Archive for November 2014

Angela Burns

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pensions Funds Online –

The Pensions Regulator implemented a revised version of Code of Practice 3 for funding defined benefit pension schemes.

The Code has been updated to take account of the Regulators new statutory objective to minimise impact on the sustainable growth of the employer, and recognises that a strong, ongoing employer alongside an appropriate funding plan is the best support for a scheme.

The revised Code is less prescriptive and more principles based and as such leaves room for interpretation. There is no longer scope for a ‘one size fits all’ approach where schemes will avoid the scrutiny of the Regulator provided they do not hit certain ‘triggers’.

In this new landscape, funding a scheme can be thought of in a similar way to buying a suit: Read more »

Clare Caswell

On 11 November, Marian Elliott and I attended a meeting of the London School of Economics Actuarial Society to impart our wisdom on the topic every student wants to know about…pensions!  OK so maybe not every student but certainly those studying actuarial science with the potential of going into the world of pensions once they have graduated.

Rather than just presenting the topic of pensions Marian and I decided to get the students involved in discussing some of the real life implications of the world around us that affect pensions such as market movements, improvements in cancer survival rates and the difference that technology can make.  So we split into groups with a selection of newspaper headlines to decide whether or not the headlines would have a positive or negative effect on the funding level of a pension scheme.  Not an easy task for these very bright students who have an interest in maths and economics – I wonder how pension scheme members feel when they receive communications about their pension?! Read more »

Alan Collins

It is not often a television advert makes me sit up, take notice and shout “No!….” at the box in the corner.  One did recently, and perhaps it says as much about me and my long learned approach to data security.

Over the past three years or so, our company has introduced a rigorous and robust approach to data security and information management.  This has culminated in us being one of the very few pension companies to have obtained ISO 27001:2005 accreditation and recently being (we think) the first in our industry to obtain the updated ISO 27001:2013 certification.  Is has taken time, significant investment and the buy-in of all staff to engrain the proper processes and procedures into our day to day work.  It is something we are very proud of.  Among the many requirements are:

  • Ensuring password protection of personal data being sent to external parties;
  • The enforcement of “complex” passwords for all staff logging in to our systems;
  • Clear-desk policy (not easy); and
  • The proper disposal of confidential waste.

Now, take a look at Nat West’s recent “Goodbye unfair banking, Hello NatWest” advert.  Skip past the tired parents waving goodbye to the unruly young party guests, the elderly couple waving off their raucous rock band neighbours, the father waving away his daughter’s bad-boy boyfriend and the lucky couple waving off the torrential rain on their way to a sunshine holiday.   The culmination of the advert is your typical “man in the street” rifling through a number of “tempting” new customer offers that have been sent to him by “other banks” in the post.  He pauses for thought, tosses the offer letters in the bin and wanders smiling into a shiny local NatWest branch.

“No.  What are you doing?”  I think to myself.  You’ve just thrown a goldmine of personal information into a public dustbin.  Are you mad?   Address information on the outside, possibly further personal data on the inside.   Take them home, shred them! Read more »

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