Local knowledge | PLSA
Local knowledge

Local knowledge

04 October 2023

Maggie Williams meets Liz Graham, Partner at Walker Morris and chair of the PLSA’s Yorkshire Local Group.

Liz Graham
Liz Graham

How did you become involved with the PLSA’s Yorkshire Local Group?

I’ve been a pensions lawyer for 30 years, and right from an early stage in my career I was encouraged to get involved with local groups, both in Yorkshire where I started my pensions work and during a period working in London. When I returned to work in Leeds, I became secretary of the Yorkshire Group, and I’ve been its chair since 2020.

We cover a wide area, including Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and York. Pre-Covid, all of our meetings were in-person events, and we inevitably had to move online during the pandemic. Since then, we’ve gradually moved back to live meetings. We’re also keen to explore hybrid events, combining in-person meetings with the option to join online, which means we can reach a larger audience. 

Our current membership is typically between 100 and 150 people, mainly advisers such as lawyers, actuaries and consultants, as well as representatives from private and public sector schemes.

How is the Yorkshire Local Group run?

We aim to hold six sessions a year, which means we hold regular committee meetings to plan the programme and keep it on track. Although we like to be flexible so that we can make sure our sessions are topical, we aim to share the majority of the following year’s programme when we renew subscriptions each summer or talk to new members.

We have a committee of between 9 and 12 people. That includes a chair, a treasurer and a shared secretary role. During lockdown, the secretary role became too much for one person, so we split it and have retained the two-person structure since then, which makes it easier to manage.

In terms of meeting planning, we have two named people who are responsible for each event. That means each committee member takes responsibility for one or two meetings per year, which works well.

What goes on at a Local Group meeting?

The majority of our meetings are breakfasts – we’ve experimented with other times of day, but breakfasts seem to work best for our members. Our events generally include an update from the PLSA’s central office, at least one technical session, and then a Q&A.

The topics we cover were historically focused on defined benefit, but we’re now putting more focus on defined contribution as well. In the last year we’ve included subjects such as cybersecurity risks (which we covered at our AGM) and The Pension Regulator’s forthcoming DB Funding Code.

What would you say to someone thinking of joining Yorkshire Local Group?

It’s a great way of networking with pensions colleagues in your local area – and to share a really good breakfast! We try to make our discussion topics timely and relevant and are always keen to hear ideas and suggestions.

Yorkshire Local Group really encourages people to join in and we want to spread the word both to advisers and pension schemes. Membership is currently free, so if you’re in the Yorkshire area, we’d love to welcome you along to our meetings.

To contact Yorkshire Local Group, email: [email protected]

Find your PLSA Local Group

There are 11 PLSA Local Groups across the UK.

Find a Local Group near you: www.plsa.co.uk/localgroups

For general enquiries about Local Groups, email: [email protected]