Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2002/2003

Date: 10 June 2003

PRESENT:
Mr D Watson
Mr M Carrick
Mr J Dallat
Mr J Kelly

IN THE CHAIR: Mr D Watson

APOLOGIES: Mr D McClarty

IN ATTENDANCE: Mr T Evans, Mr E Hobson, Mrs K McCartney, and Mr R McNeilly

1. Minutes of meeting of 12th May were accepted.

2. MATTERS ARISING

RESPONSE FROM RLAM

The Trustees agreed that this matter should be forwarded to PWC for advice and held until the next meeting.

DEATH IN SERVICE

Mr Hobson confirmed that GAD had stated that death in service benefits would be based on a salary of £41,321.

IMPLICATION OF SUSPENSION ON OFFICE HOLDERS SALARY

Mrs McCartney explained the methodology used to calculate an Office Holder’s pension Mr Evans emphasised the point that Office Holder’s salary was presently suspended as from October 14th 2002.

APPOINTMENT OF SCHEME ADVISERS

Mr Evans reported that he had met with Mr Derek Stein of the Scottish Parliament. Mr Stein advised that the Pension Managers of the Scottish Members Pension Scheme were the members of the Scottish Corporate Body, equivalent to the Assembly Commission. Mr Evans advised that the Scottish Members' Pension Scheme was administered by the Scottish Public Pension Agency. Mr Evans suggested that it may be useful for himself, Evan Hobson and perhaps one of the Trustee to meet with Mr Ralph Garden, Chief Executive of the SPPA, to discuss the level of service provision provided and in particular the level and range of professional advice provided by the SPPA to the Trustees in relation to the Pension Scheme.

The Trustees agreed that an early visit to meet with Mr Garden should be arranged.

METHODOLOGY FOR ACTUARIAL VALUATION

A letter has been received from GAD in response to Price Waterhouse Coopers suggestion that GAD were not using the same method of actuarial valuation as 97% of actuaries in the private sector. Mr Evans suggested that this may be due in part to an issue of culture difference between private and public sector. The Trustees agreed that the GAD response should be forwarded to the PWC Pension consultants for comment.

REGULARITY OF ACTUARIAL VALUATION

The Trustees referred to the correspondence from GAD on the matter of carrying out more regular valuations of the Members’ Pension Scheme. Having considered all of the issues it was agreed that GAD would be asked to provide the Trustees with an indicative funding position on an annual basis between full triennial actuarial valuations. The first indicative assessment should be carried out as at 31 March 2003.

BANK ACCOUNT OPTIONS

The Trustees agreed that all funds should be transferred to RLAM as customary and that any pension payments could be drawn from the monthly pension contributions when required. They agreed that a maximum of four weeks to set up any new pension payment was acceptable.

AMALGAMATION OF THREE PENSION SCHEMES

Information has been received from Mr Hugh Widdis in Legal Services regarding the amalgamation of three pension schemes. Mr Evans reported that Mr Widdis had indicated that the amalgamation of the three pension schemes required primary legislation to allow the current Scheme to be amended or replaced. Mr Evans agreed to speak to Mr Widdis to clarify the position. Mr Evans also indicated his wish to speak to Jim Hamilton in this regard and that the reduction in value of the fund during the period of suspension would have to be taken into consideration. It was agreed that the Secretary of State’s office should not be approached at this stage. The Trustees agreed to carry this issue forward and review in due course.

STATEMENT OF INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES

Mr Evans reported that he was unable to progress this issue with Mr Archie Cameron HoC, due to Mr Cameron being absent due to illness during his recent visit to Westminster. Mr Evans stated that he would raise the matter at some stage in the near future.

AVC GAD DOCUMENT FOR CONSIDERATION

Mr Carrick thanked the Personnel Office staff for sourcing the information he had requested during a previous Trustees meeting. The Trustees suggested that consideration be given to amending the rules of the AMPS to allow greater AVC flexibility. Mr Evans agreed to explore the mechanisms of amending the scheme with the Assembly's legal advisers.

TRUSTEE EXPENSES

Claim forms were provided to all Trustees to cover any mileage costs incurred in connection with their Trustees duties during suspension of the Assembly.

3. PENSION SHARING ON DIVORCE

Mr Hobson provided the Trustees with a broad outline of a paper on the subject of Pension Sharing on Divorce. The paper was issued to the Trustees for consideration and discussion at a future meeting. Mr Evans suggested that he would ask the Assembly's Legal Advisers to examine the content of the paper before the next meeting and if necessary one of the advisers could be invited to the next Trustees meeting to clarify the main issues involved.

4. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

OUTSOURCING PENSION PAYROLL

Mr Hobson asked the Trustees to give consideration to outsourcing the pension payroll as the number of pensioners was likely to increase following any future election and that the secretariat staff could become stretched. The Trustees agreed that the Personnel Office should explore the options on the basis of cost efficiency etc.

TRUSTEE CHECKLIST

Mr Watson thanked staff for preparing the checklist.

ADVICE TO MEMBERS

Mr Evans suggested that the Trustees should provide written information to Members updating them on pension issues i.e. options on leaving the AMPS. The Trustees agreed that the Personnel Office would provide a draft for consideration at the next meeting.

ACCOMMODATION IN BUILDING FOR TRUSTEES

Mr Evans agreed to investigate the possibility of providing the Trustees with rooms in Parliament Buildings to enable them to carry out their official duties iro the Members' Pension Scheme.

5. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was agreed that the next meeting should be held in early September unless any urgent business arose in the meantime.

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