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 Last one out turns off the light - The responsibility of being the last trustee

Last one out turns off the light - The responsibility of being the last trustee

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Were you ever the last person to leave a shared rental house? One of those big houses, which has seen occupants come and go, enjoyed good, bad and some definitely ugly times and had a rather, ahem, varied history in terms of maintenance and general housekeeping.

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Image for Governments and central banks are destroying the value of your money

Governments and central banks are destroying the value of your money

Thursday, February 22, 2024

It is time we look at how the value of money is being destroyed, why it is happening, and what you can do about it.

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Image for I’ll tell you what we want, what we really, really want!

I’ll tell you what we want, what we really, really want!

Friday, February 16, 2024

The last few weeks have been interesting on the scams front. The release of the ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, based on a true story of injustice, raised public anger at the callous treatment of sub-postmasters by those in charge.

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Image for All in favour say “aye” – How might board diversity change our decision-making process?

All in favour say “aye” – How might board diversity change our decision-making process?

Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Pensions Regulator has made its position clear - diverse and inclusive boards make better decisions.

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Image for UK Pension Trustees: is switching advisers the right thing to do?

UK Pension Trustees: is switching advisers the right thing to do?

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Key advisers such as lawyers, actuaries and investment consultants play an important role in trustee decision-making. Given the complexity of pension funds and the need for trust in the relationship, adviser appointments are generally long-term affairs.

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Image for Change is afoot in the bulk annuity market

Change is afoot in the bulk annuity market

Friday, January 26, 2024

Following M&G’s (re)entry into the market in September 2023, announcing a £330m deal for their own scheme, the M&G pension scheme, commentators are predicting that there will be further new entrants into the market in 2024, and possibly some consolidation of existing insurers too.

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Image for How can trustees of DC pension schemes increase member engagement?

How can trustees of DC pension schemes increase member engagement?

Thursday, January 18, 2024

We get it. On the surface, pensions can seem confusing and easier to think about at some other time instead. This often ends up being when it’s almost time to retire!

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Image for Stewardship priorities

Stewardship priorities

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

In June 2022, the Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP”) published guidance for Trustees of Occupational Pension Schemes, concerning stewardship policies, and specifically priorities.

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Image for A 21st Century solution for a 21st Century problem

A 21st Century solution for a 21st Century problem

Friday, December 8, 2023

Last week I spoke twice in Parliament about the unfair tax treatment of investment fraud victims. I also spoke to various media outlets on the same topic. It is good to see increasing interest in this injustice – a clear case of authorities being both deaf and blind to citizens’ hardship and stress.

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Image for Five takeaways from the DWP’s review of TPR

Five takeaways from the DWP’s review of TPR

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Nigel Cayless of Sackers provides an overview of the key points from the Department for Work and Pensions review of the The Pensions Regulator.

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Image for Is this the dawn of a new era in pension scheme de-risking?

Is this the dawn of a new era in pension scheme de-risking?

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The last few months have seen non-insurance de-risking transactions get over the line. In August the second capital backed journey transaction was completed on a sub £100m DB scheme, followed by the recent announcement that Clara had completed a £590m transaction with the Sears Retail Pension Scheme securing the benefits of c. 9,600 members.

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Image for The AI Revolution: How it could potentially transform the UK Defined Benefit Pensions landscape

The AI Revolution: How it could potentially transform the UK Defined Benefit Pensions landscape

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) could be on the cusp of transforming the defined benefit (DB) pension sector in the UK; an area traditionally somewhat slow in embracing technological advancements.

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Image for Can technology and people combine for superior pension fund outcomes?

Can technology and people combine for superior pension fund outcomes?

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Jaco Wasserfall of PensionSmith discusses the notion that both a blend of the human-touch and technology, can only be beneficial for pension savers.

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Image for In the Wake of a Crisis - 12 months later

In the Wake of a Crisis - 12 months later

Monday, October 30, 2023

One year on, George Scurr of Quantum Advisory evaluates the impact of the gilt crisis on pension portfolios.

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Image for Predators Stalking our Pensions

Predators Stalking our Pensions

Friday, October 20, 2023

Margaret Snowdon argues that fraud prevention creates a net benefit for everyone, not just potential victims.

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Image for How can non-experts challenge the experts?

How can non-experts challenge the experts?

Friday, October 20, 2023

As a trustee it’s your duty to take advice. It's also your duty to scrutinise and, where appropriate, to challenge that advice.

But some pensions advice is incredibly technical and complex.

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Image for Has Automatic Enrolment Succeeded?

Has Automatic Enrolment Succeeded?

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

This month marks the 11th anniversary of Automatic Enrolment (AE), first introduced in the UK in October 2012, following the Pensions Act of 2008.

But has it worked?

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Image for Post buy-in for bulk annuities

Post buy-in for bulk annuities

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Unless you’ve been in hiding, it won’t have escaped you that the demand for bulk annuities has skyrocketed over the past year, primarily due to the increase in gilt yields and an increased willingness for sponsors to fund DB scheme deficits.

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Image for What would pensions and investments look like with sound money?

What would pensions and investments look like with sound money?

Friday, September 29, 2023

Sam Roberts of Cartwright muses about how the pension system could work under a different monetary system.

