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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 03 October 2017

72nd Meeting of the Pension Trustees held on

Tuesday 3 October 2017 at 9:30am, Room 106

The Chairperson thanked everyone for attending the meeting and welcomed Mr Selby from Government Actuary’s Department, and Mr Burns and Ms Black from Deloitte.  The Chairperson welcomed Mrs Douglas from the Assembly Pensions Team to her first Trustee meeting, as she has replaced Miss McAllister.

The Chairperson updated the Trustees on Trustee Membership.  Mr McPhillips is no longer a Trustee as it is more than 6 months since he ceased to be a Member of the Assembly.  Ms Ruane will continue to be a Trustee as she is still an Office Holder and will remain until she is replaced, resigns as Trustee, or 6 months after she leaves. 

The chairperson handed over to Ms Black for a short training session.  Ms Black delivered training on Actuarial Valuations.

The meeting continued according to the agenda.


No apologies were received.


The draft minutes of the meeting held on 9 May 2017 were agreed.

Action required:

  • Agreed minutes of the 9 May 2017 meeting to be uploaded to the Assembly website (Pensions Team).

3. Standing Items

Risk Register

The Trustees discussed whether the Risk Register should be updated to include the current political situation as a risk.  There was no objection to including this on the Risk Register.

Action required:

  • Risk Register to be updated (Pensions Team).

Conflicts of Interest

The Trustees declared that their membership of the Scheme is an ongoing conflict.

4. Matters Arising

Update on Action Points from the last meeting

Investment Performance / Strategy

GAD have been informed that the Trustees will review the strategic investment objectives after the triennial valuation has been completed and the results are known.

Trustee Self-Assessment

The Chairperson reminded the Trustees that a Self-Assessment questionnaire had been developed by the Pensions Team and was issued to Trustees on 18 September 2017.  Due to the low response, it was agreed that the questionnaire would be reissued to Trustees.

Action required:

  • The Self-Assessment questionnaire to be resent to the Trustees (Pensions Team).

Deloitte ‘Bitesize’ Training Sessions

As previously agreed, a short training session will be delivered at the start of each Trustee meeting.

Administration Agreement

As previously agreed, the core services relating to ‘transfers in’ and ‘contracted out Members’, have been removed from the Administration Agreement.

Brewster Judgement

The Trustees discussed the information currently held in relation to death benefit nominations or partner declarations.  It was agreed that a newsletter should be sent to Members reminding those who have not already done so, to complete death benefit nominations or partner declarations if applicable.

Action required:

  • A newsletter to be issued to Members (Pensions Team).

Procurement Exercise – Tender for Third Party Administration

The Chairperson reminded Trustees that at the last meeting it had been agreed that an evaluation panel would be established to take forward the procurement exercise.  The panel, which consisted of Mr Lunn (Chair), Mr Wells and Mrs Lamont reported that Deloitte were successful in their bid and have retained the contract for a further 5-year period.

The Chair stated that the Trustees and staff look forward to continuing to work with Deloitte. Mr Burns confirmed that Deloitte are pleased to have retained the contract and to continue to provide administration services to the Scheme.

5. GAD Triennial valuation 2014 - 17

The Chairperson handed over to Mr Selby to deliver a presentation on the preliminary results of the valuation.

Mr Selby talked through his presentation and the preliminary results.  He highlighted that while the funding level has increased since the valuation in 2014, the Standard Contribution Rate has also increased despite good returns from the Scheme’s investments.  Mr Selby explained that this is largely due to a reduction in the discount rate used for this valuation.   Mr Selby also highlighted the sensitivity of the results to the assumptions used.

The Trustees discussed options for managing the Standard Contribution Rate by using some or all of the surplus in the Scheme.  Mr Selby advised that he will continue to progress the work on the valuation, and will provide proposed final results in the coming months.  It was agreed that the Trustees would make a decision regarding the surplus at the next meeting, following receipt of the updated report.

Action required:

  • GAD to prepare proposed final results for next meeting (GAD).

6. Investment manager contract

The Chairperson explained that the current contract with M&G for Investment Manager services is due to run out in November 2018 with an option to extend for 2 years.  The Chairperson led a discussion as to whether a full procurement exercise should be carried out now, or if the current contract should be extended for a further 2 years.  It was agreed that some work would be undertaken in the short-term into the cost of carrying out a full procurement exercise, and the Trustees will make a decision at the next meeting.

Action required:

  • Preliminary work to be undertaken into running a full procurement exercise for the Investment Manager contract (Pensions Team).

7. M&G investment manager update

The Trustees considered the update given by M&G on the current position of the Fund and the size of the holding in the Episode Allocation Fund (EAF).  The Trustees discussed the option of repositioning some of the Scheme’s assets to increase the holding in the EAF, and decided that it would be useful to meet with Alec Spooner from M&G and a representative from GAD to help inform their decision.

Action required:

  • A meeting to be arranged with representatives from M&G and GAD in early November, to discuss asset repositioning (Pensions Team).

8. Review of investment performance – proposed quarterly summary

The Chairperson reminded the Trustees of the need to review Investment Performance every year in conjunction with GAD.  He explained that GAD had prepared a quarterly summary for their consideration, in an effort to make governance of this more meaningful and timely. 

Mr Selby talked through the format and contents of the summary.  The Trustees agreed that they were content to receive a quarterly update in this format.

Action required:

  • GAD to produce Investment Performance Summary paper each quarter (GAD).

9. AMPS annual report and accounts 2016 - 17

The Trustees noted the draft report and accounts for 16-17.  The Chairperson informed the Trustees that the accounts have been sent to the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) and that audit fieldwork has begun.  The NIAO report will be received in due course and the recommendations considered by the Trustees.

Action required:

  • NIAO report to be considered on receipt (Trustees).


Mrs Anderson informed the Trustees that a letter had been received from a solicitor regarding a potential beneficiary, and that legal advice had been sought from Eversheds in respect of the request.  Mrs Anderson asked the Trustees to consider the response drafted by Eversheds.  The Trustees discussed the issue and agreed that the matter was being dealt with according to the rules of the Scheme that were in place at the time and are content with the response drafted.

Action required:

  • Response to be issued (Pensions Team).


Tuesday 30 January 2018.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for attending the meeting today.

The Trustee meeting ended at 11:20am

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