Why do you need a Pensions Consultant?
Traditionally employers providing Company Pension Scheme used the same Professional Advisers as the Trustees of the scheme and they use them for every aspect of their Pension planning. This was the path of least resistance, but it no longer makes economic sense since their not only a potential conflict of interest (are they really going to tell you that you can obtain some aspects their service cheaper elsewhere?). This is particularly the case in relation to costs and funding issues as independent pensions Consultants we can
- Provide you with second opinion and discreet analysis of your current Pension arrangements
- Review the structure and costs of existing pensions
- Comment on the governance of Company pension schemes
- Review existing Schemes to ascertain compliance with new legislation
- Negotiate with trustees regarding funding and investment issues
- Advise on company accounting issues associated with pensions
- Manage the implementation of changes to existing pension schemes
- Provide impartial Scheme reviews of NEST compatability
We can assist Employers and Pension scheme Managers with all aspects of pension scheme management and delivery from scheme implementation, review, maturity and closure.
Examples of projects we have carried out are:
- Benchmarking investment returns and charges
- Benchmarking of administration costs
- Review Asset Allocation and lifestyling policy
- Calculating transfer payments for bulk transfer exercises
- Bulk transfers and Buyouts
- Scheme Auditing calculations
- Benefit and liability calculations
If required we will point Accountants, lawyers, Actuaries or other relevant members of the Society of Pension Consultants or Pensions Management Institute. We charge for work on day rate basis and the amount of time required will be fixed in advance so that you always have certainty with regards to your costs.
Pensions Trustee support
Who in their right mind would be a Trustee? Increasing pressure from Employers, members and the Pensions Regulator means that Trustees have had to adopt a far more aggressive and proactive approach to managing their pension schemes. Trustees can struggle to filter what is relevant to them from the volume of new regulations.
We provide support in the form of actuarial, consultancy and administration services to Trustees of pension schemes of all sizes across all market sectors. Our specialist teams have the expertise, experience and qualifications to meet the increasing demands and challenges that the ever evolving pensions regime places on Trustees.
Challenges that you as a Trustee may be facing;
- Pension liabilities are increasing resulting in a greater demands on the skills of Trustees
- The running of the Pension scheme is a subject of greater Employer focus and scrutiny.
- Pension Trustees are increasingly struggling to agree funding for pension liabilities.
- There is a need to understand the risks facing the pension and how these can be mitigated.
- Help with the increased governance burden.
- Educational demands on Trustees and necessity to prove ever greater knowledge
- Increasing legal responsibility and accountability for your actions as a Trustee
Like I said who in their right mind would be a Trustee?
We can guide you safely through this minefield
- Pension Trustees need Advisers and Consultant support they can trust to provide guidance in a clear and logical manner without resorting to scare tactics.
- Trustees also need a high quality, cost effective administration service which delivers to members what it promised.
- Informed advice on scheme governance to ensure you have the right level of knowledge and understanding of regulatory requirements and latest guidance.
- Effective scheme funding and employer covenant advice. By having the right advice and guidance, decisions can be made to meet trustees and sponsoring company’s objectives.
- Making the scheme assets work harder to enhance returns.
- Proactive actuarial and consultancy advice that gives clear direction for the future, explains the implications of changes in legislation and recommends appropriate action.
- Clear and regular communication with members through tailored communication material.
- Clarity and certainty on fees.
We find that an increasing number of Trustees are demanding the type of service we can offer you : A fully integrated Consultancy solution for a quantifiable cost.
The Insurance Hybrid Solution
Being able to insure both a pension scheme’s liabilities and transfer all of the related risks to a third party is a desirable situation for both Employers and trustees. Although it is often thought to be unrealistic where asset values are relatively low and liabilities continue to rise.Until recently the cost of insuring liabilities was considered high relative to the cost of funding them on a gradual basis. This was because most schemes invested significantly in growth assets, such as equities, which were generally assumed to generate higher returns than those offered by insurance companies. Consequently, it has tended to be only very small schemes which have insured their liabilities.
There is now a greater appreciation of the risks associated with defined benefit pension schemes and a trend has developed for better funded schemes to insure part or all of their liabilities.
Insurance strategies continue to evolve and there are now a variety of alternative approaches and sophisticated solutions that allow insurance products to be combined with continued exposure to investment markets.
A market in longevity products (designed to reduce the risk of increasing life expectancy) is also growing rapidly. These can be used as part of a liability matching investment strategy to provide many of the benefits of insurance, but at lower cost.
Our Pension scheme Governance service goes beyond simple compliance or adherence to a set of rules. Governance sounds important and that’s because it is, the correct principles are vital to the ongoing success of your Pension scheme strategy and protection against current and future risk.Sound Pension Scheme Governance is at the heart of how we work with our clients . We’ll help you make sure that your pension scheme is not only compliant, but actively governed on a regular and structured basis so that you can meet your regulatory benchmarks with ease, honour your commitment to your employees and achieve the goals you have set for your pension scheme over the long term.
Using our governance framework, we’ll help you create additional value for your members by identifying areas for;
- Improving investment performance
- Portfolio management and oversight
- Identifying and managing potential risks
- Looking at reducing administration costs
- Improving scheme management efficiency
- Effective communication with members
Working in partnership with you, we’ll help you to set objectives in all areas of your scheme, and demonstrate ways to achieve them. We can then ensure that your pension scheme strategy is not just well managed, but can be seen to be well managed in a concise and transparent manner so that it is considered a very real benefit by its members without being a burden to the sponsoring Employer.