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Image for Enhancing Pension Fund Communication: Fostering Trust and Overcoming Challenges

Enhancing Pension Fund Communication: Fostering Trust and Overcoming Challenges

Thursday, September 14, 2023

When it comes to retirement planning, effective communications between pension providers and their members are key to building trust, bolstering financial literacy, and ensuring a secure financial future.

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Image for Beware the duck sized horses

Beware the duck sized horses

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Would you prefer to fight one horse sized duck or a hundred duck sized horses? What about thousands of duck sized horses? If your pension scheme has the power to make a discretionary transfer, then you should think about this question when designing your due diligence procedures.

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Image for Seven key lessons for schemes thinking that transacting with an insurer is the solution

Seven key lessons for schemes thinking that transacting with an insurer is the solution

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

ZEDRA Governance Client Director Alan Greenlees considers the crucial factors trustees should consider when contemplating buy-out for their schemes.

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Image for Shifting the paradigm – support the victims and pursue the scammers?

Shifting the paradigm – support the victims and pursue the scammers?

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Margaret Snowdon, Chair of PSIG, argues that putting the focus on perpetrators rather than victims is an essential step in the fight against pension scamming.

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Image for Discretionary decisions: Why do you need a lawyer when there is no one right answer?

Discretionary decisions: Why do you need a lawyer when there is no one right answer?

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Many of the decisions that trustees make are discretionary decisions. Basically, as trustees, you have the power to decide what to do.

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Image for Cyber Security – An increasingly risky outlook

Cyber Security – An increasingly risky outlook

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Chris Heirene of Quantum Advisory provides some valuable advice with regards to how Trustees can protect themselves and prepare against cyber attacks

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Image for Small Scheme Buy-ins and Pensions Consolidation

Small Scheme Buy-ins and Pensions Consolidation

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Mark Foster comments on how small pension schemes can be better prepared for a potential insurance transaction

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Image for Mansion House Reforms

Mansion House Reforms

Friday, July 28, 2023

Sam Roberts comments on the Chancellor's recent Mansion House speech

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Image for Master Trusts - how to turn dashboard delay to huge opportunity for member engagement

Master Trusts - how to turn dashboard delay to huge opportunity for member engagement

Thursday, July 20, 2023

The postponement of the Pensions Dashboard Program until October 2026 has put master trusts, that were hoping to utilise this tool as a way of positioning themselves as consolidators in the pensions industry, into a state of strategic re-evaluation.

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Image for Welcome on board!

Welcome on board!

Friday, July 7, 2023

Some obvious, and some less obvious, reasons why it’s good to have new trustees

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Image for Stewardship in India: findings from a recent survey

Stewardship in India: findings from a recent survey

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Ensuring that investment practitioners in emerging markets integrate responsible investing practices into the way they invest is critical to attracting and retaining global capital.

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Image for “It needn’t be perfect – just get it going”

“It needn’t be perfect – just get it going”

Friday, June 30, 2023

Margaret Snowdon suggests improvements to pension transfer regulation

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Image for Six things every Chief Financial Officer can do to support their pension scheme

Six things every Chief Financial Officer can do to support their pension scheme

Friday, June 23, 2023

Dan Richards, Client Director, ZEDRA Governance explains key areas where CFOs can help to support good scheme governance and effective decision-making.

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Image for How to get data ready

How to get data ready

Friday, June 16, 2023

The market for buy-in/buy-out has grown exponentially post the LDI crisis of last year with many schemes finding themselves in a position of funding they couldn’t have predicted. This has provided them with a much earlier opportunity to buy-out, but their data could be holding them back.

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Image for Illiquid assets – a blocker to buyout?

Illiquid assets – a blocker to buyout?

Thursday, June 8, 2023

With recent rapid increases in interest rates and the positive impact that has had on most DB pension schemes’ funding levels, many find themselves in a funding position to afford buy-out.

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Image for Don’t miss an opportunity - what should a good transition look like?

Don’t miss an opportunity - what should a good transition look like?

Friday, June 2, 2023

There is a growing trend in the market to switch administration providers. There are many reasons why a Scheme may look to move their administration from their existing third-party administrator to a new provider.

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Image for Dashboards: Technology is great but don’t forget the member!

Dashboards: Technology is great but don’t forget the member!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The UK pension dashboard scene has witnessed significant developments, albeit facing its fair share of challenges and delays.

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Image for Governance in Emerging Markets

Governance in Emerging Markets

Friday, May 19, 2023

“Weak governance” is often cited as a reason for avoiding emerging markets, despite the diversification and return opportunities that investing there can bring to an institutional portfolio.

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Image for A New Era for LDI

A New Era for LDI

Friday, May 12, 2023

In less than a year the world of LDI has changed dramatically.

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Image for When is a penalty not a penalty?

When is a penalty not a penalty?

Friday, April 28, 2023

No, I’m not talking about football, but that other kick-about sport: HMRC’s relentless pursuit of tax from scams victims. And yes, I’ve talked about it until I am hoarse, but I learned something in my research last week, which is rather Kafkaesque - and no I am not referring to the Raabster’s resignation diatribe in the Telegraph, but to a genuine injustice.

