannuation market

Look Over There – Lessons from the Australian Superannuation market

29 March 2019

Roger Hattam reflects on his time at the Australian Conference of Major Superannuation Funds and suggests that in the UK we could learn from the experiences of others and act before acted upon.

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Image for Service management: A move from quantitative to qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs)

Service management: A move from quantitative to qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs)

21 March 2019

 In recent years, we have seen a distinct trend in the way success is measured. Outsourced pensions administrators were heavily reliant on quantitative information, and largely focused on time and volume as the primary measures of success. Whilst this was, of course, an easy way to measure the service, it was too simplistic.

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Image for GMP Equalisation – Tempest in a teapot?

GMP Equalisation – Tempest in a teapot?

15 March 2019

For those of you who have been living a pensions hermit’s existence these last 6 months (or just getting on with life) here is a brief recap on the Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP) equalisation saga to date.

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Image for Leverage, risk, and investment performance at large pension funds

Leverage, risk, and investment performance at large pension funds

11 March 2019

Alex Beath reveals the findings of a study in to the use of leverage and how it contributes to performance and risk.

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Image for Which Mrs Wilson should receive the death lump sum benefit?

Which Mrs Wilson should receive the death lump sum benefit?

08 March 2019

Trustees should be prepared for the unexpected. Clare James explains the importance of exploring more than one avenue of information before making decisions.

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Image for How can contingent assets reduce the PPF levy?

How can contingent assets reduce the PPF levy?

21 February 2019

The levy imposed by the Pension Protection Fund (the PPF) can be costly for employers of defined benefit (DB) schemes, especially in respect of schemes that are already underfunded. Contingent assets can be an attractive option to reduce the levy.

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Image for For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls

15 February 2019

The time for debate about climate change is over: it’s happening, it’s accelerating, and we are responsible for it. But negative human impacts on the environment go ‘beyond’ climate change. Socio-economic stability is under threat. It could be even worse than the global financial crisis in 2008: a lot worse, in fact.

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Image for Will regulation improve pension administration standards?

Will regulation improve pension administration standards?

15 February 2019

How does your pension administration compare within the universe of Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics and Block Chain? Would you say that the leverage of technology was rudimentary or fairly comprehensive? How would you even go about benchmarking it or mapping a path from where you are and where would you like to be? Would you be able to define your one, three and five year objectives?

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Image for Is member communication really that important?

Is member communication really that important?

31 January 2019

It may seem an odd question from someone who works for a communications consultancy, but the New Year is a great time to ask some challenging questions. 

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Image for Does administration service consolidation really make things more efficient?

Does administration service consolidation really make things more efficient?

23 January 2019

When it comes to administration, efficiencies from consolidation are extremely difficult to achieve. Toby Clark discusses the reality of where and how efficiency gains can be made.

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Image for Consolidation…The possibilities and the practicalities

Consolidation…The possibilities and the practicalities

18 January 2019

Darren Wateridge discusses the benefits of consolidation and the steps schemes can make now.

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Image for GDPR – where are we now?

GDPR – where are we now?

14 January 2019

We’ve welcomed 2019 with open arms and, with New Year resolutions made, it is a good time to take a look at what pension schemes should be doing in respect of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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Image for Pension administration – the courage to ask for more

Pension administration – the courage to ask for more

11 January 2019

Working in UK pension administration is a bit like being stuck in a traffic jam. Everyone seems to be struggling to make progress, but one lane always seems to be moving faster...

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Image for Master trusts – let’s talk transitions

Master trusts – let’s talk transitions

04 January 2019

With Master Trust Authorisation in full swing and talk of as little as 20 or even 12 master trusts remaining when final Authorisations are in, it may seem odd to be thinking of transitions. Is it too late to be talking about it? Haven’t all the decisions been made?  

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Image for Don’t burn out on data, the real mileage is in comparison

Don’t burn out on data, the real mileage is in comparison

18 December 2018

Richard Butcher explains why the the Cost Transparency Initiative is important but could be lost in translation without a comparative.

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Image for Consolidation – the future for defined benefit schemes?

Consolidation – the future for defined benefit schemes?

