Media Releases

Angela Burns

Financial Reporting Standard 102 (FRS 102) has now replaced FRS 17 as the main financial reporting standard in the UK and Ireland.  It is important that you understand the changes, how they affect you and the options available to you to manage any impact accordingly.  Spence has put together a handy summary to help you do that – just click the option that applies to you and get in touch if you would like any further assistance.

I already disclose my defined benefit pension obligations under FRS 17

I have never disclosed my defined benefit pension obligations before

David Bogle

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today shared its concerns that with figures from the ONS* showing newborn female babies are expected to live to 93, and male babies to at least 90, if pension savers don’t fully understand longevity risk (that they will outlive the funds in their pension pot) when planning their savings, they may be facing a long and financially difficult retirement.

David Bogle, Mortality Expert, Spence & Partners said: “People need to start understanding how their retirement prospects will be impacted by uncertainty around their own life expectancy. Research published last week by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) projected that in 50 years’ time newborns in the UK will be expected to live past 97 – life expectancy has vastly increased since previous generations, and this underlines the importance of fully understanding our own longevity risk and ensuring we are putting enough money aside. Unfortunately we just don’t expect to live as long as we will, and it is crucial that this is factored in to everyone’s retirement planning.” Read more »

Alan Collins


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 »


The Pensions Regulator has recently issued a report on the 2015 Trustee Landscape Research. For your convenience we have summarised the key findings from this report. We have also highlighted, what we think, trustees should consider going forward in our conclusion.

The survey results are based on 816 telephone interviews with trustees from DB, DC and hybrid schemes with at least 12 members.

Click here to download the report now.

If you would like to read the full report from the Regulator, you can download the report here:

David Davison

The article below appeared in Pensions Expert on 23 November 2015, in the Informed Comment section of the publication.

The Chancellor George Osborne’s recent announcement that the Government’s objective to see the living wage increase to £9.00 by 2020 will have had many charity finance directors scratching their heads and wondering where the extra income is going to come from to fund this.

I suspect however that many will not as yet have got around to considering the pensions impact of the change, which for some will be very significant. 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.


David Davison

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today shared their concerns that more charities will become trapped in multi-employer pension schemes with damaging liabilities unless government amends Section 75 legislation.

In March of this year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were seeking views on the operation of the employer debt regime for non-associated multi-employer defined benefit schemes in a call for evidence which closed in May. As of yet no proposals have been made and the DWP website warns that it was published under the Coalition government and therefore might not be a priority for the current regime. Read more »

Brian Spence

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today announces that it has appointed Martha Quinn as Consultant. The newly created role will provide legal support throughout the Spence Group and will benefit the business and its clients. Martha will also assume responsibility for managing and strengthening relationships with key law firms.

Brian Spence CEO of Spence and Partners, commented: “While pension freedom has resulted in far more choice and clarity for members, the complexity behind the scenes has grown enormously. It will be Martha’s role to ensure that our team and clients fully understand the new world we are now in, along with all the nuances within it. We already have a leading role in advising in the charity sector and Martha’s wealth of experience around multi-employer pension schemes, public sector out-sourcing and wider legal and governance issues will further enhance our offering in this area. With two decades of experience in pension law, and advising on everything from industry wide schemes to mergers and acquisitions, we are very much looking forward to Martha joining the team, and the contribution she will be able to make.” 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

Richard Smith

A recent independent survey found that actuarial fees are decreasing, and are considerably lower than those from five years ago. This drop in fees was attributed to the use of technology to deliver these services.

It’s clear that technological advancements are changing the industry, so with all of the system choices available to trustees, now seems to be a good time to assess what defines a good daily valuation system and determine whether trustees are actually getting the best value for money for their specific scheme from the use of these tools.

In an article published in September’s PMI News, our very own Richard Smith takes a closer look at the industry to develop a 5 point checklist for trustees to analyse what’s available to them.

Download the full article from PMI News here: Daily valuations – what should trustees be getting out of these systems?

Brian Spence

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today announced their move to new, larger, offices in the City.

The firm, who first opened their London office in the West End in 2013, also has offices in Belfast, Glasgow, Bristol and Manchester.

Brian Spence, Founder at Spence & Partners, commented; “The last three years in London have been great for Spence, we have constantly innovated and it is pleasing to see our team in London grow. In the last 12 months we have picked up two major industry awards for ‘Best Administration’ and ‘Consulting Innovation’ which is a great recognition of our work.

Spence & Partners new offices are at 46 New Broad Street.

Suzanne Wilson

Following the Pensions World’s latest Third Party Administration (TPA) survey Allison Plager reports that the TPA market is awash with activity as more schemes are looking to de-risk as well as keep up with recent industry changes. One such change of course, being the introduction of pension freedoms. Our very own Head of Administration, Suzanne Wilson was available to comment on the effects this will have on schemes without sufficient technological resources to manage the demand.

Allison, rounds off the report by urging trustees to ask questions of their existing or prospective TPA to ensure that they are ready for the new challenges. You can read the full report on the Third Party Administration (TPA) annual survey here.