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Image for The Impact of Employment Trends on UK Pension Pots

The Impact of Employment Trends on UK Pension Pots

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Pension providers, trustees of defined contribution schemes, and employers should consider the impact of employment trends on pension pots, and reflect on what they can do to protect members.

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Image for ‘I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!’

‘I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!’

Friday, April 21, 2023

…but unlike the White Rabbit, we aren’t worried about that.

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Image for Understanding your de-risking options

Understanding your de-risking options

Thursday, April 6, 2023

After a tumultuous three years in financial markets, Adam Davis discusses endgame options open to scheme trustees, and the further implications that bear consideration.

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Image for Let’s be professional - changing pension administration providers shouldn’t be a nightmare

Let’s be professional - changing pension administration providers shouldn’t be a nightmare

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Throughout the lifetime of a pension scheme, the provider of administration services will change at least once if not more.
The reasons for the switch are varied and complex, such as an acquisition or a merger. However, the most common reasons to change providers comes down to poor service and high costs.

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Image for An evolving dashboard is better than none at all

An evolving dashboard is better than none at all

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Following the announcement that the launch of the Pension Dashboard will experience further delays, Jaco Wasserfall argues that staggering its release could be beneficial.

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Image for Real Estate - what will the new normal be?

Real Estate - what will the new normal be?

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The impact of rising interest rates to control inflation will likely have significant short- and long-term impact on global real estate markets. While initial effects are starting to be seen in loan defaults in the office sector, we believe the true impact won't be known until 2H23/1H24. With rates expected to be higher for longer, what will the new normal be for valuation capitalization rates (cap rates), real estate allocations and managers survivability?

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Image for Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Meaningfully measuring investment performance

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Image for Eight reasons why trustee boards should take training seriously

Eight reasons why trustee boards should take training seriously

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Trustee training is an essential component of good scheme governance, for new and existing trustees alike.

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Image for Consumer Duty

Consumer Duty

Thursday, March 2, 2023

"I had an interesting conversation with a trustee the other day, in which I happened to mention the new FCA Consumer Duty coming into play from 31st July. “Thank goodness that doesn’t apply to us” he said.   I was taken aback but also intrigued as to why such a negative reaction."
Margaret Snowdon, Chair, PSIG

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Image for The flood gates are open – are you prepared?

The flood gates are open – are you prepared?

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Analysis shows that DB pension scheme funding has improved from c.70% back in March 2021 to over 90% by the end of 2022...

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Image for Pension Dashboard will shine a spotlight on the elephant in the room; the gender pension gap

Pension Dashboard will shine a spotlight on the elephant in the room; the gender pension gap

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

An issue that has received lots of attention over recent years is the gender pay gap. However, that is only a drop in the ocean compared to a bigger issue, the pension gender gap. The upcoming release of the dashboard will hopefully result in the spotlight shining brighter on this increasingly important topic.

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Image for Hedge Funds - Multistrat vs HFOF

Hedge Funds - Multistrat vs HFOF

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Hedge funds have long been a popular alternative investment choice among pension funds but have waned in popularity in recent years. In 2020, European pension funds had an average 5% allocation to hedge funds (44% of funds surveyed were in the UK).[1]


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Image for The bumpy road to Disneyland

The bumpy road to Disneyland

Friday, January 13, 2023

Mohamed El-Erian, Chairman of Gramercy and previously CEO of PIMCO, recently described the future for investors globally as the “bumpy road to Disneyland”. He described a picture of an excited father and son leaving for Disneyland but arriving all tired and exhausted after going through traffic, detours, and travel sickness. (...)There have been many bumps on the road, whether it is regulation, geopolitics or COVID lockdowns. It’s worth revisiting why one should travel to Disneyland

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Image for 10 reasons why bulk annuity transactions are happening

10 reasons why bulk annuity transactions are happening

Friday, January 13, 2023

Some trustees and employers still assume a bulk annuity transaction isn’t going to happen or if it is, that it’s in the distant future. What’s interesting is that many are surprised by what’s possible and how close they might be to securing members’ benefits.

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Image for 2023 - The year for kindness and common sense

2023 - The year for kindness and common sense

Friday, January 13, 2023

2022 has been a turbulent year causing confusion and anxiety everywhere, even in pensions where we are often content to be boring. In fact, a bit more of boring wouldn’t go amiss sometimes!
I am, by nature, an upbeat soul – positivity and hope for change drives me. But 2022 was a challenge - some disappointing outcomes on the personal and professional front that sapped enthusiasm.  - Margaret Snowdown

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Image for ESG and Fiduciary Responsibility: Europe vs US

ESG and Fiduciary Responsibility: Europe vs US

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Institutional, private, and public capital globally have largely contributed to the surge in ESG related investments; currently estimated to be approximately $35 trillion and growing[1]. This phenomenon has led to increased interest and scrutiny of ESG investing.

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Image for Buyout Aware Investment Strategy

Buyout Aware Investment Strategy

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Over the past 12 months the landscape for UK defined benefit (“DB”) pension schemes has forced trustees and their advisers to focus their attention on their investment strategy and grasp de-risking opportunities as they are presented. Throughout the year headwinds have been coming from all directions: geopolitical risks, stubbornly high inflation, and not least the recent spike in UK gilt yields which caused a tail risk event to occur for schemes holding liability driven investing (“LDI”) strategies.

