Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 11 March 2008
Mr D McClarty
Mr T Lunn
Mr Jim Wells
Mrs M O’Neill
Mr J Dallat
In the Chair:
Mr D McClarty
In attendance: Mr E Hobson, Mrs L Anderson, and Mr H Clarke
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS TRUSTEES MEETINGS
The minutes of the Trustees meetings held on 3 December 07 were agreed.
SCHEME RULES AMENDMENTS
Mr Hobson informed the Trustees that the Clerk to the Commission had sought legal advice from the Director of Legal Services in relation to amending the Pension Scheme rules. This advice confirmed that there is no provision under the current Scheme for either the Trustees or the Assembly to amend the rules. Under Section 48 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, there are two options for amending or replacing the current pension provision:
The Trustees considered both options and agreed to take forward the second option. A resolution will be drafted and on approval by the Trustees will be presented to the Business Committee for tabling in Plenary, before the summer recess if possible.
- by Act of the Assembly – a Pensions Bill could be introduced by the Commission to replace the current provision. This would be a time consuming exercise,
- by ‘Resolution’ of the Assembly to confer power to the Assembly Commission to make amendments to the Scheme Rules.
- Pensions Administration Team to draft the Resolution.
TENDER FOR INVESTMENT MANAGER
The Trustees were informed that following completion of the required paperwork, pension contributions for November – January were paid over to Prudential M&G on 13 th February. Contributions for February were also transferred to Prudential M&G in early March. However the existing “Fund” has not yet been transferred to Prudential M&G from Bailie Gifford despite the Trustee’s letter issued on 16 January 08. The Pensions Administration team have now prepared a further letter to Baillie Gifford instructing them to transfer the AMPS assets before the 31 st of March 2008.
- All Trustees to sign letter to Baillie Gifford
- Pensions Administration team to issue letter to Baillie Gifford
Mr Hobson updated the Trustees as to the position regarding the provision of ongoing administrative support for the Assembly Members’ Pension Scheme. Legal advice has suggested that it would be wise to put in place a formal Service Level Agreement in order to avoid accusations of “conflict of interest”.. Mr Hobson reminded the Trustees that the issue had been raised by the Assembly Internal Audit Unit a number of years ago. The administration team was asked to liaise with the Clerk to the Commission and bring a draft SLA to the next Trustees meeting for consideration.
- Pensions Administration Team to liaise with the Clerk to the Commission and draft SLA for consideration by the Trustees.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
AVC and Added Years Awareness
Mr Wells expressed his view that information relating to the AVC schemes and Added Years benefits should be more widely and frequently notified to Members of the pension scheme. It was agreed that the Pensions Administration Team would produce information bulletins in relation to both benefits and circulate these to members on a regular basis. It was also suggested that awareness seminars for members might be a useful method of informing them of the value of AVCs and Added years. The administration team were asked to consider this and report back to the next meeting.
- Pensions Administration Team to produce a draft information bulletin for consideration by the Trustees.
- Pensions Admin Team to consider other options to raise awareness of AVC’s and Added Years provision.
Challenge to Scheme
The Trustees asked that the previous member who has a current challenge to the scheme should be informed of the current position regarding the proposed amendments to the Scheme Rules.
- Pensions Admin Team to write, updating the Member
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting will be arranged to take place on a Tuesday before Summer Recess between 12.30 and 2.00pm.