Catrina Browne

Spence & Partners Catrina Browne explains what schemes need to know and do about the end of contracting out in 2016. In an article published in Pensions World magazine she urges companies to seek good, comprehensive advice on how the changes impact the scheme, put a plan of action in place as soon as possible and to make sure the members understand what is going on. Download your copy of the Pensions World article here

Brian Spence

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, scooped their second award of the year last night at the European Pensions Awards 2015. The company was awarded the Pension Scheme Administrator of the Year title for their ‘Spence approach’* for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes at a prestigious ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Spence were judged against their peers by a panel made up of professionals from across the European pensions sphere, including providers, pension funds, consultants and representatives from various European pensions and investment associations

Brian Spence, CEO of Spence and Partners, commented: “We recognised some time ago that pension schemes are no longer working to an indefinite time horizon and needed new and innovative solutions to help them, so we developed our services accordingly.  To say we are thrilled to receive this award, our first for administration, is an understatement. We are incredibly proud of the service and have worked hard to carve our niche in this market so to be recognised by such influential and expert industry colleagues from across Europe, against such stiff competition, is a fantastic acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication of our team in putting it together. Read more »

Gillian Lister

Spence & Partners, the UK pension actuaries and administration specialists, today announced their appointment by Northampton-based Wintle Heating and Plumbing Retirement Benefits Scheme for their award-winning, fully-integrated DB scheme management service – ‘The Spence Approach’. Services to the 40-member, £5 million Scheme will include actuarial, consultancy, administration, payroll, treasury and accounting functions.

Alan Collins, Head of Spence’s Trustee Advisory Practice said: “Our appointment by Wintle complements our growing client base in the south of England.  During the appointment process we were able to demonstrate to the Trustees and the Company how we will work with them to develop and implement clear long-term strategic objectives and focus our time on solving the challenges relating to defined benefit scheme funding.” Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today commented on The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) annual defined benefit funding statement 2015.

Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence & Partners, said: “The regulator’s funding statement is now a firm fixture in the pensions calendar and this year’s instalment has given trustees, sponsoring employers and advisors plenty of food for thought.  It is also clear that 2015 valuations will contain more bad news than good.  The regulator’s own analysis shows that ‘despite all major asset classes having performed well and schemes having paid £44 billion in deficit repair contributions over the last 3 years…many schemes with 2015 valuations will have larger funding deficits’ and that ‘most schemes will set funding strategies based on lower expected returns than at their last valuation’. Read more »

Alan Collins

Glasgow-based pension consultants and actuaries, Spence & Partners and its sister firms Dalriada Trustees Limited and Veratta have moved their Glasgow operation to the city’s Culzean Building.

Following expansion of the firms’ UK-wide business and growing staff numbers, they have re-located from their previous offices at West Regent Street taking the 4,700 square foot 6th floor of the historic building, located at the junction of Renfield and St Vincent Street in Glasgow city centre.

Barclay Gilmour Partners provided consulting advice on the move.

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today advised that defined benefit (DB) trustees need to gear up to use the power they can now have at the touch of a button.

Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence & Partners, commented: “With Pensions Freedom Day capturing the headlines, it would be easy to think that DB schemes have been left behind. But actually the development of technology in the past year has been such that trustees now have the potential to operate their schemes in a much more effective and efficient way.

“With the right system, trustees can now have daily valuation figures and actuarial analytics based on live administration data, daily asset feeds from investment managers and projected future cashflow information at their finger tips.  The days of waiting for actuaries to provide complex reports and calculations are over – it is up to trustees to ensure they have the right processes and structure in place to use up to date information and speed up their decision making.” Read more »

Alan Collins

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, scooped the Consulting Innovation of the Year award at the prestigious 2015 UK Professional Pensions awards last Thursday (7 May). The awards, which are in their 18th year, were presented at a gala dinner at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel hosted by comedienne and writer Sandi Toksvig.

The close fought category saw Spence & Partners, judged by a panel of senior scheme managers, trustees and advisers, come out on top for their innovative approach to Defined Benefit (DB) scheme management, which was originally launched in May 2014. Alan Collins, Head of Trustee Advisory Services at Spence, commented: “We’re incredibly proud of the ‘Spence approach’ and to be recognised at the 2015 UK Pensions Awards is fantastic for challenging the archaic manner by which actuarial services are delivered within the pensions industry. Pension schemes are no longer working to an indefinite time horizon, where a check once every three years to ensure the funding plans are broadly on track is sufficient. We believe our approach has revolutionised the way our clients’ pension schemes are run giving them access to the kind of analysis and advice that were previously reserved for only the largest of schemes.” Read more »

Gillian Lister

Spence & Partners, the UK pensions actuaries and administration specialists, today announced their appointment by the Hayman Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme for their fully integrated DB scheme management service.

Wealth management and employee benefits group Mattioli Woods plc, has been advising the trustees since 2009 and recommended the appointment of Spence. Mattioli Woods understands that trustees need to develop an integrated strategy to manage their DB pension scheme and members of their employee benefit team are experts in providing guidance in this area. Mattioli Woods provides consultancy and investment services to the scheme and has partnered with Spence to deliver actuarial and administration services. Read more »

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