Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 27 June 2006

Present: Mr D Watson
Mr M Carrick
Mr J Dallat
Mr D McClarty

Apologies: Mr J Kelly

In the Chair: Mr D Watson

In attendance: Mr T Evans, Mr E Hobson, Ms Kathleen Dickson (Baillie Gifford), Ms Jan Oliver (Baillie Gifford), Ms A Whitaker, Mrs L Anderson and Mr H Clarke

1. MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2006 were agreed.

2. MATTERS ARISING

Investment Options

The Trustees have agreed to keep this as a standing item at each meeting and had invited Baillie Gifford to present an update on the fund immediately following the Trustee meeting.

Actuarial Valuation

The mini valuation for year ending 31 March 2006 was received from the Government Actuary’s Department, (GAD) and issued to the Trustees prior to the meeting.

The Trustees accepted the valuation with no amendment. Mr Evans noted that the production of the information was in keeping with the new time schedule requirements for public bodies. The valuation will form part of the Assembly Accounts.

Outsourcing

Mr Hobson informed the Trustees that the arrangement with the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) is working well and a brief update was provided. .

3. TAX SIMPLIFICATION

At the previous meeting Sarah Brough from the GAD presented a paper summarising the compulsory changes required to the Scheme by the Finance Act 2004 and the Pensions Act 2004 and the Trustees had approved changes to the Scheme rules to comply with the new legislative requirements regarding the maximum age of 75 for tax free lump sum. Trustees were informed that a determination by the Secretary of State was passed on 3 April 06 allowing Members aged over 75 to take their tax-free lump sum and abate their pensions, thereby leaving the Pension Scheme. The Trustees authorised the payment of lump sums in accordance with the new determination to Reverend Coulter and Reverend Paisley.

Other amendments

The Trustees were also presented with draft amendments to the Scheme in accordance with previously agreed to changes in relation to

  • Contribution Refunds,
  • Definition of child
  • Minimum pension age,
  • Maximum age of 75 for tax-free lump sum, and
  • Re-employed members: aggregation.

 

The Trustees agreed that the amended Scheme Rules be forwarded to the Assembly Legal Services for scrutiny before being forwarded to the Secretary of State for ratification. Mr Evans informed the Trustees that due to timescales the SOS’s determination may not be finalised before the September meeting

Outstanding amendments

The Trustees were informed that the following previously agreed amendments were still pending as guidance is awaited from the GAD.

  • Death Benefits
  • Ill Health Benefit Awards
  • Excess Tax Charges

4. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

 

Risk Register 2006-07

An updated Risk register for 2006-07 was issued to the Trustees. This was agreed and accepted.

Draft Accounts

The NIAO annual audit of the accounts is due to begin, 27th June 2006. It is envisaged that the final Accounts will be signed off by September 2006 in accordance with new target dates for public sector organisations.

Baillie Gifford Annual Investment Report

The report for the year ending 31 March 06 was issued to the Trustees. Mr Evans suggested the Trustees examine future investment strategy at the September meeting, giving consideration to investing new contributions in Bonds and moving away from Equities and that representatives from the GAD and Baillie Gifford be invited to brief the Trustees on this item.

Baillie Gifford revised Trustee Investment Policy Terms

Revised investment policy terms had been received from Baillie Gifford. Mr Watson informed the Trustees that these have been seen by the GAD and that Grant Ballantine has confirmed none of the changes are substantive. The Trustees accepted the revised terms.

Annual Report

Mr Hobson confirmed that the Annual Report and Annual Accounts are to be combined into a single document for 2005-06 as previously decided. The report will be forwarded to the Trustees for comment when completed.

5. UPDATE ON THE PENSION FUND BY BAILLIE GIFFORD

Kathleen Dickson and Jan Oliver provided the Trustees with an update on the performance of the fund. While there has been some market volatility in the last quarter Baillie Gifford has continued to achieve the targets identified by the Statement of Investment Principles.

Mr Evans enquired about the allocation of funds with respect to the ratio of bonds and equities. While Baillie Gifford cannot provide advice on investment principles, they explained that many schemes are influenced in this area by the age profile of the members and the proximity of significant drawdowns on the scheme.

6. TRUSTEE TRAINING

Baillie Gifford delivered two training modules to the Trustees.

7. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting is to be held on 26th September 2006.

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