Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 18 May 2010

Present: 
Mr J Wells 
Mr T Lunn
Mr J Dallat
Mrs M O’Neill

Apologies: 
Mr D McClarty

In the Chair: 
Mr J Wells

In attendance: 
Ms Sinead Lappin
Mrs L Anderson
Mr W Long
Mrs J Beattie

1. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS TRUSTEES MEETING

The minutes of the Trustee meeting held on 19 January 2010 were agreed.

Action required:
  • Pensions Team to arrange for upload of minutes of 19 January 2010 to the Assembly website

2. STANDING ITEMS

Risk Register

The Trustees agreed that there were no further areas of immediate concern other than the issue of Trustee training.

3. MATTERS ARISING

Trustee training requirements

The Trustees discussed options for demonstrating a commitment to ongoing training. Trustees were reminded of the online Trustee Toolkit and the availability of administration staff to assist with registration and set up.

The Trustees agreed that they should take individual responsibility for ensuring that they use the online Trustee Toolkit, with the assistance of the Pensions Team who will prompt the Trustees to complete modules by agreed dates.

The Trustees also agreed that it would be useful to include brief training sessions as part of their meetings.

Action required:
  • Pensions Team to develop brief training sessions for delivery at future meetings.
Pension Audit Committee

The Trustees were advised that, following the decision not to establish a pensions audit committee, the Northern Ireland Audit Office have confirmed that a representative will attend a Trustee meeting following the annual Scheme audit.

Scheme Changes

The Trustees were advised that wording has been received from GAD in respect of agreed amendments to the Favourable Early Retirement provision and the Accrual Rate and that the Scheme rules will be updated accordingly.

The Trustees noted that the Assembly’s Legal Services has examined the Scheme Rules in light of changing Northern Ireland specific legislation and recommended to the Pensions Team, a number of areas which require scrutiny and possible amendment.

The Trustees discussed the need for specialist pensions legal advice due to the number of clauses requiring scrutiny and the consequential amendments arising from some of the changes. The Pensions Team undertook to look at options for acquiring specialist advice.

Action required:
  • Agreed amendments to be made to the Scheme Rules.
  • Pensions Team to investigate options for the provision of specialist advice in relation to the Scheme Rules amendments.
Internal Audit Report

The Trustees noted that a satisfactory rating has been awarded following the recent internal audit. The Trustees discussed the report and were pleased to note that the majority of the recommendations contained within the report have already been implemented.

4. ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NI - PENSION ARRANGEMENTS

The Trustees were informed that the recently enacted Justice Act 2002 states that the Attorney General for Northern Ireland will be pensioned under section 48 of the Northern Ireland Act i.e. will become a member of the AMPS.

As the Scheme rules currently restrict membership to ‘any person serving as a member of the Assembly’ the Pensions Team have sought legal advice regarding the amendments required to permit the Attorney General to join the AMPS. A paper will be prepared for consideration by the Assembly Commission.

The Trustees noted that similar arrangements are in place in Scotland and Westminster.

Action required:
  • The Pension team to prepare paper for consideration by the Commission.

5. PENSION ACCOUNTS AND END YEAR REVIEW

The Trustees noted the draft pension accounts for 09 – 10 and end of year summary.

The Trustees were advised that the contributions into the Consolidated Fund for 2009-10 were shown as being lower than 2008-09 levels as the contributions for February and March 2010 had been omitted from the Annual Accounts in error. The Trustees were advised that an amended set of Accounts had been requested and would be included in the packs for the next meeting.

Action Required:

  • Amended accounts to be provided at next meeting.

6. AMPS NEWSLETTER – MAY 2010 EDITION

The Trustees discussed the contents of the latest draft edition of the AMPS newsletter and agreed for it to be issued to all scheme members. The next edition of the newsletter will highlight the availability of AVCs

Action Required:
  • Pension team to issue newsletter to all scheme members.

7. EXTENSION OF INVESTMENT MANAGER CONTRACT

The Trustees were advised that the initial 3 year contract with M & G for Investment Management services is due to expire in November 2010. The contract includes an option to extend for a further 2 periods of 12 months.

The Trustees discussed the contract and their satisfaction with M&G’s performance and agreed to extend the contract with M&G for a further 2 years (until November 2012) under the existing terms.

Action Required:
  • Pension team to liaise with the Assembly’s Procurement Office to extend the contract with M&G until November 2012.

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Issue of Annual Benefit Statements

The Trustees noted that Annual Benefits Statements were recently issued to members of the AMPS.

Pensions for children

The Trustees approved a dependents pension.

9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Trustees agreed to meet on 22 June 2010.

Action Required:
  • Pensions Team to confirm date with Chairperson and issue meeting invites.

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