MINUTES OF THE THIRTEENTH MEETING OF THE PENSION TRUSTEES

24 June 2002

MONDAY 24TH JUNE 2002 AT 13H30 IN ROOM 144

 

PRESENT:
Mr D Watson
Mr M Carrick
Mr D McClarty
Mr J Dallat

IN THE CHAIR:
Mr D Watson

APOLOGIES:
Mr J Kelly

IN ATTENDANCE:
Mr T Evans, Mr E Hobson, Ms A Whitaker, Ms D Johnston

1. Minutes of 20th May meeting were accepted

2. MATTERS ARISING

  • Pension Fund Insurance
    26 Members are now fully covered. The policy is up for renewal in September /October and a decision will be made at the first meeting after the recess. Mr Hobson to collect information from GAD on whether sufficient funds are held in the account to cover drawings.
  • Increase in Pension Contribution
    GAD is in the process of deciding whether Exchequer contributions will be raised. Once their decision is made it will have to go before the commission for approval.
  • Election Plan 2003
    Mr Evans said that Mr Joe Reynolds would be co-ordinating the election plan on his return from Bosnia. After dissolution the Commission remains and the Trustees are assumed to be in office until new Trustees are elected. Meetings will continue during dissolution.

3. ANNUAL BENEFIT STATEMENT

It was agreed that the Members' Annual Benefit Statements be circulated.

4. UPDATE ON AVC CLINIC

Mr Hobson updated the Trustees on the AVC Clinic. More enquiries regarding AVCs have been received. It was decided to circulate a letter to Members making it clear that a last AVC consultation was to be made available to discuss investments. The Consultation should take place before the recess.

5. AMPS ANNUAL REPORT

The printed Annual Report was presented to the Trustees for approval. The document is to be circulated to Members.

6. AMPS ANNUAL ACCOUNTS 2000-2001

The 2000-2001 Annual Accounts have been finalised and are now in the final stage of printing. These will be laid before the Assembly on completion.

7. DRAFT OF ANNUAL ACCOUNTS FOR 2001-2002

Mr Hobson presented the draft Accounts for the 2001-2002 financial year. Special note was made of the Return on Investment figure on Page13 as a loss had been made.

Mr Hobson will liaise with Finance Section to amend the Accounts to show the "Investment Management Expenses" separately from the "Change in Market Value of Investments" figures.

Due to the poor performance of the investment fund, the quarterly report from RLAM will be circulated to Trustees during recess and an emergency meeting called over this period if investment performance is not improved. RLAM will be called to attend this meeting. If performance for this quarter is acceptable, Trustees will reconvene after the recess to consider returns on investment for the following quarter. The trends in performance will be monitored closely.

Mr Hobson reminded the Trustees that the RLAM contract would be up for renewal in March 2003.

Mr Evans will investigate investment options with contacts in Westminster, including the viability of splitting the investment. Mr Evans will also compare the cost of fund management with the Scottish Parliament and Westminster to ensure costs incurred in the Northern Ireland Assembly are in line. The information will be circulated to Trustees during the recess for action if required.

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

  • i) Response to Management Letter - 2000-2001 Accounts
    It was agreed to adopt the recommendation. For any future Trustee appointments, advance notice will be sent to parties and a resolution sought from the Assembly. Mr Evans will investigate the process.
  • The reference to the Scheme's exemption from the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 will be removed from the accounts for both 2000-2001 and 2001-2002. The matter is under investigation by legal advisors.
  • The Administrative Expenses of the Scheme are understated as the Personnel Section of the Assembly administers the fund. While Westminster does charge for these services, Wales and Scotland do not. Mr Evans will discuss the matter with legal advisors and seek recommendation.
  • Due to the non-ratification of the two pension awards for Mr Hume and Mrs Benson, it is noted that the Trustees will ratify all future awards and decisions will be minuted. The awards to Mr Hume and Mrs Benson are hereby ratified retrospectively.
  • Balances in the Scheme's current account are maintained at approximately £5,000. The figures quoted were not a true reflection and Trustees will ask the auditors for information substantiating the alleged loss in interest as it is felt this figure is grossly overstated.

ii) The Pension administration will investigate the possibility of the bank making automatic transfers of funds to RLAM should the balance rise above £5000.

iii) It was confirmed that the Northern Bank was appointed for the Assembly through competition. The Trustees can appoint other bankers should they see fit to do so. Pension administration will look into the benefits of other bank account options.

iv) Members have been reminded twice that they need to specify how they wish their AVC contributions to be invested with Clerical Medical. A letter has been sent to members who have still not specified investment details to let them know that if no specific recommendation is received within a certain period the funds will be transferred on their behalf to the specified default investment account so that no further loss of interest occurs while their further instructions are awaited. Funds belonging to Members who have specified investment instructions have already been transferred as requested.

9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

At the Chairman's Call during the Summer Recess

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