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Image for Bulls vs Bears

Bulls vs Bears

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A relief rally by global equities continued in the first half of August before hawkish comment from the US Federal Reserve sent global markets back into a downtrend. Since then, it’s been a mixed ride driven by inflation news and interest rate expectations. The Chinese markets, while driven by different factors, were equally volatile: a Party Congress, erratic foreign sentiment, COVID lockdowns and releases, a property sector slowdown. Despite pockets of good news on exports and infrastructure investment, China’s economy remained lacklustre.

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Image for Mission Possible?

Mission Possible?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Isn’t it typical of Hollywood that Mission Impossible isn’t actually impossible after all. Rather, perfectly doable with a bit of daring, a bit of willing, a mild disdain for the rules and a winning way with prosthetics.

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Image for Clearing up misconceptions about LDI

Clearing up misconceptions about LDI

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Much of the press coverage on LDI during the recent market turmoil has, been inaccurate and based on, what we can only assume to be, misunderstandings. The biggest example of this being the suggestion that pension schemes were on the brink of insolvency and that large amounts of leverage was being used to generate returns. This was not the case.

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Reflections

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Richard Butcher looks back at his time as managing director of ZEDRA (previously PTL) and reflects upon the changing world of professional trusteeship

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Image for Early retirement in times of high inflation

Early retirement in times of high inflation

Thursday, November 3, 2022

The unusually high level of inflation being experienced in the UK is forcing trustees of defined benefit schemes to review their schemes and consider the impact of this on members who are considering taking early retirement imminently.

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Image for The good news struggling to get out from the LDI crisis

The good news struggling to get out from the LDI crisis

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Pensions is in the news, and not in a good way. The recent turmoil in the gilt markets has been very heavily driven by the actions of defined benefit pension schemes who have needed to post material levels of collateral on their liability driven investments (LDI) as long-term interest rates have risen, and fast.

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Image for Creating engaging pension communications with impact

Creating engaging pension communications with impact

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

We know that pensions is a very complex subject. There’s a serious lack of confidence among large groups of members that can easily lead to the dreaded inertia. Which is why your approach to communicating the ins and outs of your scheme to those who need a little help is so important.

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Image for Central Banks Have Caught Themselves in a Trap

Central Banks Have Caught Themselves in a Trap

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

 Could Bitcoin be Part of the Solution?

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Image for The small scheme buyout BOOM

The small scheme buyout BOOM

Thursday, September 29, 2022

I passionately believe that our industry must do more to help smaller schemes. By number, small schemes make up the vast majority of all private sector DB schemes in the UK. The Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) 2021 Purple Book showed that approximately 36% of all PPF-eligible DB schemes had fewer than 100 members and a further 44% had between 100 and 999 members – so that’s 80% of all schemes.

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Image for Pension scammers over the years

Pension scammers over the years

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Scams have changed, but somehow remain the same. More and more people have joined the fight against pension scams - However we must pay attention and government, regulators, police and courts must act in lockstep.

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Image for How to put the ‘S’ in your ESG policy

How to put the ‘S’ in your ESG policy

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The importance of good governance has been understood and assessed for many years, with investors paying close attention to the composition, behaviour, and running of corporate boards. Similarly, the full reality of climate change has become mainstream news, with the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year putting pressure on governments and investors around the world to limit the damaging effects of global warning. 

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Image for Winners today may be losers tomorrow

Winners today may be losers tomorrow

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

“Past performance is not indicative of future results”

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Image for Pension Scams: How They Are Evolving & What More Can We Do?

Pension Scams: How They Are Evolving & What More Can We Do?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The recent publication of the joint Pension Regulator and National Fraud Investigation Bureau Pension Scams Threat Assessment provided insightful commentary into how pension scams have changed over the years. Nothing stays the same of course and it is unsurprising that those who wish to rob hard-working people of their financial security in retirement have continued to explore different and more effective ways of doing so. 

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Image for Livestreaming e-commerce

Livestreaming e-commerce

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

During times of turbulence and economic volatility, it is very easy to forget the main reason for investing in China. It is the single largest digital-savvy population globally presenting excellent opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to exploit. The emergence of live streaming e-commerce in China is an example of this innovation.

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Image for It’s time to prepare for pension dashboards

It’s time to prepare for pension dashboards

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

It’s fair to say that the evolution of pensions dashboards has been a marathon, not a sprint. But over the last year we’ve seen major progress in terms of timetables, scope, and specifications for their launch. It’s now time for pension schemes to play their part to help savers keep track of their pension savings and make better plans for their retirement.

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Data Cleansing

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Getting ‘transaction ready’ – you snooze you lose!!

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Image for Solvency II reform: More clarity for bulk annuity insurers

Solvency II reform: More clarity for bulk annuity insurers

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

In our March blog, we commented on the first glimpse of the UK Government’s proposed reforms to the “Solvency II” regulations that set out how much capital UK insurers are required to hold, which were outlined in a speech by John Glen MP, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. On 28 April, HM Treasury published a consultation paper providing more detail on the proposed reforms.