18 December 2018

With more DB schemes approaching maturity, and their sponsoring employers seeking to secure members’ benefits or to transfer risk, the DWP has published its latest consultation, setting out proposals for a new legislative framework for authorising and regulating defined benefit (DB) “superfund” consolidation vehicles

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Image for Come Together

Come Together

14 December 2018

DB schemes, Master Trusts and Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) schemes can take advantage of coming together, Ian Neale discusses the benefits.

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Image for Back to the future

Back to the future

07 December 2018

Gillian Hickey looks at the the recent ruling on GMP equalisation and discusses how the industry can make this work in practice.

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Image for What should be on the agenda for Pension Managers and Trustees into 2019

What should be on the agenda for Pension Managers and Trustees into 2019

07 December 2018

PASAs Chris Tagg identifies the key issues facing trustees and pension fund managers now and in near future?

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Image for Creating a savings habit

Creating a savings habit

05 December 2018

Francis Goss looks at how we develop habitual behaviours and discusses how the industry can learn from this and help create a savings culture.

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Image for The power of governance. Is it through delegation?

The power of governance. Is it through delegation?

23 November 2018

Does every decision need to go to the board? Do they need to assess manager performance at every meeting? Can asset owners allow decisions further down the organisation to be made through delegation? 

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Image for Responsible Investing: Implications for Pensions

Responsible Investing: Implications for Pensions

21 November 2018

'Assets managed under some form of sustainable, responsible investing mandate across the globe grew from $18 trillion in 2014 to $23 trillion in 2016' Matt Tucker looks at the measures investment managers take to satisfy scheme trustees of their credentials in relation to responsible investing.

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Image for Getting ScamSmart

Getting ScamSmart

16 November 2018

In a previous blog I drew attention to the recent update to "Combating Pension Scams: A Code of Good Practice’ from the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA). 

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Image for How to solve a problem like GMP equalisation

How to solve a problem like GMP equalisation

09 November 2018

The High Court handed down its decision in Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Ltd v Lloyds Bank plc and others at the end of October. The decision provides long-awaited clarification that there is a requirement to equalise for the effect of guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs), and approves methods to achieve this.


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Image for Hidden talents. Hidden value.

Hidden talents. Hidden value.

05 November 2018

Richard Butcher shares his opinions on what the real value of transparent transaction cost data is. 

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Image for What are Regulators for?

What are Regulators for?

05 November 2018

Ian Neale looks at the recent joining of regulatory forces and asks; what has this achieved?

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Image for Retirement choices: a DC trustee responsibility?

Retirement choices: a DC trustee responsibility?

29 October 2018

Pensions freedoms have created a world of retirement choices for members since they were introduced in 2015. But where does this leave trustees of occupational DC schemes – Sackers ask, is it a DC trustee responsibility? 

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Image for The rise of the Robo Advisor: interrupted

The rise of the Robo Advisor: interrupted

18 October 2018

Fintech continues to threaten traditional business models, from banking and credit through to digital escrow’. Word on the street is Fintech is on the verge of disrupting the pensions industry. Call it Pentech (Pensions Technology) or TechFin (technology firms entering the financial arena), the threats are endless. On this basis, the Pensions Dashboard, Blockchain and Robo-advice should be just around the corner. 

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Image for I want someone to help me

I want someone to help me

12 October 2018

Peter Nicholas explains how important it is to receive quality guidance and assistant at the right time.

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Image for Where there’s blame, there’s often no claim

Where there’s blame, there’s often no claim

10 October 2018

When a pension scheme changes administrator, one universal truth applies: data issues and historical errors will be uncovered.  

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Image for Building trust in the pensions system

Building trust in the pensions system

01 October 2018

Many pension scheme members don’t trust the system and, argues Simon Hubbard, this might only get worse for future retirees. We need to give savers a clear idea of what to expect when they retire.

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Image for Integrating climate risks with your scenario planning

Integrating climate risks with your scenario planning

26 September 2018

A new perspective on incorporating climate-related risks and opportunities in scenario analysis for strategic investment decision-making

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Image for Should trustees think more like corporates to get what they need?

Should trustees think more like corporates to get what they need?

14 September 2018

To do the best for members, Karein Davie asks if there are other tips that can be taken from the way that a corporate operates?

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Image for Switching from RPI – key considerations for trustees

Switching from RPI – key considerations for trustees

12 September 2018

From an employer’s perspective, switching from RPI to CPI as the basis for calculating pension increases might seem a relatively easy way to reduce a defined benefit pension scheme’s deficit. For trustees, there is more to think about than just the potential cost saving.

