Archive for May 2014

Susan McFarlane

Managing growth is always challenging for a business, so when you find support offered along the way it gives you added confidence in planning for the future.

Yesterday, Spence had a visit from Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster and Chief Executive of Invest Northern Ireland, Alastair Hamilton, to our Belfast office.  As part of the visit we announced our intention to create 107 jobs over  a five year period, 30 of which have already been created.  Invest Northern Ireland has offered Spence & Partners over £1million to support our investment plans, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  Spence have already committed over £2m to the project with similar finance being provided up to 2018. Read more »

Kevin Burge

Pension Comfort?

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

A recent study undertaken by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) states that the “comfort” pension level is at least £15,000 p.a. (apparently this figure stands however many people there are in a household) but there is no happiness benefit above £40,000 p.a.

The report went on to say that it found that wellbeing jumps significantly once the income moves into the £15,000 to £20,000p.a.range.

These figures in turn will help to give people a more accurate idea of how much they need to save. A 22 year old earning £20,600 would only need to make the minimum pension contribution to get close to the £15,000 figure taking into account the state pension they would receive (expected to be at least £7500p.a. from April 2016). Unsurprisingly, the older a person is the more they would have to save. Read more »

Mike Spink

There has been a lot of commentary in the press recently about employers’ obligations in relation to auto enrolling their staff into a suitable pension arrangement.  Many of these articles seem designed to create panic at businesses who may not have got round to considering how they will implement auto enrolment yet.

We at Spence & Partners think panicking about auto enrolment is a very bad idea. Indeed, we think it’s such a bad idea that we thought we should put the words “DON”T PANIC” in big red letters at the top of this note.

Just so it’s clear where we stand on the point. Read more »

Neil Copeland

Train kept a rollin’ all night long

The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty…

Glasgow Central and its déjà vu all over again. Run GMP are on the night train to London, ready to rock the O2 Academy Islington as part of Mallowstreet Rocks 2014.

More déjà vu in the on board bar as Alan “I never used the Company credit card to buy you that drink last year” Collins gets a round in. So, let me be clear, Alan bought this round with his own hard earned cash. I know he did because, once he’d remembered the right combination,  I saw the notes emerge from his wallet, along with a surprising number of moths and a faintly musty odour. Not that I’m one for cultural stereotyping! Read more »

Alan Collins

Rounding off a busy week for Spence & Partners, following a sensational performance from our rock band Run GMP at Mallowstreet Rocks at the O2 in Islington, (a full blog account to appear shortly!), Spence & Partners hosted the drinks reception at Workplace Pensions Live, in Edgbaston Cricket Club.

Run by the team behind Engaged Investor, Pensions Insight and Reward, the event attracted hundreds of trustees, pensions managers and HR professionals, giving them the chance to share ideas and hear how leading companies are making employee benefits work in today’s ever-changing environment.  The event had grown in size from last year’s inaugural event, and we are sure that it will continue to have further success in 2015 and beyond. Read more »

Neil Copeland

American author Chuck Palahniuk has written a lot of things. “Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet”, for example. Or “All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring ” The latter quote being of particular concern to my actuarial colleagues.

He also wrote “any behavior that is not the status quo is interpreted as insanity, when, in fact, it might actually be enlightenment.”

Everyone knows the pensions data status quo. Poor data, incomplete data, inaccurate data is rife… Yet when I make the, what seems to me entirely obvious, link between poor, incomplete data and a poor administration experience for trustees and members, the number of people who appear to fail to see that link leaves me uncertain as to whether I’m insane or enlightened. Well, it doesn’t really. I’m pretty clear that I’m enlightened, at least on this matter. Read more »

Kevin Burge

This prestigious cycling event is starting this year in Belfast on Friday 9th May. The race was first held in 1909 and this will be the 97th event. For the actuaries reading this I will just clarify that the event was suspended during the two world wars.

It is held over a 3 week period and the first stages are held outside of Italy every other year  and this year it is Northern Ireland’s turn to play host. Read more »

Alan Collins

Yesterday, L&G announced that individual annuity sales have fallen by 40% following the recent budget.  This follows on from Standard Life reporting a drop of 50%.  To me, the only surprise from this is that sales have not fallen further.

The brave new world of choice for pensioners is here.  And even better news for George and Steve is that it seems to be a happier world.  People like choice and people like people who give them choice.  Happy days… Read more »

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