Webinar archive

2020 

June

Managing risks and seeking opportunities for pension funds Managing risks and seeking opportunities for pension funds

This webinar is sponsored and delivered by Education partner:

BMO-Global-Asset-Management-APP-WEB

“History doesn’t repeat but it most certainly rhymes,” Mark Twain

When markets turn causing extreme levels of volatility pension funds can be left wondering what the future holds. In these uncertain times we should remember the 2008 global financial crisis and the lessons learned by pension schemes and fiduciary managers. 
Listen to a discussion of the steps we took to support and manage portfolios post 2008 financial crisis. We will take a deep dive into what the current situation means for pension funds in the future, and where opportunities may lie.

Topics discussed in the webinar:
2:01. Market volatility in 2020
4:24  The liquidity squeeze 
6:32  Central bank intervention
12:12 Changes in government bond yields 
16:55 Managing liability risk
19:57 Managing market volatility
29:04 Cashflow matching
31:55 Roles of asset classes – a football analogy 
38:32 The new de-risking paradigm
41:12 Q&A – hedging rates and inflation
48:14 Private markets

SPEAKERs

Alex Mcclelland, Manager, UK Fiduciary Management, Russell Investments
David Morton, Associate Director, UK Fiduciary Management, Russell Investments
Sasha Mandich, Director, UK Institutional, Russell Investments

 

Sustainable Energy Investments: From Sun to Wheel Sustainable Energy Investments: From Sun to Wheel

 

This webinar is sponsored and delivered by Education partner:

BMO-Global-Asset-Management-APP-WEB

Sustainable energy is enjoying a moment in the sun for pension fund investors. The Climate Change Act combined with the UK Government’s plans to ban new petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles within 15 years means there is a real urgency to deliver new renewable energy, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Pension funds can harness the opportunities presented by sustainable energy. The predictable, long term, uncorrelated cash flows typical of this asset class are exactly what pension funds are looking for.

GRIDSERVE will guide you through the benefits and opportunities of incorporating sustainable energy investment into your portfolio.

SPEAKERs

Toddington Harper, CEO, GRIDSERVE
Mark Henderson, Chief Investment Officer, GRIDSERVE

Pensions Dashboard update and next steps for schemes Pensions Dashboard update and next steps for schemes

Pensions dashboards may revolutionise the way savers interact with their retirement savings, enabling them to see a comprehensive picture of their pensions online and in a single place. Now that the Pensions Dashboard Programme’s working assumptions have been released, the project has reached a crucial stage, raising a range of questions for schemes. How up-to-date will the data schemes supply to dashboards need to be and when will they need to provide it? How secure will the dashboard ecosystem be?

This comprehensive update enables PLSA members to understand the implications of the coming dashboards.

SPEAKERS

Dean Blower, Head of Strategy, Universities Superannuation Scheme
George Currie, Policy Lead: Lifetime Savings, PLSA
Chris Curry, Principal, Pensions Dashboards Programme at the Money and Pensions Service
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Decoding GMP Equalisation: What happens next? Decoding GMP Equalisation: What happens next?

This webinar is sponsored and delivered by Education partner:

BMO-Global-Asset-Management-APP-WEB

Over a year has passed since the verdict of the Lloyd’s case, where it was determined that pension schemes must equalise the discriminatory effects of guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs). 

While we are still awaiting further legislation and guidance to help navigate schemes through what is expected to be the most complex, multi-faceted industry-wide undertaking that they have ever had to face, hear Equiniti provide an expert introduction session into GMP Equalisation.

SPEAKER

Stewart Winter, Lead Project Consultant, Equiniti

Being alert to pension scams Being alert to pension scams

The uncertainty and financial pressure in the wake of Covid-19 means savers are potentially more vulnerable to scams than ever. How have pension scams adapted to exploit the crisis? What strategies should scheme trustees and managers employ to ensure they protect member outcomes? Join our panel for insights into what is happening in the market and practical tips for spotting and avoiding scams.

SPEAKERS

Caroline Escott, Senior Policy Lead: Investment and Stewardship, PLSA
Peter Flanagan, Chair, DHL Trustees
Margaret Snowdon OBE, President, Pensions Administration Standards Association
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Peter and Margaret kindly offered to answer the questions we didn't have time for during the webinar. Read the responses here

Delivering data and custody governance in testing times Delivering data and custody governance in testing times

This webinar is sponsored and delivered by Education partner:

BMO-Global-Asset-Management-APP-WEB

Within the current, exceptional environment, all schemes face challenges that call for a greater emphasis on governance. This includes monitoring investments through quality data, knowing total costs associated with running a scheme, as well as understanding the quality of services that impact the members.

