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- “outdated” reporting and advice, when compared with other firms’ marketed offerings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.
In the news this week, the ACA calls for AE contribution increases plus tax and pension simplification, MaPS launches its 10 year financial wellbeing strategy and the AA consults on stopping future DB accrual.
2019 marked 50 years since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and this was obviously on the Queen’s mind in her Christmas message as she talked about a bumpy year but one with small steps of progress as well. In terms of pensions, it also felt like a year of small steps and occasional bumps. In this quarter’s Arena, we take a positive look back at 2019, as well as looking forward to some expected pension developments over 2020.
Despite the very different circumstances facing individual companies, bac‘s autumn 2019 survey reveals a surprisingly consistent picture of the actions which companies are finding most attractive to manage their DB and DC pension arrangements.
As DB liabilities have become legacy issues to be managed, governance has become the umbrella term for a broad range of risk management tools. In this publication, we look at the DB governance solutions we have helped our clients to implement.
As pension trustees and sponsors get serious about good governance, a key question is whether technology can play a meaningful role or is simply an expensive addition that looks good but adds little value?