Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 27 January 2003
Mr D Watson
Mr M Carrick
Mr J Dallat
Mr D McClarty
IN THE CHAIR:
Mr D Watson
Mr J Kelly
Mr T Evans, Mr E Hobson, Ms A Whitaker, Mrs K McCartney
1. Minutes of 24th June meeting were accepted.
2. MATTERS ARISING
2.1. Election Plan 2003
Mr Evans confirmed that Alan Rogers, from the Business office, is co-ordinating the election plan.
Mr Hobson stated that the Personnel Office has written out to those members, who have indicated they will not be standing for re-election, requesting details in order to calculate their Pension benefits. It was agreed that the Personnel Office would write to all members (over 60) seeking necessary documentation. In the event that a member is not re-elected this will avoid any delay in pension payment.
2.2. Increase in Pension Contribution
The Trustees considered a paper from GAD recommending that Exchequer contributions be raised to 21.3% from 1 April 2003. It was agreed that Mr Ballantine from GAD be invited to attend a meeting with the Trustees on 10 February 2003 to discuss this matter further before the recommendation is presented to the Commission/Secretary of State for approval.
2.3. Response to NIAO Management Letter
With reference to the Scheme's exemption from the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. The Personnel Office will seek further clarification.
- The legal advisors stated that whilst there is no legal obligation to charge for the Administrative Expense to administer the fund, the Commission is entitled to make a charge if they so wish. The matter would be raised at a future Commission meeting.
- The Trustees considered and approved Mr Doherty's pension.
- Steps have been taken to ensure that the balances in the Scheme's current account are maintained at approximately £5,000, unless there is a bill to be paid. However Mr Hobson stated that due to forthcoming retirements, following the election the Personnel Office would on occasions need to retain more than £5,000 to cover lump sum payments. This was agreed.
3. RLAM Investment Performance and Contract Renewal
Mr Hobson presented the summary of the fund performance. It was noted that the investment return rose in the last quarter in both 2001 and 2002. It was agreed that RLAM be invited to attend a meeting with the Trustees on 24 February 2003 to discuss the performance of the pension fund over the past number of months.
4. Draft Annual Report 2001-2002
The Annual Report was considered and approved following agreement to list the Trustee's names alphabetically.
5. Draft Annual Accounts 2001-2002
The Annual Accounts were considered and approved following agreement to list the Trustee's names alphabetically.
Mr John Dallat excused himself from the meeting at this point.
6. Renewal of Insurance Cover for MLA's
The renewal of lump sum insurance was put in place from 1 October for a further 12 months. Swiss Life refunded overpaid insurance premiums for the year ending October 2002.
7. Including AMPs Information in AssISt
It was agreed that details of the scheme should be put on AssISt.
8. Internal Audit Report - Pensions
Mr Hobson informed the Trustees that the Assembly Internal Audit Unit had recently carried out an audit of the administration of the Members' Pension Scheme. He noted that the findings of the audit confirmed that the scheme is being administered within specified guidelines and Assembly regulations.
8.1. The Trustees agreed the pension fund should be reviewed monthly. Mr Evans agreed to discuss the re-tendering process for the RLAM contract with John Gibson.
8.2. The Trustees agreed that the Personnel section should administer the transfer of funds to RLAM on a monthly basis.
8.3. The Trustees agreed for developmental purposes that it would be useful to attend a Westminster Trustees meeting. Mr Evans agreed that he would make arrangements before the end of March 2003.
9. Any Other Business
Ms Whitaker presented a request from RLAM for new "Policy of Assurance" documents to be signed by the Trustees, following RLAM's acquisition of Scottish Life. The Trustees considered and confirmed that they were content with the acquisition.
10. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
It was agreed that a meeting with Mr Ballantine should be arranged for Monday 10 February 2003 to discuss the proposed increase in pensions contributions.