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

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 »

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 »

Alan Collins

I am a scheme actuary to a defined benefit scheme in the UK and later today I will complete the formal results of a triennial valuation.

Not that unusual, you say? Well, what if I said the valuation date was 31 March 2014?

That’s right – not months, not weeks…one day. Our valuation system produces real results, based on real data, every day. Yes, we know you won’t need figures every day but they are there if and when you need them. The system allows trustees, sponsoring employers and investment managers to take immediate action based on up to date market conditions. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

This weekend’s newspapers have been littered with trailers and leaks relating to Wednesday’s budget.

With the onset of auto-enrolment for many medium and small employers, no one is expecting seismic changes to the pensions landscape. However, I would perhaps give Osborne one or two suggestions.

Firstly, a ‘do’: I would ask Osborne to consider giving ongoing occupational schemes greater flexibility around the payment of lump sum benefits to extinguish small liabilities for those aged 55 and over. This could easily be done by extending the rules on ‘winding-up lump sums’ to ongoing schemes. Crucially, this would allow members’ benefits under other pension schemes to be ignored. Read more »

Alan Collins

Last week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) splashed onto the business pages extolling the virtues of choice for consumers in the pension annuity market.  Their review has found that 80% of consumers purchasing annuity from their existing providers could have got a better deal by shopping around in the open market.  I welcome the FCA’s continued efforts in this area and trust that, in time, it will lead to a better deal for consumers.

This drive to encourage consumers to shop around with their defined contribution pot should be mirrored in defined benefit (DB) arrangements.  Read more »

Alan Collins

“The acceleration of changes to the State Pension is not a surprise, as life expectancies continue to increase. Within retirement, life expectancy has almost doubled over the last century. While it may not be a particularly cheery message for the festive season, there is unfortunately no magic wand that can be waived when it comes to pensions. Simply put, the only way to avoid having to work longer to fund your retirement is to save more and save earlier.”

 “It is likely these changes will increase the blurring of the lines between working and retirement with more and more people continuing to work even when they are receiving pension income.”

Alan Collins

Since the Pension Protection Fund’s doors opened in 2005, around 600 pension schemes have transferred into it, covering a membership of around 190,000. And around 90,000 pensioner members are now receiving PPF compensation.

Following the insolvency of a scheme sponsor, a scheme automatically enters the PPF and has to go through what is known as an assessment period before it is eligible to transfer. Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

31st March and 5th April are common dates for pension scheme valuations. The popularity of 5th April dates back to 1997, when trustees and employers were able to squeeze in one last valuation before the Pensions Act 1995 took effect for valuations from 6th April 1997 onwards.

There is, however, a problem with valuation dates of 31st March and 5th April in 2013. And, for a change, it is a good problem! Current market conditions have improved scheme funding levels to such an extent that the results from earlier valuation dates are effectively redundant. Read more »