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Image for Buy-out and risk transfer – a case study by Chris Mason, Senior Consultant & Actuary at Quantum Advisory

Buy-out and risk transfer – a case study by Chris Mason, Senior Consultant & Actuary at Quantum Advisory

Monday, June 20, 2022

Helping Trustees to navigate the challenges of a buyout for a small scheme


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Is China investible?

Monday, June 13, 2022

Does investing in China still make sense?

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Image for What is Value for Money?

What is Value for Money?

Monday, June 6, 2022

“Man must measure”, wrote the mathematician Lancelot Hogben over sixty years ago. A little later Peter Drucker allegedly asserted “if it cannot be measured, it cannot be managed” – although a more complete quotation would be “What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organization to do so.”

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Image for Are we currently seeing the emergence of a new global monetary system?

Are we currently seeing the emergence of a new global monetary system?

Thursday, May 26, 2022

After World War 2, the US and other developed economies, agreed to establish an international gold backed monetary system. Under this system they agreed that US dollars could be converted to gold upon demand at a fixed exchange rate. This system was maintained until 1971 and made the US dollar the global reserve currency.

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Image for Administrator, you shall go to the ball!

Administrator, you shall go to the ball!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Pensions administration is often described as the “Cinderella service”. While the ugly sisters go the ball in all their gaudy finery, Cinderella is left behind to clean the house and nibble on a few crusts. We make the comparison in jest, but behind the kindly humour there is a great deal of truth.

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Image for How to create a more diverse, inclusive trustee board

How to create a more diverse, inclusive trustee board

Friday, May 20, 2022

Auto-enrolment has permanently changed the demographics of pension saving. While there is still more to be done to make sure everyone can save comfortably for retirement, more women now save into a defined contribution (DC) pension than ever before, and saving among young employees has skyrocketed from around 25% in 2009 to 85% in 2020[1]


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Image for Is the buyout market capacity crunch here?

Is the buyout market capacity crunch here?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Insurers have the capital and appetite to write a vast amount of bulk annuity business each year and, to date, a lack of insurer capacity has never been an issue for pension schemes looking to purchase a bulk annuity.

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Image for And you thought equal pay was the issue?

And you thought equal pay was the issue?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Karen Partridge discusses how important it is to change how and when the pensions industry engages with women

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Image for Pensions Act 1995 – 25 years on…

Pensions Act 1995 – 25 years on…

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Would you believe the Act is now 25 years old, having come into force on 6 April 1997, and is probably the most important legislation in the industry’s history?

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Image for Print in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Print in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

I try to live by the maxim: act in haste, repent at leisure. After drafting anything longer than an acknowledgment email, I like to leave it a while (preferably overnight) before one final sense check. It is slower, but any mistakes might become visible with fresh eyes.

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Image for The opportunity in China small cap

The opportunity in China small cap

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Chinese regulators have been busy with a crackdown against monopolistic behaviour by large domestic companies as part of the drive for “Common Prosperity”. A consequence of this is a more competitive environment which creates opportunities for smaller companies. And yet this space is largely unexplored in China. 

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Image for Managing downside risk in defined benefit schemes

Managing downside risk in defined benefit schemes

Monday, April 4, 2022

Investment strategy is the powerhouse of any defined benefit (DB) scheme. Strategies are as unique as schemes themselves, based on characteristics such as the maturity of the membership, strength of the sponsor covenant, scheme rules and a host of other factors. 

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Image for Pension Scams: How Will We Know If We Are Making A Difference?

Pension Scams: How Will We Know If We Are Making A Difference?

Friday, April 1, 2022

The publication of the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Conditions for Transfers) Regulations 2021 rightly received extensive coverage in the pensions press and media - they represent a significant step forward in the fight against pension scams. It is hoped that the new statutory powers afforded to trustees will make a real difference and provide much needed protection to scheme members.

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Shades of Green

Thursday, March 31, 2022

The evolution of ESG investing - What information do we need to help us take that first step?

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Image for Why the war in Ukraine affects every pension scheme, however small

Why the war in Ukraine affects every pension scheme, however small

Monday, March 14, 2022

The current situation in Ukraine is unsettling and concerning on many different levels. We hope it will de-escalate as soon as possible and our thoughts are particularly with those at personal physical risk – I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.

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Image for Solvency II reform – Seismic Shift or Gentle Transformation?

Solvency II reform – Seismic Shift or Gentle Transformation?

Monday, March 7, 2022

It has been known for some time that the UK Government and the financial services regulatory body, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), have concerns with “Solvency II”, the current rules that set out how much capital UK insurers are required to hold.

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Image for 'Conditions for Transfers Regulations' - Is this a positive step or an unwelcome development?

'Conditions for Transfers Regulations' - Is this a positive step or an unwelcome development?

Thursday, February 17, 2022

In this blog Margaret Snowdon discusses that more is to be done in defining the latest transfer regulations, but urges we should be careful that we don’t let perfect become the enemy of the good.