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Image for  Cruising to good data

Cruising to good data

31 August 2018

High quality data is a very, if not the most, important input to provision of a successful administration service. Geraldine Brassett identifies the key factors when is comes to providing quality service.

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Image for A new solution to closing the income gap

A new solution to closing the income gap

31 August 2018

UK defined benefit pension schemes are rapidly moving into cash flow negative territory, so the impending reality of fulfilling pension promises should be at the top of trustees’ agendas. 

It’s time for a shift in perspective and look at assets in a new light – do they generate income?

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Image for Freedom, choice and equality

Freedom, choice and equality

17 August 2018

Taylor Smith discusses the momentum that is gathering behind the Daily Mail campaign to allow people to commute annuities purchased before April 2015. 

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Image for FOMO – and changing savings behaviour

FOMO – and changing savings behaviour

16 August 2018

Peter Nicholas looks at interesting behaviours we all exhibit and discusses how we can use these in the retirement savings world.

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Image for Selecting delegated investment managers

Selecting delegated investment managers

02 August 2018

Learnings from e-commerce and beyond.
Ortec's Maurits van Joolingen shares his thoughts on ratings, reviews and choices when it comes to investment management.

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Image for Climate Change – can actuaries actually save the world?

Climate Change – can actuaries actually save the world?

26 July 2018

Chris Mason tackles the climate change topic and debates if the industry can do more to help.

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Image for Reconciling our differences - GMP

Reconciling our differences - GMP

25 July 2018

“Tens of thousands” of pension scheme members are being asked to return overpayments of pensions, PTL's Alison Bostock looks at the truths behind the headlines.

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Image for Buy ins and buy outs: Be prepared (be very prepared)

Buy ins and buy outs: Be prepared (be very prepared)

24 July 2018

The ever-growing volume of bulk annuity transactions has seen them become somewhat more standardised, but perhaps more importantly, the lawyers and consultants who regularly advise in this area now have established relationships (and precedent documentation) with most or all of the relevant insurers.

Does that make it easier to transact quickly? - Yes, but only up to a point.


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Image for Time to talk

Time to talk

05 July 2018

Kim Gubler introduces the new Trustee Administration Governance Checklist which is designed to help trustees when it comes to evidencing engagement with administrators.

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Image for Combating Pension Scams

Combating Pension Scams

03 July 2018

Ian Neale addresses the changing nature of pension scams and how the industry plans to tackle them.

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Image for “Are you talking to me?”

“Are you talking to me?”

21 June 2018

Peter Nicholas draws comparison from the movie 'Taxi Driver ' to highlight communication problems within the pensions industry. In this insightful piece Peter asks how the industry can translate important messages more effectively to all members.

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Image for Old and new worlds meet

Old and new worlds meet

13 June 2018

Active membership of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes has fallen by just over one million in the past seven years, with most predictions forecasting that the remaining 12% of still-active private sector DB schemes will close before the end of the next seven. While the pace of closures appears to be slowing, the outcome remains inevitable.

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Image for Emerging market debt demystified

Emerging market debt demystified

08 June 2018

Despite evolving as an asset class and becoming a strategic holding for many, emerging market (EM) debt can still be clouded by misconceptions and concerns for some investors. The reality is that these markets continue to mature, but still offer the potential for diversification and enhanced returns.
 
We examine the reality of EM debt investing and find that, while challenges remain, fixed-income investing in EM is more robust and investible than is often perceived.

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Emerging trade war?

07 June 2018

The President’s announcement to impose tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese imports has reignited these fears

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Climate change

07 June 2018

Practical tips and guidelines for trustees

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Image for The deadline has passed

The deadline has passed

22 May 2018

Are trustees compliant?

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Image for Clearer, quicker, tougher

Clearer, quicker, tougher

21 May 2018

Clearer, quicker, tougher - why TPR's new mantra matters to you  

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Image for Is your member communication fit for purpose?

Is your member communication fit for purpose?

18 May 2018

PTL's Keith Lewis encourages providers and trustees to consider whether they can improve their communications to members. 

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Image for Admin value for money – how do you judge?

Admin value for money – how do you judge?

11 May 2018

Kim Gubler discusses the term 'value for money' and suggests guidance for Trustees to make sure they are getting it.