Data on total cost of ownership allows pension schemes to understand their investment costs, and other important areas, such as custody and administration, which can help improve decision making in meeting governance goals.

In the webinar, CACEIS look closely at cost transparency data on investments, which provides insight into areas such as transaction costs - which can make up as much as 20% of total cost of ownership. Access to this information is a starting place for effective cost management and we’ll cover how this data can help create effective dialogue with a scheme’s asset managers, especially around areas such as transaction costs.

Custody is an area that’s potentially overlooked by pension schemes. CACEIS outline the type of service and range of data that you can receive from your custodian, given the key role they play in safekeeping and reporting on scheme assets, and the importance this has on good governance. 

View Q&A questions on the webinar here.

SPEAKERS

Pat Sharman, Managing Director UK, CACEIS
Scott Foster, Product Specialist, Cost Transparency, CACEIS

May

LA Live week

Dealing with Covid-19: LGPS member surgery and launch of the SAB's annual report Covid-19: LGPS member surgery and launch of SAB's annual report

Every local authority will have challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some will be shared broadly, and others will be more specific. Learn from the Scheme Advisory Board and LGPS peers how funds across the country are responding and the ways in which you may be able to mitigate some of its effects. PLUS – we launched the Scheme Advisory Board’s Annual Report – an in-depth look at the size, shape and health of the scheme.

SPEAKERS

Joe Dabrowski, Head of DB, LGPS and Standards, PLSA
Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions, West Midlands Pension Fund
Cllr Roger Phillips, Chair, The LGPS Advisory Board; member of Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire Pensions Committee
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

SUMMARY

We saw a positive end to LA Live with Councillor Phillips, Joe Dabrowski and Rachel Brothwood joining us to talk about everything we’ve covered this week.

Councillor Phillips launched valuation results for the scheme, which was 98% funded at 31 March 2019 – with many funds in surplus and average deficits down. In any normal year, we’d be focussed on this great picture, but of course, this isn’t any normal year. 

Rachel updated on her work with the practitioners’ covid-19 group and 10 weeks spent looking at operations, the payment of benefits, new benefits, and the day-to-day practicalities of getting and processing information outside of the usual working environment. As the Scheme Advisory Board surveys have shown, local authorities have adapted well to the situation and are confident they can pay their 1.5 million pensioners. Long-term administration challenges remain top of the inbox, along with Mental Health Awareness Week over the last five days.

A year ago Rishi Sunak spoke to the PLSA Local Authority Conference 2019 as a local government minister. How times change.

LGPS administration - it's complicated! LGPS administration - it's complicated!

No one said that administering a scheme with nearly six million members and thousands of employers was going to be easy. GMP equalisation and the McCloud judgement, academies and other employers, along with the coming dashboard, all conspire to make the life of local authority pension fund administrators ever more complex. Are there ways to make LGPS administration less thorny?

SPEAKERS

Jo Darbyshire, Managing Director, LPPA (Local Pensions Partnership Pensions Administration)
Yunus Gajra, Business Development Manager, West Yorkshire Pension Fund
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Summary

Administrating a scheme as complex as the LGPS isn’t easy at the best of times for local authority funds dealing with hundreds of thousands of members, thousands of employers and multiple administration clients. Jo and Yunus took us through their funds’ challenges and the impact of external regulatory pressures including the McCloud Judgement and GMP reconciliation.

Using technology, overcoming jargon, embracing innovation and increasing engagement – when sometimes don’t understand pensions basics – are key themes and recently took on new importance as administration has become even more complicated as staff work remotely and the impact of Covid-19 stresses workloads.

Catch up to find out about how your peers are approaching these challenges, how the Pensions Regulator is responding and what it all means for the future.

Sense and sustainability: ESG for the LGPS Sense and sustainability: ESG for the LGPS

Across the country, local authority fund investors are being urged to act with regard to ESG factors. From understanding how ESG investing can contribute to return, to the differences between climate investment, fossil fuel divestment and exclusion, and the importance of asset stewardship and share voting – we’ve put it all together for you, with expert speakers answering PLSA member's questions.