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Image for The wider implications of regulation

The wider implications of regulation

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

If the leitmotif of the present age is ‘sustainable’, its obverse is just as evident. Housing, child care, social care (any kind of care), financial advice – you name it, how often do we see it labelled ‘unaffordable’, implying ‘unsustainable’ by extension.

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Image for Another turbulent year for investors: China in 2021

Another turbulent year for investors: China in 2021

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

As China enters the Year of the Tiger, we look back on a tough 2021. The long-term uptrend of large consumer companies like Alibaba and Tencent ended abruptly as the state prioritised objectives like social stability and common prosperity

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Image for Key issues for trustees in 2022

Key issues for trustees in 2022

Monday, February 7, 2022

With 2021 behind us, and an uncertain outlook for the year to come, we asked three PTL Client Directors for their views on the top issues facing pension trustees in 2022.

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Image for Pensions dashboards – Lots of cooks but how do we avoid spoiling the Rice, Rice, Baby?

Pensions dashboards – Lots of cooks but how do we avoid spoiling the Rice, Rice, Baby?

Monday, January 31, 2022

Our appetite for pensions dashboards has been well and truly whetted. Now they’re just around the corner, it’s worth considering the sheer number of ingredients needed to ensure they’re a resounding success. 

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Image for Getting to buyout – the importance of using the best partners

Getting to buyout – the importance of using the best partners

Thursday, January 20, 2022

For many small schemes who do not have access to the same depth of resources as their bigger counterparts, getting to buyout can seem like a moonshot. A seemingly impossible target that is too far away, too expensive, and too difficult to attempt. Even the prospect of insurance and all that it involves can be overwhelming.

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Image for Pensions risk settlement in 2021: A year in review

Pensions risk settlement in 2021: A year in review

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Make your first steps now, de-risk before transacting.

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Image for Benchmarking cash

Benchmarking cash

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

It has become apparent that inter-bank rates have regrettably long passed their sell-by date. This is in part due to the way they are calculated...

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On the limitations of legislation

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Pension scheme trustees, administrators and advisers have been much exercised lately by new pension transfer regulations from the DWP. 

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Image for Reducing carbon emissions in emerging markets

Reducing carbon emissions in emerging markets

Thursday, December 9, 2021

A case of necessity trumping over the environment? 

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Image for Sponsors need value for money too: managing costs in defined benefit schemes

Sponsors need value for money too: managing costs in defined benefit schemes

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Getting value for money is one of the most hotly debated topics in pensions – and rightly so.
 
The focus is often on value for members in defined contribution schemes, but defined benefit (DB) trustee boards must also be able to show scheme sponsors that they are running their scheme cost-effectively. 

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Image for Scams: the beginning of the end?

Scams: the beginning of the end?

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

At last. We have the regulations to help trustees and managers just say no to suspect transfers. Hooray! Put out the bunting! Pop open the bubbly!...

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Image for ‘Parents, schools, government; where does the responsibility lie when it comes to educating children about pensions?’

‘Parents, schools, government; where does the responsibility lie when it comes to educating children about pensions?’

Monday, November 1, 2021

With the State Pension Age (SPA) and Minimum Pension Age (MPA) both set to rise respectively, and according to the Actuarial Post, two thirds of adults are unsure whether they will have enough money to retire, there has never been a greater emphasis on the need to begin to save from a young age.

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Image for 4IR and the pensions industry’s juxtaposition, success will be in keeping it personal

4IR and the pensions industry’s juxtaposition, success will be in keeping it personal

Monday, November 1, 2021

It’s an exciting time to be a consumer. New technologies are constantly being created to simplify and enhance our lives, and the way we live and work has been transformed in recent years, with sweeping changes across many sectors from supermarket shopping to online banking. 

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China’s tech giant edge

Thursday, October 21, 2021

China is the only country besides the USA that has delivered several multi-billion dollar technology companies. Why is this? We try to unpack the key ingredients in this article. 

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Image for ”Common Prosperity” in China

”Common Prosperity” in China

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Chinese regulatory events have dominated recent market news. This regulatory activity led to volatility across the Chinese markets as foreign investors in particular became concerned about China’s policy direction with some even questioning the government’s commitment to a market economy. Numerous sectors have been targeted, whether it is after-school education, online gaming for children, or most recently gambling licences in Macau.

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Image for What we talk about when we talk about pensions

What we talk about when we talk about pensions

Monday, October 11, 2021

A former Chancellor threw open a stable door seven years ago, and the pensions industry has been the same ever since. Yes, the same, in one sense: we still talk the same language. Even though fewer and fewer people have pensions: private sector employees are instead building up – or as we say, ‘accruing’ – pots of money.

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Image for Trustees and sponsors: 5 tips for building better relationships

Trustees and sponsors: 5 tips for building better relationships

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Pension schemes thrive when there is a good relationship between the trustee board and the scheme sponsor. For defined benefit (DB) schemes, that relationship sits at the heart of scheme governance, influencing everything from day-to-day tasks through to major discussions over scheme direction and funding.

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Image for The case for DC Consolidation?

The case for DC Consolidation?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Earlier this summer DWP published its consultation: ‘Future of the defined contribution pension market: the case for greater consolidation’.

