Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2002/2003

Date: 08 April 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 T Evans, Mr E Hobson, Mrs K McCartney, and Mr N Burns


1. MINUTES OF MEETING OF 22nd JANUARY WERE ACCEPTED.

2. MATTERS ARISING

PENSION SHARING ON DIVORCE

The Trustees agreed to discuss this matter under Agenda Item 4 of the meeting.

STATEMENT OF INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES

The Trustees agreed to discuss this matter under Agenda Item 3 of the meeting.

SHARING COSTS OF ADVISORS

Mr Evans wished to highlight the positive feedback received following the meeting with the Trustees of the National Assembly for Wales in January 2004 and hoped that this could be built on with Trustees from other legislatures in the future.

ENHANCED ACCRUAL RATES

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

PENSION SCHEME CHANGES

The Trustees agreed to discuss this matter under Agenda Item 4 of the meeting.

3. STATEMENT OF INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES

The Trustees were provided with a paper by the Government Actuary’s Department on the Review of Investment Strategy and also an example of a draft tender paper.
The Trustees were informed that the current contract with RLAM has been retained on a month-by-month basis.

In relation to tendering for a new investment fund manager Mr Dallat wished to point out the need to invest the fund with a company that pursues Socially Responsible Investment. The Trustees agreed with this view however they wished to point out their main priority is the performance of the fund. The Trustees agreed that this issue would be discussed in detail at the next meeting, which is scheduled to take place in two to three weeks time to solely deal with the tender for the Investment Fund Manager.

4. AMALGAMATION OF 3 PENSION SCHEMES

The Trustees were provided with a paper outlining the pros and cons of amalgamating the three pension schemes.

Mr Evans informed the Trustees that in addition to amalgamating the three schemes there would be the option of creating a new scheme, however either method would require legislation being passed at Westminster.

The Trustees agreed that this issue would be put on hold until the Assembly was restored.

OTHER POTENTIAL CHANGES

The Trustees were provided with a paper detailing potential changes to the Pension Scheme.

In relation to the make up of the group Mr Evans informed the Trustees of the possibility of recruiting a Professional Trustee who could bring an expert knowledge of pensions to the group.

Mr Evans also informed the Trustees of the need to maintain continuity within the group by retaining a number of existing Trustees in the long term.

5. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

ANNUAL BENEFIT STATEMENTS

Mr Hobson informed the Trustees that the Annual Benefit Statements will be sent to all members of the scheme in mid April.

The Trustees were also informed of an issue regarding Non Reckonable Service for the re-elected members who were not in receipt of a salary from the day after election, 27 November 2003 to 4 December 2003.

Mr Hobson informed the Trustees that in the past Westminster also had gaps in service during elections and that the period was considered non reckonable. The Welsh Assembly also came across this recently with a one-day gap during their elections. They overcame it by paying the Trustees a pensionable allowance to cover one-day. The Scottish Parliament had not experienced such an occurrence.

Mr Evans informed the Trustees that he would investigate options available to overcome the current position and that he would report his conclusions at the next meeting. In the meantime it was agreed to highlight the non-reckonable service in the annual benefits.

ANNUAL ACCOUNTS AND ANNUAL REPORT

The Trustees were informed that the NIAO has finalised the Accounts for 2002-2003 financial year. The Annual Accounts and the Annual Report were approved and signed off by the Trustees.

TRANSFERS

The Trustees approved an application by Mr Alex Easton to transfer service into the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme.

OUTSOURCING PENSIONS PAYROLL

Mr Evans informed the Trustees of a meeting he and Mr Hobson had with Mr Ralph Garden. He informed the Trustees that he had hoped to invite Mr Garden to a meeting in late June, in the meantime he would prepare a cost benefit analysis of outsourcing to a Public Pensions Agency.

6. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was agreed that the next meeting involving Mr Grant Ballantine (Government Actuary’s Department) and Mr John Gibson (Head of Procurement) would be held in 2 to 3 weeks time.

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