Archive for May 2013

Kevin Burge

Charity Time

On Thursday 23rd May the staff gathered to raise funds for the Rob Roy Challenge and succeeded in raising nearly £1600 for charity. Two bands entertained the crowd with an hour’s set each (I think that is what it is called) performing a variety of songs.

Our own in house band Run-GMP showed what dedication, practicing and throwing your heart and soul into something can achieve. I must give them an early plug for Pensions Rocks where they will make their debut appearance in London on the 1st October. Please get the date in your diary it is something not to be missed.

For those that are unaware six members of staff have entered the Rob Roy challenge which involves running, cycling and other mind boggling stuff which makes me feel ill just thinking about it. The night was a great fundraising event for this and all enjoyed it.

Special thanks to Gillian and Sophie for all their hard work and for providing some great raffle prizes. I would recommend you take a look at the great event photos on our Facebook page

Here’s to the next one……

Neil Copeland

What’s in a name?

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

Liberation tends to have positive connotations associated with achieving freedom and equality or protection from abuse or exploitation.

So called Pension Liberation preys on vulnerable people, often desperate for money who are offered a short term solution, which often seems too good to be true. Because it is.

So let’s stop talking about Pension Liberation and start talking about Pension Destruction, as that would be more reflective of what actually goes on here. Read more »

Will Davison

Preparations for the Rob Roy Challenge charity evening in the Glasgow Piping Centre have been finalised and Team Spence and guests are looking forward to an evening of live entertainment from their fantastic resident band Run-GMP and special guest band Big Tuna. The night itself, organised by Gillian MacDonald and Sophie Slater of Spence & Partners, aims to raise funds to support their colleagues participating in the Rob Roy Challenge, one of Scotland’s most famous and difficult charity events.

The Rob Roy Challenge is hosted by Martin Currie Charitable Foundation (MCCF) which is a registered charity (SC037106) run by the staff of Martin Currie Investment Management. MCCF selects the good causes to benefit from the firm’s charity event. This year the beneficiaries of the Challenge will be Alzheimer Scotland, Over the Wall and WaterAid, who will collectively share at least 75% of all monies raised. The remainder will be awarded by the Martin Currie Charitable Foundation through smaller donations to a range of equally good causes.

The team competing in the challenge are; Marian Elliot, Scott Cameron, Mike Selby, Fiona McKinnon, Chris Roberts and Greig McGuinness, all of whom are really looking forward to taking part and who have been training hard over the last few weeks.

All proceeds raised from the event will be donated directly to the Martin Currie Charitable Foundation.

Will Davison

UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists Spence & Partners today said that many data problems suffered by schemes are down to advisers withholding information and issues from trustees in fear of it jeopardising their appointment.

Mark Johnson, Head of Data Audit & Analysis at Spence, commented: “As part of the procurement process many schemes will be offered free data cleanses and audits under the transition of scheme information between advisers. However, in lots of cases this gets parked to one side while the bigger transition takes place and never ultimately gets completed. The result of this is that a number of legacy data issues are transferred across to the new adviser and remain unresolved. The new adviser is often then reluctant to raise any data issues further down the line, as it would highlight the work they had not undertaken as agreed. This is happening a great deal in the industry and affected trustees are unaware.”

Johnson continued: “As we all know, the Regulator has included good record keeping and data as part of its guidance for trustees. But if the trustees are being kept in the dark they may think they are in a stronger position than they actually are and could be unwittingly failing in their governance duties.  To avoid this, trustees should be challenging their advisors far more and not be put off by paying for data cleanses. Although data cleansing exercises can have a sizeable cost implication for schemes, trustees will actually reap the rewards as they will gain efficiencies in other areas. Over the long term having more accurate data will not only save problems further down the line, but also a substantial amount of money.”

Marian Elliott

This blog was written for Pension Funds Online by Marian Elliott of Spence & Partners –

There is a lot to look forward to at this time of year. The end of March will bring longer daylight hours, the promise of slightly warmer temperatures and, for many trustee boards and companies, the process of carrying out an actuarial valuation of their pension scheme will begin.

If the very mention of this sends shivers down your spine then read on. Whilst there are no magic potions which can shrink your deficit or take the sting out of the valuation exercise, there are actions which you can take to improve the way in which the valuation process is managed and deliver better results for both the company and trustees: Read more »

Kevin Burge

This is our latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

If you have ever been to India or watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel film sequence where their bus drives straight at the oncoming traffic, you will know that ‘driving rules’ are few and far between.

The basic rule is not to hit anyone and certainly not to hit any of the many cows, which are sacred, that wander the roads and who always have right of way.

I recently returned from holiday in Rajasthan and had an interesting conversation with one of our guides. Motorbikes are only allowed two people on them – well most have three and many have the whole family; you can only overtake on the right-hand side of a vehicle – they overtake any which way they can irrespective of bends in the road, oncoming traffic etc.; you cannot use a mobile phone whilst driving – virtually every driver uses the phone including those on motorbikes.

This made me think about the data issues that face pension schemes. Read more »

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