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Image for GDPR: are you ready for new data regulations?

GDPR: are you ready for new data regulations?

11 May 2018

What are the biggest issues you need to be aware of – and how should you tackle them? 

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Image for Pension freedoms: sounds great, but is it working?

Pension freedoms: sounds great, but is it working?

04 May 2018

Ian Neale debates the ideas proposed by the WPC when it comes to deciding what to do with your pension pot.

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Image for Changing administrators? Here are 5 top tips for a smooth transition

Changing administrators? Here are 5 top tips for a smooth transition

26 April 2018

Changing your pension administrator is a big deal. Let’s face it, most trustees are at least a little resistant to change given the complexity and perceived risk involved. Even with meticulous planning and research, plenty of headaches await should you fail to get it right. 

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Image for What does bowel cancer screening have to do with my pension?

What does bowel cancer screening have to do with my pension?

19 April 2018

It’s all a matter of communication.

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Image for Retirement planning: challenges for pension providers and retirees alike

Retirement planning: challenges for pension providers and retirees alike

13 April 2018

Today, pension providers like insurers and pension funds, face multiple challenges regarding pensions communication.

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Image for PPF Levy – Do you know the score?

PPF Levy – Do you know the score?

12 April 2018

Ahead of the PPF levy deadline Robert Palmer explains how checking your data is correct could save more than just money.

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Image for “You’re fired”

“You’re fired”

29 March 2018

Alan Sugar has it easy. 

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Image for The DWP’s White Paper: eight take-outs for trustees

The DWP’s White Paper: eight take-outs for trustees

29 March 2018

The government’s long-awaited Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes White Paper was published this week. In it, the DWP outlines plans to boost the protection of DB members’ benefits –mainly by giving more powers to The Pensions Regulator.


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Image for Cyber challenges and the 21st century trustee

Cyber challenges and the 21st century trustee

21 March 2018

For all the benefits that technology has given rise to, it poses just as many risks. In the 21st century, personal data is an increasingly valuable commodity, with pension schemes, by their very nature, holding an enormous amount of it. While technology has enabled scheme administration to be automated and to be shared quickly, it has also brought with it many risks that cannot be ignored.  

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Image for Your choice: over and out

Your choice: over and out

16 March 2018

Minimum employer pension contributions to double and employee contributions treble but it still isn't enough. Ian Neale looks at the tough decisions members are facing in the coming months.

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Image for Delivering member benefits - focusing on the right risks?

Delivering member benefits - focusing on the right risks?

15 March 2018

The current pensions’ legislative framework (be it funding, company accounting or solvency) encourages a focus on short-term risk metrics linked to movements in interest rates, but how well does this sit with a scheme’s long-term objective to deliver member benefits? This article explores some of the tension between these dynamics, discusses other risks that a scheme should be focusing on and reflects on the possible implications for leveraged LDI structures. We conclude that cash flow driven investment (CDI) principles should be central to a pension scheme‘s investment strategy to meet its long-term objective to pay member benefits.  

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Image for Pension freedoms: transfers from DB to DC schemes

Pension freedoms: transfers from DB to DC schemes

15 March 2018

In this article, Suzanne Padmore, Legal Director at Burges Salmon considers current issues relating to pension transfers and the use of the pension freedom reforms. She also looks at what 2018 holds for possible improvements to consumer protection in this regulated environment.

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Image for EY Fiduciary management fees survey 2017

EY Fiduciary management fees survey 2017

12 March 2018

EY’s third survey on fiduciary management fees is now available, following our previous fee surveys in 2013 and 2015.

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DC Governance Evolves

09 March 2018

PASA established its DC Governance Working Group that is to be educational, inspirational and fit for all.

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Image for Fiduciary managers and demonstrating how they add value

Fiduciary managers and demonstrating how they add value

05 March 2018

Tej Donsanjh looks at the worth of outsourcing investment decisions to investment experts

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Image for How to get ready for the annual Pension Benefit Statement (IORP II)

How to get ready for the annual Pension Benefit Statement (IORP II)

02 March 2018

Jenny Monger highlights the key points from January's legislation and comments on 3 significant challenges administrators and trustees will face.

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Image for Transparency: four things all fund managers should know in 2018

Transparency: four things all fund managers should know in 2018

02 March 2018

Pension funds are under more pressure than ever to be transparent about their costs.