SPEAKERS

Caroline Escott, Policy Lead: Investment and Stewardship, PLSA
Faith Ward, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Brunel Pension Partnership
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Summary

Standardisation of reporting, the impact of climate change on different sectors of the economy and the importance of good stewardship were the key issues covered in the third webinar of our LA Live week.

Faith and Caroline took encouragement from the fact that 58% of webinar participants confirmed that they were getting to grips with the ‘TCFD’ (Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure) framework that LA funds will be required to follow by 2022, though some LAs had clearly made more progress than others.

Both speakers encouraged PLSA members to look at analysis by the Bank of England and the Transition Pathway Initiative on the differential impact that climate change will have on each sector of the economy – crucial when shaping investment strategy.

Responding to questions, Caroline emphasised that good stewardship is the key to being a responsible investor. She pointed out that this goes beyond just voting; asset-owners should engage with their fixed income managers, as well as those managing their equity mandates, to understand how they are using the Stewardship Code. PLSA members may make use of our latest practical guidance to voting, stewardship and engagement.

Taking an employer health check - a guide for the LGPS Taking an employer health check - a guide for the LGPS

Employers comprise a sizeable percentage of the LGPS. Having an accurate understanding of employer health is crucial information for the local authority funds tasked with administering the scheme for employer members. With some employers under stress from the coronavirus pandemic, how should local authorities identify risks to the fund, evaluate employer health and work with employers for the benefit of scheme members, and for the LGPS itself?

SPEAKERS

John Raisin, Independent Advisor and Chair
Emelda Nicholroy, Head of Pensions Policy, University and Colleges Employers Association
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Summary

Rachel welcomed John and Emelda to talk about dealing with the different types of tier 3 employers (those that don’t benefit from taxpayer backing) during the pandemic. John debunked the myths around employer strength and weakness in the LGPS, discussed Regulation 67  – Local Authorities need to be really acquainted with this – and stressed the need for fund to do their own legwork on checking employer health. Emelda focussed on the experience of universities and the strength of their covenant. A last resort for most, deferrals could be an option for sectors such as universities, where money comes in at certain times of year, it may be looked at. But funds should not be worried about cash flow this year unless they are already negative. Early retirement, furlough and redundancy, and arrangements for charities were part of the Q&A.

Communicate, communicate, communicate is the key takeaway from the discussion. And of course as with every aspect of the LGPS, good governance and proper resourcing are the key to getting it right.

Covid-19s impact on the LGPS and the Regulators response Covid-19s impact on the LGPS and the Regulators response

Local authorities, providers of so many types of services, face a unique set of complexities during the pandemic. Local authority pension funds are dealing with implications for their governance, prioritisation, contributions, annual events and reporting. Find out the scale of the challenge for the LGPS and hear how TPR is responding.

We also discuss the progress of the harmonisation code.

SPEAKERS

Lorraine Bennett, Senior Pensions Adviser, Local Government Association
Nick Gannon, Policy Lead, The Pensions Regulator
Tiffany Tsang, Policy Lead: LGPS and DB, PLSA
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Summary

In the first webinar of the series, Lorraine shared what the LGA is hearing from local authorities on the impact of Covid-19, and discussed the LGA’s messaging, its co-ordinated response, the resources available and longer term impacts.

Tiffany explained the overall story is the LGPS is faring well during the pandemic, and spoke about some of the emerging queries from local authority members. She revealed the priorities members want the PLSA to focus on with the Regulator.

Finally, Nick gave his thoughts on whether pension scams have increased in the wake of the crisis. He also explained that while it is important to follow the law, TPR appreciates circumstances are more complicated for LA funds this year, and will take a pragmatic approach.

Gold: the missing element for pension returns Gold: the missing element for pension returns

This webinar is sponsored and delivered by Education partner:

BMO-Global-Asset-Management-APP-WEB

Are you overlooking gold as an investment? Do you think gold is volatile?  Maybe you find it hard to value?

Gold is a strategic asset that provides investors with returns and diversification when they need it.

World Gold Council addressed the global impact of COVID-19 and whether gold can help manage this unprecedented market volatility. 

World Gold Council looked at gold’s positive impact on portfolios and also addressed the key barriers to investment. In addition, they explained gold’s ESG credentials and looked at gold and climate change.

