Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 21 May 2013

In the Chair: Mr T Lunn MLA

The Chairperson welcomed Mrs Martin in her capacity as acting Head of HR and the representatives from Deloitte.  The Chair handed over to Mr McClintock who delivered a short training session on ‘Managing Conflicts of Interest’.

While the Trustees manage any conflict of interest as it arises, it was agreed that it would be good practice to produce a Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • Conflict of Interest Policy to be produced (Pensions Team / Deloitte)

1. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS TRUSTEES MEETING

The minutes of the Trustee meeting held on 26 February 2013 were agreed.

Action required:

  • Agreed minutes to be uploaded to Assembly website (Pensions Team).

2. STANDING ITEMS

Risk Register

The Trustees were advised that the risk register has been updated to reflect changes since the last meeting.  The Trustees noted that the compliance risk ‘Failure to comply with the Pension Regulators Trustee Knowledge and understanding requirements’ has been downgraded from a red risk level to amber, due to the introduction of Deloittes short training session at each meeting.

The Chair encouraged those Trustees who have not yet registered for the Pension Regulators online Trustee Toolkit, to do so.  The Pensions Team will provide any practical assistance required.

The Trustees agreed the updated risk register subject to the Conflict of Interest Policy being added.

Action required:

  • Risk register to be updated to include Conflict of Interest Policy (Pensions Team)

Conflicts of Interest

The Trustees were asked to declare any conflicts of interest. 

Those Trustees under the Schemes normal retirement age declared an interest in the review of actuarial factors.  It was agreed that it was not necessary in this case for the affected Trustees to abstain from decision making.

3. MATTERS ARISING

Investment Manager Tender – update

Mrs Anderson provided the Trustees with an update on the progress of the Investment Manager Tender.

The Trustees noted the delay in the process and acknowledged the difficulty facing the evaluation sub-group in adhering to the Procurement timetable.  The sub-group will be meeting to determine an action plan and timetable to move the procurement process on.  

An update will be provided at the next Trustee meeting.

Action required:

  • Arrange meeting of the evaluation sub-group (Pensions Team)
  • Determine action plan and timetable (Evaluation Sub-group)

Review of Actuarial Factors

An interest was declared, dealt with and recorded under standing items.   

The Trustees discussed a letter from the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) proposing revised sets of factors for use in calculating the Scheme’s early retirement factors in light of the financial and demographic assumptions used for the recent valuation of the scheme.

The Trustees unanimously agreed to accept the new factors with immediate effect.

The Trustees agreed that the actuarial factors would be reviewed every 3 years following the triennial scheme valuation. The Trustees are minded to accept future recommendations from GAD whether they are more or less favourable for Scheme members. 

Action required:

  • Revised factors to be adopted immediately (Pensions Team/ Deloitte).  

Annual Report and Accounts 2012 – 13

As there will be no meeting in June, the Trustees agreed to approve the release of the annual report and accounts to the Northern Ireland Audit Office by correspondence.

Action required:

  • Draft Annual Report & Accounts 2012 – 13 to be sent to Trustees for approval once available (Pensions Team)

4. ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT

The Trustees were reminded that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Trustees and the Assembly Commission is in place to cover the services provided by Assembly Secretariat staff.  Following a review of the administration arrangements by Eversheds it was recommended that a more detailed administration agreement replace the MOU.  The Administration Agreement was drawn up by Eversheds, reviewed by Assembly Legal Services and approved by the Assembly Commission at their February meeting. 

The Trustees were advised that Eversheds considered that the liability limit was relatively low and recommended that the agreement is reviewed on an annual basis to assess whether it is necessary to renegotiate with the Commission.  The Trustees instructed that the Pensions Team provide reports of any miscalculations of benefits or other irregularities at each meeting.

The Trustees agreed to seek further information on the liability limit before making a decision on the Administration Agreement.

Action required:

  • Seek further information on the liability limit (Pensions Team)
  • Add standing item to future meeting agenda – ‘Administration Report’ (Pensions Team)

5. AMPS INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT

The Trustees noted the Internal Audit report on the in-house pension administration arrangements.  A satisfactory level of assurance had been awarded.

6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Pension Liberation Fraud

The Trustees noted correspondence from the Pensions Regulator highlighting the potential dangers of transferring preserved pensions to schemes which allow individuals to access their pension before age 55.  The Regulator has produced a short leaflet for all pension scheme members considering a transfer out.

Action required:

  • Include leaflet from the Pensions Regulator when responding to former members queries about transferring their AMPS pension (Pensions Team).

M & G Investment Report

The Trustees noted the first quarter report and summary (covering the period ending 31 March 2013) which included some disappointing fund returns on the Recovery Fund holding.

M&Gs commentary indicates that this is largely due to returns on holdings in oil and gas in that quarter.  The fund manager is still minded that these investment choices are sound. 

The Trustees agreed to review the second quarter report at the next meeting.

Action required:

  • Review second quarter M&G investment report (Trustees)

Pension Awareness Seminar

The Trustees were reminded that they are hosting an event highlighting the main provisions of AMPS on Tuesday 4th June at 1pm in Room 115 (the Brasserie).

The Trustees noted that invitations had been issued to the event.

The Chair will provide the introduction and Mr Hussey volunteered to present the second session at the event (Mr Wells will present if Mr Hussey is unavailable).   

Action required:

  • Attend event (All)

7. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Tuesday 24th September 2013 at 9.30am

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