Adviser review

Even the best adviser relationships can become stale over time. Our view is that changing your adviser is a measure of last resort and most issues can be solved by open and honest dialogue, provided the adviser is willing to listen and respond. We can support clients in a range of ways to get the best from their advisers:

  • benchmarking adviser fees
  • desk top adviser reviews
  • full market tenders.

We were appointed by a client because of the convergence of three recent issues with their scheme actuary

  • increasing fees
  • “outdated” reporting and advice, when compared with other firms’ marketed offerings
  • a recent investment de-risking opportunity having been missed.

The scheme actuary had been in situ for more than 10 years. The consistent message from the pensions director and the senior trustees was how well the relationship worked and how happy they were with the service. However, on the odd occasion when the actuary did put forward possible changes to the service, they were viewed with suspicion and push back, so eventually the actuary gave up. Conversely, the actuary was not alive to the fact that his support team had changed in experience (with the rate card increasing over time) and was no longer the right fit to provide the work required. This was compounded by a nervousness to propose team changes to the client.

We worked through the history of the relationship with the client and, once they recognised they had been a partial barrier to change, we were able to have a mutually open and constructive conversation with the actuary. As a result a programme of new ideas and service offerings was put forward by the actuary, in conjunction with a revamp of the actuarial team which included an additional senior consultant to provide fresh thinking. Two years on the relationship is working well and annual fees remain materially lower than before the review.

25 September 2020

In the news this week, the CMI asks for industry views on how to allow for 2020’s mortality experience, the DWP launches a small pots working group, the autumn Budget is abandoned but the Chancellor announces new measures to help businesses, the Barclays scheme subscribes to a Barclays bond and there is another repeat buy-in.

Endgame planning

Journey plans or glide paths may have been around for a long time but they’re at the heart of the Regulator’s proposed new funding code. In this Pensions Perspective, Leonard Bowman looks at how long-term funding and investment plans are evolving and explains why companies are increasingly taking the lead in designing an endgame strategy for their schemes.

Pensions Arena July 2020

This quarter’s Arena has a summary of our recent Pensions Perspective, “Emerging from lockdown”, which looked at how best to tackle the most common pension issues which companies are currently facing. It also shows all the usual financial and investment analysis for the quarter ending 30 June 2020.

Emerging from lockdown

As we keep hearing, we are living in unprecedented times. However, as we turn our attention to the future, what does the “new normal” mean for defined benefit pension schemes? In this Pensions Perspective, Leonard Bowman considers the most common pension issues that companies are facing and how best to ensure that the company approaches these on the front foot.

Getting buyout ready

Covid-19 has created many challenges for DB schemes but, for those ready to transact in 2020, it may have created even more favourable market conditions for a buyout. The problem is that most schemes are not there yet. In this Briefing we look at what being “deal ready” actually means and what work it will involve.