Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 24 January 2007

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 A Whitaker, 
Mrs L Anderson and
Mr H Clarke

  1. MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2006 were agreed.

  1. MATTERS ARISING
Tax Simplification

The amendments agreed at the previous meeting were sent to Legal Services for comment. The amendments have since been forwarded to Machinery of Government Branch on the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister for the necessary determination to be passed by the Secretary of State. On receipt of this determination the Scheme rules booklets will be reprinted in time for the election..

Annual Report and Accounts

The combined annual report and accounts for 2005/06 has been issued to all members.

Death of Michael Ferguson

The death gratuity and pension in respect of Michael Ferguson has not yet been paid as no death certificate has been received. The Personnel Office is in contact with the family’s solicitor.

Extension of Investment Managers Contract

The contract with Baillie Gifford has been extended until 31 October 2007.

AVC Flexibility

Mr Carrick raised the issue of AVC flexibility which was due to have been revisited at this meeting. Further information on this and the additional optional changes possible under the 2004 Acts will be provided prior to the next meeting. Mr Evans suggested that a time frame is drafted for the mandatory and optional changes and an update provided for the next meeting.

  1. Potential challenge to the Scheme regarding early retirement.

The Trustees were informed that a challenge may be brought against the Scheme by a single member, relating to a perceived ambiguity in the scheme rules in relation to early retirement. Advice has been received from Legal Services confirming that the member is not entitled to early retirement. Advice from the GAD is awaited. No written challenge has been submitted as yet. Mr Hobson briefed the Trustees on this item and agreed with Mr Carrick that internal processes may need to be looked at to avoid a similar misunderstanding in the future.

  1. Age Legislation

Following the implementation of the Age Discrimination Legislation on 1 October 2006 (1 December 2006 for Occupational Pension Schemes) the pensions admin team contacted the GAD to identify the areas within the AMPS which will require scrutiny. The response indicates that the main area of concern relates to early retirement and the ‘rule of 80’. Further advice will be sought from the GAD on the amendment or removal of this ‘rule’ to ensure the Scheme is compliant with the legislation.

  1. Death of David Ervine MLA

The Trustees have asked that their sympathies be passed to Mrs Jeanette Ervine and the family at this time. The Trustees paid tribute to Mr Ervine for the work he carried out as an MLA and for his service to the Assembly. It was agreed that the death gratuity and spouses pension be paid to Mrs Ervine, and a children’s pension be paid if appropriate.

  1. Baillie gifford fund update

Baillie Gifford provided a written update on the fund which was distributed to the Trustees prior to the meeting. The Trustees are concerned that the recent poor performance of the fund is becoming a pattern. The Trustees agreed that an evaluation of Baillie Giffords performance should be requested from the GAD, and that a letter be sent to Baillie Gifford expressing disappointment at the performance of the fund over the past three quarters. As the contract with Baillie Gifford expires on 31 October 2007, the pensions admin team will meet with the Procurement Office prior to the next meeting and seek advice on timing for the tender process. Mr Dallat sought assurance that the tender competition would be open to all, including any companies from Northern Ireland that wished to be included in the process. This assurance was provided.

  1. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Payment of Pension to George Savage

The Trustees approved the payment of a pension to Mr George Savage from 26 November 2006.

Forthcoming Elections

Mr Watson and Mr Carrick wished Mr Dallat and Mr McClarty success in the forthcoming elections.

  1. DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Trustees will be notified with the date and venue for the next meeting.

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