Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 22 January 2004

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

IN THE CHAIR: Mr D Watson

IN ATTENDANCE: Mr G Ballantine (Government Actuary’s Department), Mr T Evans, Mr E Hobson, Mrs K McCartney, and Mr N Burns

1. Minutes of meeting of 9th December were accepted.

2. MATTERS ARISING

QUARTERLY TRENDS

The Trustees were provided with the response from RLAM relating to GAD’s mini valuation covering the period up to 31 March 2003. It was noted that there was a slight improvement however the Trustees stressed that this improvement should only be viewed in the context of poor performance for the previous year.

PENSION SHARING ON DIVORCE

Mr Ballantine informed the Trustees of legislation that was introduced in December 2000 relating to the divorce of married couples. Following discussions on whether our scheme should be amended to accommodate the legislation Mr Ballantine informed the Trustees that as the legislation overrides the scheme there would be no requirement to adjust the current scheme rules.

Mr Ballantine also wished to point out that the NAfW and Westminster had opted to employ the minimum external transfer method whereby the spouse would be paid a one off lump sum following a divorce (stated at the meeting but corrected in the afternoon). The Trustees were also informed that if they opted to select this approach they would be advised to inform all scheme members, firstly, that the method was in place, and also that in applying the method an administration charge, ranging from £500 - £1,000, would be incurred by the member. Mr Ballantine pointed out that this charge has proved to be a deterrent in previous cases.

TRUSTEE CHECKLIST

The Trustees agreed that no further action was required at this stage.

RETIREMENTS/ DEFERRED AWARDS

The Trustees approved retirements in respect of Mrs A Courtney, Mr I Davis and Dr J Hendron.

3. STATEMENT OF INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES

The Trustees discussed the issues involved in tendering for Investment Managers who exercise a corporate responsibility in relation to the firms in which they invest. Mr Dallat raised the question of whether it would be seen as good practice for the Members Pension Scheme to be seen to invest in companies which promoted such social activities drinking alcohol, smoking etc when the Assembly as a body was involved in promoting healthy living, healthy lifestyle etc. Mr Ballantine informed the Trustees that due to the relatively small AMPS fund their influence would be limited as the pooled fund consists of numerous investors. He also informed the Trustees that there are a group of Investment Managers who invest solely in environmentally and socially responsible areas, however selecting this option would without doubt reduce the number of alternatives available. He also wished to stress the importance of placing the performance of the fund to the forefront in terms of their priorities. Mr Ballantine agreed to prepare a paper to be used as the basis for the Trustees to agree on the funds investment principles for the forthcoming year.

The Trustees discussed the issues surrounding the exercise to identify a Fund Manager. The Trustees agreed that until a new Fund Manager was identified the current contract with RLAM should be extended on a month by month basis beyond 31 March 2004. Mr Ballantine has agreed to produce a paper offering advice on strategic issues to be considered.

4. SHARING COSTS OF ADVISORS

This item was included on the agenda to be discussed at the meeting later in the day with the Welsh Trustees.

5. ENHANCED ACCRUAL RATES

Mr Ballantine informed the Trustees that following a review of pay and pensions by the SSRB, MP’s at Westminster had voted for an increase in their rate.

Mr Ballantine stated that the Trustees might wish to advocate a similar change in the AMPS. In response the Trustees stated that they had previously voted not to implement the enhanced rates within the scheme.

6. PENSION SCHEME CHANGES

Mr Ballantine had prepared a paper informing the Trustees of a number of changes which were being introduced. Mr Ballantine briefly outlined the main points regarding the change in retirement age, the introduction of the single tax regime and the increase in Inland Revenue limits.

7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

MERCER GROUP

The Trustees were informed of an approach by the Mercer Group that had recently requested details on the present valuation of the AMPS fund. They also invited the Trustees to attend a training seminar on 28 January 2004. In response the Trustees decided to decline both requests.

8. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in mid March.

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