It was another hugely successful year for your association. Our four main conferences – Investment, Local Authority, Trustee and the Annual Conference & Exhibition – were great successes, bringing together the industry to network, debate and learn. In October in Liverpool we were understanding saver perspectives; the highlight for me was Noreena Hertz talking about Generation K, a new demographic to engage in a new way and an exciting challenge for our industry.
In policy, the main story of the year was your contribution. PLSA members were involved in setting our positions on cost transparency, the CMA investigation, the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, responsible investment, and Local Authority pooling and the on-going debate around DB and, in particular, DB consolidation – and many more besides.
Hitting the Target was the big policy headline – setting out our vision for making it easier to get a better income in retirement and easier to understand exactly what that means for individuals. We’ll be launching the ground-breaking new Retirement Income Targets at this year’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in October. I’ll also be talking about my plans to build more saver trust as we focus on building world-class pensions.
Internally, CEO Julian Mund restructured the PLSA executive, putting in place a new senior management team to deliver our strategy and operations, with new team structures beneath them. It’s changing the way we plan, communicate and deliver PLSA benefits to members. You’ll see it really come to life in the autumn when we launch our 2020 events and talk about our strategy and impact.
We also finalised a two-year restructure of our governance at the end of 2018, with a new PLSA Board confirmed at the AGM in October. The Board is now more removed from our policy work and more focussed on delivering for our members, while the new Policy Board looks across the full spectrum of policy work to set the agenda for the future of retirement income. Together these changes prepare us for the challenges of the future.
The membership of the Board, Policy Board and senior management team show our commitment to diversity. In November 2018 we signed the Women in Finance Charter and set ourselves an ‘equality target’ of 50% women in the senior management team, which we’re meeting. 58.8% of the Policy Board and 37.5% (50% of non-executive directors) of the PLSA Board are women. Read more in our Gender Pay Gap Report 2019.
Financially, we finished the year in a very healthy position, with closing reserves of £4 million after a small deficit of £300,000 after the costs of the restructure and an office move which will ensure future savings.
Of course as I write this we’re just over halfway through 2019, an important year as we realise the benefits of the internal changes of last year. I’m sure you will see the difference, and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the Annual Conference & Exhibition in Manchester.