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Member engagement – the next generation

Thursday, September 2, 2021

It's essential for members to be engaged with their pension fund if they're to make informed, active decisions and value the benefit they're receiving. The tricky bit is how to obtain that engagement. At CEM we believe that appropriate engagement channels and timing are key to maximising member engagement. 

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Standing out in the crowd

Friday, August 27, 2021

The bulk annuity market is buoyant, but you might not realise it looking at recently published numbers on transaction volumes. The first quarter of 2021 was relatively quiet but since then the number of schemes approaching the insurance market has been very high. 

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Image for “Funding - are you missing an opportunity?”

“Funding - are you missing an opportunity?”

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

In DB pensions, we know that opportunities will come but we also know that time is running out as schemes move towards their end-game.

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Image for How do you solve a problem like…pensions?

How do you solve a problem like…pensions?

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? If the 1950s gave us The Sound of Music, it seems we all now need to start to face the music when it comes to pensions savings.

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Image for Shifting the Balance

Shifting the Balance

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

As we navigate our way out of the Covid-19 restrictions July 19 was hailed as Freedom Day. But, how free are we? We are surrounded by ‘freedoms’, but when is freedom really freedom?

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Image for Not a Pointless Answer I’m Afraid

Not a Pointless Answer I’m Afraid

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ignorance of the law (and of regulation) is no defence against the consequences of a breach. So it is important to know what it is and understanding what it means in practice.

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Cost vs Performance

Thursday, July 15, 2021

One of the most interesting things about having lots of data is the unexpected things you discover when you start playing with it. 

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Image for Nudging members toward better retirement choices

Nudging members toward better retirement choices

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released a consultation titled ‘The stronger nudge to pensions guidance’. Its aim is to create an environment where consumers are encouraged to take the right guidance at the right time to support them to make informed decisions.

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Image for The Road Ahead is Under Construction

The Road Ahead is Under Construction

Thursday, July 15, 2021

We are all waiting for the expected regulations on transfers, bringing in the curbs to the statutory right to transfer.  PSIG has battled long and hard for legislation to help trustees do the right thing by members tempted by dodgy offers, so we are fully supportive of the DWP regulations to come, and indeed, have helped form them. 

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Image for The Investment Podcast: Sustainability in private credit – can the two go hand in hand?

The Investment Podcast: Sustainability in private credit – can the two go hand in hand?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

While sustainability has been most obviously implemented within public markets, appetite from investors to access private market opportunities has grown. With fewer disclosure requirements, and challenges in providing tangible evidence and data that prove the sustainability of business operations, can allocations to private credit be coherent with a desire to increase sustainability in investment? Catherine Ross and Fiona Hagdrup at M&G Investments sit down to explore the compatibility of these two investment aims.

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Image for Considering climate risk – some pointers for trustees

Considering climate risk – some pointers for trustees

Friday, July 2, 2021

Richard Butcher discusses the “must do’s” versus the “can do’s” when it comes to climate change and investments.

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Image for CTI Templates - fail fast, learn fast

CTI Templates - fail fast, learn fast

Friday, July 2, 2021

CTI has been a success. It has improved the flow and consistency of cost data coming from investment managers, but challenges remain. Anyone collecting templates, either within an asset owner or an intermediary, need to learn fast to make the data useable.

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Image for The Investment Podcast: Navigating the road to real estate recovery

The Investment Podcast: Navigating the road to real estate recovery

Friday, June 25, 2021

Picking up on the themes from their latest Global Real Estate Outlook, the real estate team at M&G Investments discuss the outlook across different sectors and geographies. Which could see rapid growth and which may lag behind? They also explore the potential impact of inflation on the asset class.

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Image for Setting your pension strategy – now is the time

Setting your pension strategy – now is the time

Friday, June 18, 2021

A trustee’s ultimate responsibility is to ensure that benefits are paid in full up to and including the final payment to the very last member. The challenge is how to deliver on something that is so far away. 

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Image for Are DC contribution levels enough in the current low economic growth world?

Are DC contribution levels enough in the current low economic growth world?

Friday, June 18, 2021

Understandably a lot of the focus in the last 15 months has been placed on the short-term impacts on the financial wellbeing of individuals and businesses alike from the Covid-19 global pandemic. Whilst engagement by Trustees and members in Defined Contribution (“DC”) pension arrangements have seen a boost over the period, our experience is still that DC arrangements are often forgotten by sponsoring employers when compared with their Defined Benefit (“DB”) counterparts.  

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Image for Why and how small DB pension schemes should insure

Why and how small DB pension schemes should insure

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Bulk annuity insurance might seem like an obvious objective for a small pension scheme but what are the specific factors behind that? Let’s consider a couple.

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Image for Global Real Estate Outlook: Navigating the road to recovery

Global Real Estate Outlook: Navigating the road to recovery

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The unparalleled economic disruption and acceleration of structural trends caused by the pandemic has focused investors on positioning for the long term. But what is the final destination? And with the journey unlikely to be smooth, could cyclical opportunities get lost? In the latest outlook from M&G Investments, we map the potential road to recovery, from today’s starting point, to signposts to look out for, to the direction of travel for real estate portfolios.

