Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 20 June 2011

1. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS TRUSTEES MEETING

The minutes of the Trustee meeting held on 22 February 2011 were agreed.

Action required:
  • Pensions Team to arrange for upload of agreed minutes to the Assembly website.
2. STANDING ITEMS
Risk Register

The Trustees noted and agreed the updated risk register.

3. MATTERS ARISING
Dual Mandate Members - update

The Trustees noted that the changes agreed at the last meeting are reflected in the revised Scheme Rules and the Pensions Team issued information to Dual Mandate Members with their Annual Benefit Statements.

Pension Increase RPI/CPI issues

The Trustees had previously discussed the issue of pension increases but held off making a decision until further briefing was received from Eversheds. The Trustees noted that pension increases for April 2011 were calculated using CPI figures as per Department of Work and Pensions guidance.

The Trustees considered and discussed the further briefing note from Eversheds noting that the scheme falls outside the ambit of the Pension Increase Legislation.

While Mr Wells was in favour of retaining increases at RPI, the Trustees agreed that they should accept the expert advice provided. Pensions in deferment and payment would be revalued in line with CPI in respect of service after the date of change. Benefits accrued before the date of change would continue to be revalued in line with RPI. This was recognised to be a compromise position, protecting members expectations in relation to past service accrued before the date of change but coming into line with other parliamentary and public sector schemes for future increases.

It was also agreed that the Scheme Rules should be amended to reflect the changes and future compliance with Pension Increase Legislation.

The Trustees agreed that the decisions made should be clearly communicated and explained to members.

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to arrange amendments to Scheme Rules
  • Pensions Team to contact GAD regarding revised actuarial factors
  • Pensions Team to inform all scheme members once revised Scheme Rules are accepted by the Commission
Scheme Rules Review

The Trustees noted the Eversheds briefing paper and the revised Scheme Rules. Once a response is received from the Commissions Legal Advisors, the revised Rules will be submitted to the Commission for consideration and approval.

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to submit revised Scheme Rules to the Commission following the response from Legal Services.
Pension Tax Changes – Revised Annual Allowance

The Trustees noted that while it is not anticipated that any Member will breach the Annual Allowance within the AMPS this year based on current salaries, the Pensions Team will closely monitor the situation. The Pensions Team will calculate the amount of the Annual Allowance used up for each Member as part of year end action.

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to calculate amount of the Annual Allowance used up in the AMPS for each Member, at year end.
May 2011 Elections – Update

The Trustees were advised that 17 Members did not stand for election and 8 members who stood were not returned. Of the 25 newly elected MLA’s, 2 are re-joiners having served in earlier mandates.

The Trustees noted that a paper was submitted to the Commission regarding the appointment of 5 MLA’s to serve as Pension Trustees for this mandate. The paper asked the Commission to seek nominations and make a motion to appoint the Trustee Board before summer recess. The new Trustees are expected to be in place for September.

The Trustees commended Mr McClarty for his contribution to the Trustee Board and particularly for his role as Chairman since 2007.

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to liaise with Commission Office re appointment of new Trustees
  • Pensions Team to arrange induction for new Trustees on appointment
Ill Health Retirement –Update

The Trustees noted that the Pensions Team are awaiting a medical report regarding an ill health retirement application. Once the report is received the Pensions Team will contact the Trustees .

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to contact the Trustees once the medical report is received
4. SCHEME ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2010-2011

The Trustees approved the draft Annual Report and Accounts for 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. The report will be sent to the Northern Ireland Audit Office to be audited at the end of the month.

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to send the draft Annual Report and Accounts to the Northern Ireland Audit Office.
5. NORTHERN IRELAND AUDIT OFFICE (NIAO) ANNUAL AUDIT

The Trustees noted the Audit Strategy received from the NIAO. The audit is due to commence over the summer.

6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Approval of new pensions

The Trustees approved payment of pensions in respect of 13 retiring or former members:

7. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting will be held in September. Date and time will be confirmed.

The Pensions Administration Team left the meeting at 9.35am

8. ADMINISTRATION REVIEW

The item was presented by Sinead McDonnell, Head of HR.

The Trustees were referred to the Advice Note on Administration Arrangements from Eversheds LLP and also to the draft Administration Services Agreement.

The Trustees agreed with Eversheds’ suggestion that retaining the current in-house administration team was advantageous to the Scheme. They also agreed to replace the current Memorandum of Understanding with a formal administration agreement which clearly sets out the roles and responsibilities of the administrators and the Trustees. They accepted the need to formalise arrangements as to how the agreement will be monitored.      

Sinead McDonnell advised the Trustees that the Eversheds LLP papers had been sent to the Commission’s legal advisers for advice on the appropriateness and content of a formal administration agreement with the Trustees.  They agreed that the formal administration agreement would be presented to the Commission in due course.

Action required:
  • Sinead McDonnell to consider the advice from the Commission’s legal advisers on the draft administration agreement and to present to the Commission a formal administration agreement for approval.

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