MINUTES OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE PENSION TRUSTEES
28 June 2000
WEDNESDAY 28 JUNE 2000 AT 12.30PM IN ROOM 103
Present:Mr D Watson
Mr D McClarty
Mr J Kelly
Mr J Dallat
Mr J Wells
In Attendance:Mr D Millar, Mr T Evans, Mr E Hobson
1.INTRODUCTION AND APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN
As this was the first meeting following the appointment of the Pensions Trustees by the Assembly it was necessary to appoint a Chairman. Mr Kelly proposed Mr Watson as Chairman. This proposal was seconded by Mr Dallat and accepted unanimously by the Trustees.
The Trustees agreed on a quorum of three Members and that the Group would operate by consensus.
3.MINUTES OF THE SEVENTH MEETING OF THE SHADOW TRUSTEES
The minutes of the seventh meeting of the Shadow Trustees, held on 7 February 2000, were accepted without change.
The Chairman referred to the issue of members of the Pension Scheme paying 15% (6% + 9%) contributions and whether a response had been received from the Inland Revenue on how this may affect their ability to purchase Added Years or make AVCs. Mr Hobson explained that the Inland Revenue had responded to Mr Hamilton and had indicated that although they had some discretion in agreeing to the proposal, they felt that the Assembly Pension Scheme did not meet one of the criteria i.e. that the contributor had no option but to pay the 15% contribution. Mr Hamilton was presently following this up with the Inland Revenue.
Mr Wells raised the question of the Trustees having to be approached should an Assembly Member choose to pay retrospective contributions by lump sum, or by instalments.
Action: Mr Ballantine, from the Government Actuary's Department, to be approached to establish if there was any substantive reason why the Trustees needed to agree such payments on an individual basis.
Mr Watson, on behalf of the Trustees, wished to record his thanks to all those involved in moving the Pension Determination forward during the recent period of suspension.
The Trustees agreed that it would be a useful exercise at this time to recap on the items listed on the Action Plan which was updated following the last meeting of the Shadow Trustees.
5.1Appointment of Administrators
The Trustees endorsed the appointment of the Assembly Finance and Personnel Directorate as the day to day administrators of the Scheme.
5.2Appointment of Fund Manager
It was agreed that the draft tender documents iro the proposed appointment of a Fund Manager would be prepared and presented for consideration at the next meeting of the Trustees.
5.3Training on Pension Scheme Trusteeship
Now that the Assembly Pension Scheme was fully operational, it was agreed that it was crucial, that the Trustees should attend training on trusteeship as soon as possible. It was suggested that Friday 1 September 2000 was a suitable date for this training, and that it should be held in Parliament Buildings.
Action : Mr Evans to approach training providers to arrange training as above.
5.4Contracting Out Certificate
Mr Hobson confirmed that a contracting out certificate had been issued by the Inland Revenue in respect of the Assembly Members' Pension Scheme. He also confirmed that Members of the Scheme were presently paying contributions at the contracted out rate.
5.5Lunchtime Seminar and "Pensions Clinic"
A lunchtime seminar has been arranged for Monday 3 July and will be held in the Long Gallery. Grant Ballantine from the Government Actuary's Department will make a short presentation as well as meeting Members on an individual basis. A note informing Members of this event has been included in the All Party Notice. Mr Watson agreed to open the seminar on behalf of the Trustees.
It was agreed that a note should issue under the Chairman's signature reminding Members of the seminar. The note also to include a reminder to Members of the time limit for Opting Out and also that Death Gratuity nomination forms need to be completed as soon as possible.
Action : Mr Hobson to prepare note to Members as above and place in Members' pigeonholes.
5.7Pension Scheme Bank Account
Mr Hobson confirmed that a Bank Account (cheque book) had been opened with the Northern Bank for lodgements of monies while awaiting the appointment of a Fund Manager. A discussion took place on the use of the cheque book and what safe guards should be applied when making payments from the pension fund. It was suggested that a maximum of £20,000 should remain in the bank account at all times for the purposes of paying bills etc. The remainder of the money should be transferred to the NI Consolidated Fund until such time as the Fund Manager was appointed.
Action : (1) Mr Hobson to arrange for the immediate transfer of the outstanding monies to the Consolidated Fund. (2) Mr Hobson to make enquiries from House of Commons and Scottish Parliament to establish procedures followed in respect of authorising payments by cheque.
Mr Hobson confirmed that the Pension Scheme has been registered with the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (OPRA).
It was agreed that the need for life insurance had diminished as there was a significant amount of money in the Pension Fund which should cover any unforeseen demands on the fund which might arise in the immediate future.
6.ANY OTHER BUSINESS
No issues raised.
7.DATE OF NEXT MEETING
It was agreed that a meeting of the Trustees should be arranged before the Assembly recess. It was suggested that Wednesday 5 July would be a suitable date but this was to be confirmed.