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Image for Interview with: Yanis Varoufakis, Former Minister of Finance in Greece

Interview with: Yanis Varoufakis, Former Minister of Finance in Greece

27 February 2018

Yanis Varoufakis Shares His Views on the Global Economy, Brexit and the Political Game

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Image for Peter Nicholas asks: who is the audience?

Peter Nicholas asks: who is the audience?

22 February 2018

When it comes to the Chair's statement, to whom is it aimed and what is the purpose?

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Image for Fiduciary management: time someone else ran the day-to-day?

Fiduciary management: time someone else ran the day-to-day?

15 February 2018

As the investment backdrop gets increasingly demanding, trustees need to show they can meet the challenges of today’s pensions schemes. But with their time and resources often under pressure, outsourcing their scheme’s day-to-day running to a fiduciary manager – while still keeping overall control – could be the solution.  

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Image for The Seven Habits of highly effective Pension Trustees

The Seven Habits of highly effective Pension Trustees

15 February 2018

Deon Dreyer examines the best routes to take to become a great trustee

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Image for Is the age of active management dead?

Is the age of active management dead?

14 February 2018

Amanda Burdge discusses the merit of active and passive management in the correct environments.

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Image for Can you invest responsibly in emerging markets?

Can you invest responsibly in emerging markets?

05 February 2018

Two of Capital Group’s equity and fixed income analysts discuss the importance of good Governance when selecting companies and countries to invest in. In their view where the ‘G’ of ESG leads, the ‘E and the ‘S’ follow.

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Image for Security and how to get it

Security and how to get it

31 January 2018

In PTL’s recent risk survey we noticed a sharp spike in concern around the strength of DB sponsor covenants: jumping from 14% in July to 24% in October. This article looks at what can be done about this.


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Image for Engaging DC schemes with ESG factors

Engaging DC schemes with ESG factors

25 January 2018

Stuart O’Brien explains what ESG might look like in practice as part of a scheme’s asset portfolio

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Image for Funding for later life

Funding for later life

18 January 2018

Aries Director Ian Neale insists the pensions industry must support the fight for financing later life

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Image for Why we must rethink our service to deferred members

Why we must rethink our service to deferred members

11 January 2018

PASA’s Geraldine Brassett encourages trustees not to wait for legislative change and to take steps to improve data records and communications with all members regardless of status.

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Image for Three things you need to do in 2018 to get to buy-out

Three things you need to do in 2018 to get to buy-out

05 January 2018

Top of the 2018 ‘to-do’ list for many DB trustees will be planning the process to achieve buy-out. But focusing on funding requirements alone could delay or derail the process if three key administration actions are not considered first.

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Image for Life is what happens while you are busy doing other things

Life is what happens while you are busy doing other things

05 January 2018

Peter Nicholas urges us not to let time pass us by and to grab the opportunity to learn, develop and be prepared for now and for the future. 

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2017 What happened

15 December 2017

The new year beckons so before the bells chime we look back at the last 12 months of pensions

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Image for The importance of planning your DC risks

The importance of planning your DC risks

15 December 2017

Sacha van Hoogdalem discusses the complexities associated with considering DC offerings as an alternative 

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Image for We’re on a road to nowhere

We’re on a road to nowhere

14 December 2017

Are pension members given too much information or not enough?

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Image for Contingency plan

Contingency plan

01 May 2018

Cash will always be king but contingent assets can be a workable compromise

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Image for No news is good news

No news is good news

01 May 2018

Business as usual for pensions post-Budget

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Image for Spotlight on transaction cost disclosure

Spotlight on transaction cost disclosure

01 May 2018

Donny Hay discusses the impact and reasons for transparency on transaction costs

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DC Administration Governance?

17 November 2017

Lucy Collet asks: What do you think of when you think of DC Governance?

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Image for The Pensions Dashboard: where are we?

The Pensions Dashboard: where are we?

17 November 2017

We need to get a grip on retirement saving says Aries Insight's' Ian Neale.

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Image for Dashboard Ready

Dashboard Ready

17 November 2017

The pensions dashboard project is well underway; but what do consumers think and how can schemes prepare ahead of the launch?

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Pension proud

03 November 2017

"I'm proud to work in pensions, but I'm jealous of the NHS" - Peter Nicholas

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