Posts by Alan

Alan Collins

Alan Collins

Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence he provides actuarial, funding and investment advice to trustees and sponsors of ongoing defined benefit schemes.
Alan Collins

So far, nothing much….

The last week brought much hyperbole to the description of financial markets (using the BBC website as my barometer):

Early in the morning of 9th November (UK time), Donald Trump gave his victory speech as his election victory became certain.

9th November, 8.01 – “FTSE Sinks” – the FTSE 100 has plunged.  Wow, what has happened?  “Plunged” by 2% – that’s not really a plunge is it?

9th November 17.01 – “FTSE 100 Closes Higher” – the FTSE actually closes 1% higher on the day.

So, in other words, like lots of other days. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK actuaries and consultants, today announced their appointment by The LS Starrett Company Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme for their award-winning, fully-integrated approach to DB scheme management – ‘The Spence Approach’. Services to the 475 member, £25 million Scheme will include actuarial, investment and pension scheme administration.

Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence commented: “In a post-Brexit environment trustees are looking for greater scheme transparency and a more joined-up approach to funding, investment and governance. Our Mantle® system allows schemes to make informed decisions around their funding at any point in time, based upon the live administration and investment data – what we see they see. Trustees are no longer looking in the rearview mirror; instead they can be fully responsive to funding opportunities that will benefit the scheme. Ultimately, we are giving trustees and sponsors of all schemes levels of analysis and advice that is usually reserved for schemes with much larger budgets. We are very pleased to be working with LS Starrett and the Trustees.” Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners latest Blog for Pension Funds Online –

An optimist sees the glass as half-full; the pessimist sees it as half-empty.  The actuary sees it as somewhere between 40% full and 40% empty, depending on a large number of assumptions.

As a pensions actuary, I have felt more like the harbinger of doom in recent days, delivering valuation results, accounting disclosures and funding updates with 30 June 2016 effective dates.  The PPF barometer of pension scheme funding, the 7800 index, is now showing an aggregate deficit of £384 billion and an aggregate funding level of around 78%. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK actuaries and consultants, today announced their appointment by Simons Group Limited Pensions & Life Assurance Scheme for their award-winning, fully-integrated approach to DB scheme management – ‘The Spence Approach’.  Services to the 450 member, £25 million Scheme will include actuarial, investment and pension scheme administration.

Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence commented: “The Pensions Regulator’s Integrated Risk Management (IRM) guidance encourages trustees to make joined-up decisions around funding, investment and governance. Most schemes face three key issues when trying to do this – systems, data and monitoring.  Our Mantle® system allows schemes to make informed decisions around their funding at any point in time, based upon the live administration and investment data.  Read more »

Alan Collins

PRESS RELEASE

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries, investment and administration specialists, today welcomes the publication of The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) Integrated Risk Management Guide, and urges trustees to review scheme management in line with the new principles.

The guidance from TPR sets out practical help on what a proportionate and integrated approach to risk management might look like and how trustees could go about putting one in place. Spence already adheres to the guidance with its ‘Spence Approach’. Read more »

Alan Collins

George bides his time on TEE

Those waiting for news of further seismic changes to the UK pension scene were made to wait yesterday when the Autumn Statement confirmed that the Government’s response to the pension tax relief consultation will be published in the 2016 Budget.  Given the continued polarisation of views on the matter, and the impact that the changes could have, it is perhaps not surprising that the Government has paused, albeit briefly, for further reflection. Read more »

Alan Collins

In a recent article from Pensions Age, Laura Blows looks at the very lucrative, but potentially very short, careers placing individuals in quite unusual circumstances when preparing for their retirement. Sportspeople, dancers, singers and reality TV stars are just some of those that may have high volumes of money to invest during the short lifespan of their lucrative careers. The issue is making the investments last throughout their very long ‘retirement’.

Alan Collins was on hand to comment and warns that with high volumes of cash to invest up front, the key will be to do so as tax efficiently as possible. While the fame may last only for 15 minutes or so, investing for and living through retirement will inevitably last a lot longer. Read the full article here.

 

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

With many schemes currently receiving confirmation of a hike to their Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levy (the invoices for 2015/16, the first year where Experian risk ratings apply, have begun to arrive), the PPF has just issued their consultation document for the computation of the 2016/17 levy.

Given the substantial shift brought in for 2015/16, it is some comfort that the PPF have “chosen to keep the levy rules substantially the same for 2016/17”. In particular, the main levy calculation parameters (such as the scaling factor, the scheme-based levy multiplier and levy bands) will remain unchanged. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, scooped their third award of the year last night at the 2015 Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards. The company was awarded the Pension Consultant of the Year title for their ‘Spence Approach’* for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes at a ceremony at London’s Royal Garden Hotel.

Spence were recognised amongst their peers for their work, most notably their innovative approach to Defined Benefit (DB) scheme management, and the role they have played in helping schemes complete DB to DC pension transfer requests.

Alan Collins, Director at Spence & Partners, commented: “It is important not to lose sight of the fact that the primary objective of a pension scheme is to provide accurate benefits and information to members. Our technology, with robust systems and procedures, goes a long way to improving scheme management but it’s what we do with it and the impact it has had on our clients’ schemes which matters most. All schemes, no matter their size, now have access the same level of analysis and advice that is usually reserved for only the largest of schemes. Ultimately giving trustees and sponsors the confidence to manage their schemes towards an end goal.”

Collins added: “Being recognised at the Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards highlights that we are meeting the needs in the market and challenging the manner by which consulting services are delivered within the pensions industry.”

This award follows Spence & Partners’ success with the Consulting Innovation of the Year award at the 2015 UK Pensions awards in May and the Pension Scheme Administrator of the Year title at the European Pensions Awards in June, both again for the ‘Spence Approach’.

WSB Award 2015 pic

Alan Collins

I read with a sigh, but not much surprise, that many employers are failing to engage with the retirement process of their employees. The headline from the Close Brothers survey, as reported in Professional Pensions, was that three in ten employers do not know where employees were getting information on the April 2016 pension reforms.

There also seems to be some indication that the fanfare and blast of publicity behind the launch of Pension Wise needs to be followed up, with a third of employers confirming they did not have a clear understanding of how the new service could help retirees.

The story underneath the headline was certainly not all bad. Read more »

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