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11 October 2017

Can IRM make scheme monitoring and reporting easier, not harder?

By Jane Evans Integrated Risk Management (IRM) – the idea of looking collectively at all the risks that might ultimately prevent a scheme paying out all its member benefits over time – is an excellent concept. It would be crazy to spend a lot of energy solving a particular scheme...

19 September 2017

Disclosing pension accounting liabilities - three top tips to consider

By Brian Peters The Financial Reporting Council has announced a thematic review of companies’ disclosures about pension costs to encourage more transparent reporting of pension accounting liabilities and risks. This is partly because pension liabilities have grown substantially in recent years. According to PwC’s Skyval Index covering 5,900 UK defined...

05 May 2017

The 'Big Bang' theory of pensions

According to generally accepted wisdom, in the very early stages of the Big Bang, the Universe underwent a massive period of expansion called inflation, and the effects have been felt ever since. A different type of inflation has been continuing more or less since defined benefit pension schemes were created....

16 March 2017

Why pension schemes must act now on cyber risk

By Peter Sparshott Is your pension scheme at risk of a cyber attack? The unfortunate truth is, absolutely. The UK’s occupational pensions sector manages around £3 trillion worth of assets and each scheme holds exactly the sort of valuable data most coveted by hackers: names, national insurance numbers, dates of...

08 March 2017

A quiet day for Pensions - Is the Chancellor keeping his powder dry until the Autumn Budget?

By Steven Dicker As Budgets go, it was a quiet day for pensions, which many will welcome as they continue to struggle with the array of challenges already before them. However, hidden in the detail, the Treasury revealed that it had taken in much more tax as a result of...

02 March 2017

What we learned from the Pensions Green Paper

By Jeremy May This article first appeared in The Spectator on 28th February 2017: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/02/pensions-green-paper-pwc/ You’ve saved for years into a defined benefit pension scheme in the expectation it will provide you with a secure and comfortable retirement. Then, without warning and through no fault of your own, the company...

12 January 2017

PenTech must facilitate better decision making, not hinder it

By Andrew Drake If last century’s science fiction were to be believed, the 21st Century should have been a time of technological wonder. My morning commute transformed by a hoverboard and meetings being held in a hologram format. The reality, I’m afraid, is not quite so exciting. But the developments...

03 January 2017

Five key PenTech predictions for 2017

By Raj Mody As one year draws to a close it’s customary to look back at its highlights. The past year has been tumultuous in many ways, including for pension fund trustees and corporate sponsors. Corporate failures, market volatility and unexpected political results have all caused uncertainty and new challenges...

07 December 2016

Disclosing pension risk: remain silent and be thought a fool or speak and remove all doubt?

By Paul Allen It should come as no surprise that defined benefit pension risk affects the value that an external investor will pay for a business. Estimating the scale of the impact is a matter for some debate as there is not a single answer to the question of how...

23 November 2016

Were today's pensions announcements a missed opportunity?

By Steven Dicker The retention of salary sacrifice for pension contributions is a welcome support to retirement saving. However, with no announcements on the tax relief taper or boosting LISAs, today was a missed opportunity to simplify the labyrinthine rules around tax relief on pension contributions and clarify the overall...

17 November 2016

Liability hedging: The soul of a pension scheme?

By Andrew Drake In a world of near-zero interest rates, the question of whether to hedge liabilities has never been more relevant or controversial. To some in the pensions industry, you've simply got to get on with it. “Expected returns don’t pay liabilities, cash does”. Liability risk is the biggest...

PenTech is for life, not just for Christmas

By Raj Mody This article first appeared in Professional Pensions on 15th November 2016. http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/opinion/2477381/pentech-is-for-life-not-just-for-christmas The early part of the 21st century will be defined by the rapid proliferation of technology in every aspect of our lives. Whether it is how we manage our personal finances, access travel services or...

31 August 2016

Markets may move, deficits may rise, but companies still have options.

By Brian Peters The Bank of England's decision to buy £70 billion of gilts and corporate debt to improve liquidity in troubled economic conditions has led to further falls in corporate bonds since 30 June 2016 and these are now below 2.5%. For pension schemes, this also means an automatic...

25 August 2016

Providing pensions flexibility to manage defined benefit pensions risk in a volatile world

By Roslyn Williams Gilt yield lows following the EU referendum result and subsequent rate cut have led to increasing Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme deficits, clearly demonstrating the risk and volatility that schemes and sponsors are currently exposed to. Given this market uncertainty, the critical question for companies and trustees...

18 August 2016

Longevity in the workplace: 80 is the new 60 and employers need to adapt to this reality

By Raj Mody For the first time in history, more than half of the children born in developed countries today will live to the age of 100. In the UK, this trend will have significant implications for the workplace where, to achieve today’s retirement incomes, people entering today’s workforce may...

27 July 2016

Pensions accounting deficits - no longer a shoulder shrug

By Brian Peters Pensions accounting has suddenly become very interesting. For many years, pensions numbers reported in financial statements were largely ignored. From conversations with analysts, evidence suggests investors focused their attention on forward looking cash requirements when pensions were material and paid little attention to pensions when they were...

22 June 2016

Flexible retirement options; helping your members navigate pension freedoms

By Ros Williams According to research carried out by PwC, almost four in five schemes already have or are considering putting a long-term de-risking strategy in place. Member options exercises are becoming an increasingly popular tool to manage a de-risking strategy as the demand for flexible access to pension savings...

16 June 2016

Dividends, reserves and pension deficits

By Brian Peters Dividends can only be paid out of distributable reserves, a legally defined sum of money broadly representing the aggregate of undistributed past profits and an element of value creation. A pension deficit has to be deducted from these reserves on the basis that the company's legal obligation...

09 June 2016

The only way is up… or is it?

By Deborah Cane The problem of funding UK defined benefit pension schemes grows each year. This is confirmed by the recent funding survey from tPR showing that pension deficits have risen, with the tPR estimating most schemes will see a deficit increase of 20-25% this year. This deficit growth is...

29 March 2016

The information advantage: navigating the pension risk maze

By Gabrielle Coggins You don’t have to delve far into a daily newspaper to pick up on one of the many challenges currently facing Britain’s Defined Benefit schemes. Whether it is market volatility, changing regulation or increasing life expectancy, the sponsors and trustees who are responsible for the stewardship of...