Archive for December 2014

Alan Collins

First published in PMI News, December 2014

With 2014 bringing about remarkable changes for the UK pensions industry, the spotlight on sponsoring employers has never been brighter – so what are the major issues companies need to tackle in the new pensions world? We discuss the impact of recent announcements around staff communications, the move to collective defined contribution (DC) proposals and the code of practice implications on involvement in scheme funding – perhaps bringing de-risking back into focus for many employers. With non-compliance and errors in automatic enrollment set-up at high levels, as well as the staging of increasingly smaller firms, this issue remains firmly on the table for many as well.

Download The December PMI News Article

Marian Elliott

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today announced the  launch of their new, fully integrated and tailored scheme management service for Defined Benefits  (DB) pension schemes.

Marian Elliott, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence, commented: “Running a DB scheme  isn’t easy.  Trustees are asked to decipher information about the covenant, investment strategy  and actuarial funding–often produced at different times, from different sources and with no clear  link between them. Added to this, they are often also dealing with inaccurate and incomplete data  and poorly-defined benefit structures, leading to the wrong decisions being made.

“To help trustees cut through these complexities, provide them with co-ordinated risk management  and to get them from where they are now to where they want to be, we have developed a fullyintegrated approach to better scheme management, combining leading-edge technology and  specialist knowledge. This solution is revolutionary and, we believe, unique in the market. It  moves away from multiple databases – one for actuarial work and another for administration  records and uses a single database containing up-to-date live member data to manage the scheme and automate all administration and actuarial calculations.  Read more »

Neil Copeland

It’s that time of year again. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The holly and the ivy. The bittersweet knowledge that you will be picking pine needles out of the carpet until at least April.

The turning of the year has always been imbued with a mystical significance, as lengthening darkness gives way to the first hint of longer days and a promise of rebirth and renewal.  A time for reflection on the year that has past. And across the land at this time of year the siren call goes out from marketing departments “can someone write a review of the year?”!

This year it’s my turn. My usual approach would be to trawl through each month pick a slightly quirky topic and make a, hopefully, pithy and insightful comment about it. Read more »

Mike Spink

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

A bleak November Friday evening a few weeks ago.

“You are getting ready aren’t you?”.

“Yes, yes”.

But actually I wasn’t. Nowhere near ready. I may be a while and I think I’m going to need to spend a few brownie points.

What had delayed me was some breaking news which, if substantiated, could lead to the largest insurer consolidation deal in 15 years, sending shockwaves around the corporate pensions marketplace. The news item spoke of a potential offer by the giant composite insurance group Aviva for the specialist life and pensions firm, Friends Life Group. The last time we saw a deal of this size in the sector was 1990 when Aviva was formed from the marriage of CGU and Norwich Union. Such a deal might increase Aviva’s market capitalisation from c£15Bn to c £20Bn and could potentially usher the next round of market consolidation. But I need to get ready, so the bigger picture will have to wait. Just time tonight to check that the story has legs and then issue a heads up to my Aviva / Friends Life corporate pension scheme clients. More to follow. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence and Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today announced the appointment of Richard Smith as Consulting Actuary.  Smith will have a UK wide focus and service clients across Spence offices in Glasgow, London, Bristol and Belfast.

Commenting on the appointment, Alan Collins, Head of Corporate Advisory Services at Spence and Partners, said; “As an organisation we are dedicated to helping guide and empower clients to tackle the demanding challenges they face when running their schemes. This has never been more prevalent following the changes announced in the budget this year and those that lay ahead in implementation, not to mention any impacts surrounding the 2015 election. We continuously strive to enhance our own expertise to benefit our clients and the appointment and retention of expert staff is key to that.  Richard is an experienced and talented advisor and as our business continues to grow throughout the UK, his broad spectrum of expertise will further enhance our service and deepen our relationships with both our sponsoring employers and trustee clients.”

Prior to joining Spence and Partners, Richard formerly held senior posts in Aon Hewitt and Towers Perrin and has a high level of experience working with trustee boards of FTSE 100 and other global multinational companies. He has advised clients on a range of pensions change projects including switches from Defined Benefits to

Defined Contribution and Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE), benefit changes resulting from M&A activity, high-earner taxation issues and the implementation of the new employer duties surrounding automatic enrolment.

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