SPEAKERS

John Reade, Chief Market Strategist, World Gold Council
Jaspar Crawley, Director, Institutional Investment, World Gold Council

April

Q&A with The Pensions Regulator Q&A with The Pensions Regulator

The Pensions Regulator has a key stabilising role to play in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on pension funds and protecting savers’ financial futures.  

PLSA's members put their most pressing questions directly to the Regulator. Find out how it can help you in a dramatically changing world.

SPEAKERS

David Fairs, Executive Director for Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice, TPR
Chair: Nigel Peaple, Director of Policy and Research, PLSA
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Setting strategic investment objectives in the wake of Covid-19 Setting strategic investment objectives in the wake of Covid-19

This webinar is sponsored and delivered by:

BMO-Global-Asset-Management-APP-WEB

In light of Covid-19 and recent market events, trustees should be reviewing their current investment and governance arrangements to ensure they remain appropriate to enable decisions to be made quickly, according to recent guidance from The Pensions Regulator.

Prior to the current situation, the Competition and Markets Authority set out an order requiring trustees to set objectives for anyone who provides investment advice to trustees, whether an investment consultant, or fiduciary manager.

TPR’s supporting guidance for trustees on setting objectives allows trustee boards, many for the first time, to assess the performance of their investment adviser and judge value for money. What should these objectives look like, how will they be measured, how often and what happens next?

SPEAKERS

Christy Jesudasan, Director, UK Fiduciary Solutions, BMO Global Asset Management
David Hickey, Managing Director, Head of UK Fiduciary Solutions, BMO Global Asset Management
Peter Dorward, Managing Director, IC Select
Lianne Walsh, Head of Structuring Investment Solutions, EMEA, BMO Global Asset Management; Trustee of the F&C Pension Plan
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Getting value from the CTI Getting value from the CTI

The Cost Transparency Initiative has brought a close focus and real results on investment costs for pension funds. You can make the CTI tools work for your scheme or Local Authority fund too and get the most value from your consultants and utilities. DB and DC schemes, LGPS funds and consultants will benefit from this view of the CTI in action.

The PLSA team present case studies demonstrating how the CTI delivers value, and answer questions about how to understand your investment costs.

SPEAKERS

Joe Dabrowski, Head of DB, LGPS and Standards, PLSA
Mel Duffield, Chair, CTI; Member, PLSA Policy Board
Jenny Condron, Board Member, CTI; Chair, Association of Consulting Actuaries
Jeff Houston, Board Member, CTI; Head of Pensions, Local Government Association

PANELLISTS

Scott Foster, Product Specialist, Cost Transparency, CACEIS
Dr Chris Sier, Chair, ClearGlass

HOST

Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA

Communicating through the Covid-19 crisis Communicating through the Covid-19 crisis

We know markets are reeling and business and public services face an uncertain future. But what about the effect on pensions savers? Concern about the future of the employer sponsoring their DB scheme, anxiety about the size of their DC pot, additional worry for LGPS savers, especially employees of admitted bodies. You need to cut through the noise and reassure them. 

Learn how top pensions communications professionals are advising their members and see best practice for an effective communications strategy during the pandemic.

SPEAKERS

Paula Evans, Head of Pensions and Benefits, Fujitsu UK and Ireland
Carolyn Jones, Head of Pensions Policy and Strategy, Money and Pensions Service
Steven Leigh, Senior Consultant, Aon
Mark Rowlands, Director, Customer Engagement, NEST Corporation
Karl White, Pensions Adviser (Training), Local Government Association
Host: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA 

 

Covid-19 Disruption: Top tips for DB, DC and LGPS Covid-19 Disruption: Top tips for DB, DC and LGPS

As the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts the world, the UK’s pension schemes must contend with challenges to their administration, funding, governance, investment and communications areas. This is our first-in-a-series webinar to gain expert insight into these and get your specific questions answered.

We also discuss our in-progress survey on the virus’s impact on schemes, as well as the conversations we’ve been having with our fund members and Government departments.

Speakers

Joe Dabrowski, Head of DB, LGPS and Standards, PLSA
Stewart Hastie, Partner, Isio Group
Neil Mason, Member, PLSA Policy Board; Head of Pensions, Surrey County Council
Laura Myers, Member, PLSA Policy Board; Head of DC, LCP
Hosted by: Rachel Pine, Events & Training Content Manager, PLSA


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