Due to the complex technical nature of schemes in wind-up and the risks associated with the finality of the distribution process, wind-up and PPF assessment we can act as project Managers and coordinators to oversee the smooth closure of your Pension Scheme. When the risks of pension schemes are considered in detail (very often as the result of one of our reports!) it has led in many instances to significant pension changes.Whether you are closing to future employees, ending accrual for existing employees or closing your scheme completely and replacing it, these are critical points and we can advise the company as to how they may reduce potential future liabilities and where appropriate design and implement a new scheme if required .
We can also assist you with;
- Bulk But out/Buy in of scheme liabilities and benefits
- Winding-up both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes
- Provision of actuarial, administration and consulting advice
- Pension Protection Fund assessment services
- Guaranteed Minimum Pension / contracted-out reconciliation work
- Provision of technical information to employers, Trustees and members
- Communication with active, deferred and retired members
- Funding assessment and Actuarial valuations
Whatever your requirements we can help smooth the period of transition, why not let us have the headache and you get on with running your business?
Scheme Buy Outs
If you have a Pension Scheme there is always a need to manage the short term funding issues with the long term requirements of scheme members.Continual changes in legislation, Pension Scheme regulations and accounting standards have meant that running a Company Pension Scheme has become significantly more onerous for Employers who have repeatedly tried to do the best for their employees.
Managing the risks associated with a Pension scheme may be one of the biggest challenges that a Company has to face. Whilst a full Insurance Company based buyout may not be suitable for everybody, the range of opportunities available is sufficiently wide to suit most circumstances to justify further consideration so why not let us do it for you?.
You may be surprised to learn how inexpensive such Buyouts can be and you can outsource to us so that you are fully protected and the interests of employer, Trustees and members are best served.
We have designed a programme that identifies segmented key steps through the exercise so you have a clear and navigable map for your Buyout process so you can instruct us with confidence as we can undertake the exercise with full liability and without any long term risk to you.
Remember, the company own the deficit, the members own the surplus!
With the advent of auto enrolment and NEST that will impact on EVERY Employer in the UK along with other legislative developments such as changes to the State Pension Age , the pace of technological advances and the changing needs of clients mean that efficient, responsive Employee Benefits administration has never been more necessary. The broad range of skills, knowledge and experience that this requires is difficult to provide within one organization and this can impose a considerable load on Human Resources departments and pension scheme trustees.Outsourcing is the answer to so many of the functionalities that you need your pension scheme to provide, not only is it more cost effective it means you call upon a far wider range of skills and experience than you could ever really maintain in house and not insignificantly you are outsourcing the liability along with the headaches!
It is of course vital that the outsourcing partner you select is knowledgeable, experienced, reliable and capable – this is where we can assist you.
We have a wealth of experience, and our highly skilled, knowledgeable and helpful staff can provide a range of services to ensure that you not only comply with legislation but exceed your expectations in every area of your retirement planning package – from implementation to retirement and beyond.
Maximising returns and minimising risk from pension scheme investments continues to be a priority for our clients as they attempt to reduce pension costs and manage funding levels. As a truly independent Adviser we can offer genuinely impartial advice on how to tackle the many constantly evolving and challenging pension issues.
We can help you..
- Achieve more consistent returns and clarity of investment strategy.
- Mitigate risk within the pension scheme.
- Address concerns about current investment strategy and its cost implications.
- Address dissatisfaction with Administrators or investment managers
- Use our independent advice to challenge incumbent Advisers.
What’s in it for you?
- We advise clients on their pension schemes’ investment policies and objectives.
- We are independent we do not have an asset management, Actuarial or Employee Benefits business to feed.
- Receiving truly impartial independent advice at local level
- We are actively involved in generating research and investment ideas as well as providing ongoing relevant advice to you.
- Our depth of collective knowledge and experience ensures a sufficient understanding of the complex issues involved.
- Clear and practical advice is provided when developing strategies, long before the implementation stage
Optimising your Pension Strategy
Identifying the optimum solution for your employees retirement programme from among a growing array of options is becoming increasingly complex. Whether you offer a defined benefit (final salary) pension, a defined contribution (money purchase) plan, Group Personal Pension or Stakeholder scheme we can work with you to determine the right approach to design, funding, investing, governing and employee engagement to maximise the outcome for all parties. We take into account the nature of your business, the composition and size of your staff and your goals for pension benefit provision, competitiveness and cost management.
Pensions often form an expensive and complex part of an employee’s remuneration. There are a range of actions that can be developed to mitigate ever rising pension costs. In these challenging times change is predominantly being directed at reducing the cost of pensions being provided to employees and whilst this may seem like an insurmountable challenger we have a range of options available to assist with this.
Pension Schemes require regular review; either as part of a cost management and to ensure they remain fit for purpose if they are to become the primary pension arrangement as an alternative to NEST.
We can help you design the optimal benefits strategy aligned to your business objectives;
- Engage with employees to ensure the fully appreciate the benefits of your scheme
- Manage and implement appropriate change in timescales that best suit you.