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Image for The Investment Podcast: The folly of forecasting – finding value in an uncertain world

The Investment Podcast: The folly of forecasting – finding value in an uncertain world

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

There has been significant positive momentum in credit markets since the Covid crisis began, underpinned by unprecedented levels of government and central bank support. However, despite market expectations of a sharp rebound in economic activity, there remain significant risks to this view. Notably, what happens as the stimulus packages are wound down - how will markets respond? What does the structure of markets tell us about the underlying risks? In this episode, David Parsons is joined by Richard Ryan to talk about the current issues in fixed income markets and the cyclical nature of markets.

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Image for Prevention is better than cure

Prevention is better than cure

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Seven years ago, I set up the Pension Scams Industry Group, with some like-minded senior industry representatives, to combat the rising problem of pension scams. Within the industry, we could see harm being done and I predicted that we would see £1Bn being lost to scams by 2018. Even though it seemed unbelievable to many at the time, unfortunately that milestone was easily passed.

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Image for DC Governance – a tale of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

DC Governance – a tale of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

An analogy comparing DC governance to a spaghetti western (however iconic!) may seem tenuous – but when PASA reviewed TPR’s recently published ‘Defined Contribution trust-based pension scheme research report’, it was more relevant than you might at first imagine.

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Image for Member engagement: Four simple tips for going beyond the tick-box approach

Member engagement: Four simple tips for going beyond the tick-box approach

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Pension scheme members have multiple choices to make along their retirement savings journey. Whether it’s how much to save, when to retire or how to take benefits, engaging members is key to helping them make informed choices and maximise their outcomes.

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Image for A closer look at the ‘S’ in ESG - especially when it comes to investing in China

A closer look at the ‘S’ in ESG - especially when it comes to investing in China

Friday, May 14, 2021

The rapid growth of Asian stock markets has captured investors’ attention – but so have worries about ESG, especially in China. China’s effort to tackle the environment, like lowering carbon emissions, is well recognised, but concerns regarding human rights cast a shadow over the incredible growth opportunities.

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Image for The pensions risk transfer market during the pandemic

The pensions risk transfer market during the pandemic

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

For obvious reasons, we’ve recently seen a lot of television and press features looking back at the events of the past 12 months. Let’s look back at what has happened in the bulk annuity market in that time and what this might lead to over the next 12 months.

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Image for Pension Wise and Otherwise

Pension Wise and Otherwise

Monday, May 10, 2021

For the past six years, pension savers with defined contribution (DC) pots have had to decide for themselves how best to fund their retirement. It might be the hardest decision they ever have to make, especially if they’re relying on income drawdown because they don’t know how long the pot will have to last. DC savers carry the longevity risk.

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Sidecar Blues

Friday, April 23, 2021

It’s generally acknowledged that as a nation, we’re not saving enough. A lot of people don’t have any savings at all, and a lot more don’t have significant pension savings. Personal expenditure all too often rises to match income, so it’s hard for many people to save, and even harder to voluntarily commit funds to a retirement scheme which they can’t get at again for decades. But we need to do both.

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Image for RPI reform – issues and actions for trustees

RPI reform – issues and actions for trustees

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Following a period of consultation, the Government announced on 25 November 2020 its intention to align the Retail Price Index (RPI) with the Consumer Price Index including housing costs (CPIH) from 2030.

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Image for Value centric pension administration – how to move the needle

Value centric pension administration – how to move the needle

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Is the UK too focused on driving pension administration costs down or are we missing something vital?

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Image for The rise of government bond yields

The rise of government bond yields

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Pension schemes are one of the largest investors in fixed income instruments and hence are sensitive to central bank policy - monitoring of global monetary policies are of utmost importance.

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Image for The evolution of ESG investing

The evolution of ESG investing

Monday, March 22, 2021

Shades of Green 

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Image for A review of a turbulent 2020

A review of a turbulent 2020

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Chinese perspective.

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Image for A Misguidance Manual

A Misguidance Manual

Friday, March 12, 2021

The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
- George Bernard Shaw

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Image for Hooking in your members

Hooking in your members

Monday, February 22, 2021

Engaging members in their pensions has never been more important, although achieving it remains stubbornly elusive for most trustees and employers. Can appealing to a member’s social conscience be the hook we’ve been waiting for?

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Image for There is no such thing as a free SARs

There is no such thing as a free SARs

Monday, February 22, 2021

Or a free lunch for that matter. Paul Sturgess, PASA discusses Subject Access Request (SARs).

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Image for Working to Combat Scams

Working to Combat Scams

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

As we look forward with hope that the dedication, expertise and teamwork of our scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals will enable us to overcome this dreadful virus, so too in the world of pension scams we hope that the determination and focus of so many good people in the industry can really see us make a difference in the year ahead.

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Image for Contingency plan

Contingency plan

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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

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No news is good news

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Business as usual for pensions post-Budget

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Image for Spotlight on transaction cost disclosure

Spotlight on transaction cost disclosure

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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

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Image for DC Administration Governance?

DC Administration Governance?

Friday, November 17, 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?

Friday, November 17, 2017

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

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Dashboard Ready

Friday, November 17, 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

Friday, November 3, 2017

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

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