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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 27 March 2018

The Chairperson thanked everyone for attending the meeting and welcomed Mr Selby from Government Actuary’s Department, and Mr Burns from Deloitte.

The Chairperson handed over to Mr Burns for a short training session.  Mr Burns delivered training on Pension Scams and Pension Liberation Schemes.

The meeting continued according to the agenda.


No apologies were received.


The draft minutes of the regular meeting held on 30 January 2018, and the GDPR meeting held on 27 February 2018 were agreed.

Action required:

  • Agreed minutes of the 30 January 2018 meeting to be uploaded to the Assembly website (Pensions Team).


Risk Register

The Chairperson reminded the Trustees that the addition of risks around the current political situation and the introduction of the GDPR had been agreed at the last meeting.  He advised that there have been no changes to the risk register since then.

Mr Wells asked if further revisions were required in light of the Secretary of State’s recent actions relating to pay.

Action required:

  • Pensions Team to review the Risk register once the Secretary of States determination on Members Pay is made.

Conflicts of Interest

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


Update on Action Points from the last meeting


The minutes of the meeting on 3 October 2017 have been published on the Assembly website.

Liability Insurance

The Trustees were informed at the GDPR meeting of 27 February 2018 that schedule 1 of the scheme rules covers payments of fines in relation to breaches of GDPR or any other fine.

The Trustees discussed if this would provide sufficient cover if they were to incur a fine.  Mrs Anderson advised the Trustees that the Scheme prevents the purchase of indemnity insurance, but that the Trustees would be indemnified out of the Fund against all liabilities except if the Trustee has acted recklessly or has deliberately committed fraud.

Trustee Membership

The Chairperson explained that an email had been sent to the Commission for consideration at their meeting of 31 January 2018.  The Commission discussed the issue but re-iterated their opinion that this is not a matter that they can resolve.  Mr Wells said that he had been at the Commission meeting and felt it may be appropriate to contact the Secretary of State directly regarding this matter.  The Trustees agreed that a letter should be sent to the Secretary of State advising of this matter.

The Trustees discussed the option of inviting an observer from the non-represented parties to be present at the Trustee meetings in order to participate in the discussions.  It was agreed that an invitation to the other parties would be drafted for consideration at the next Trustee meeting.

Action required:

  • A letter to be issued to the Secretary of State on behalf of the Chairperson regarding trustee membership (Pensions Team).
  • Invitation to Sinn Fein and SDLP to be drafted for consideration at the next Trustee meeting (Pensions Team).

Trustee Toolkit

A link to the Pensions Regulators Toolkit was issued to all Trustees on 9 February 2018, as agreed at the last meeting.

Mr Beggs expressed his thanks to Mrs Anderson for organising his attendance at the Mercer Trustee Blitz training held on 15 March 2018.

GAD Quarterly Summary

A copy of the GAD summary for Q3 (the period ending 30 September 2017) was issued to Trustees on 6 February 2018, as agreed at the last meeting.


The Chairperson handed over to Mrs Anderson for an update on GDPR Action Plan.  Mrs Anderson talked through the Action Plan and advised on the progress of each point.


The Chairperson reminded the Trustees that at the last meeting they had considered a number of options for managing the contribution rate by using the surplus.  The Chairperson advised that GAD had presented their final draft paper for consideration today and handed over to Mr Selby.

Mr Selby explained that this was the draft of the final report, which would be signed and formally issued.  He advised that there was some rewording to show that there was flexibility around reviewing the contribution rate prior to the next valuation.  It was agreed that the final paper would be signed and a copy sent to the Commission.

Action required:

  • The final paper to be signed and formally issued (GAD).
  • A copy of the signed report to be sent to the Commission (Pensions Team).


The Chairperson reminded the Trustees that following the completion of the Triennial Valuation, GAD review the actuarial factors used to calculate benefits within the Scheme.  The Chairperson handed over to Mr Selby to talk through the GAD Factor Review Paper.

Mr Selby explained that the factors to be reviewed are the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) factors, Commutation factors, early retirement factors, and Lifetime Allowance and Annual Allowance tax charge factors.  He advised that the responsibility for setting the Commutation factors lies with the Actuary, however for the CETV, early retirement factors, and tax charge factors, the responsibility for determining the assumptions lies with the Trustees on advice from the Actuary.

CETV Factors

Mr Selby asked the Trustees to consider recommendations around the discount rate and unisex factors, as outlined in the paper.

The meeting was suspended at 10:45am due to a fire drill.

The meeting resumed at 11:00am.

The Trustees discussed the recommendations and agreed to use a discount rate of 2.5% (net of CPI), rather than the previous rate of 3.5% (net of CPI).  This is the discount rate adopted for the 2017 valuation of the Scheme.

It was also agreed to move to using unisex factors for transfer values instead of retaining different factors for males and females.

Commutation Factors

Mr Selby talked through this section of the paper.  He reminded the Trustees that the responsibility for setting the Commutation factors lies with the Actuary.  The Trustees were content with the proposals made.

Early Retirement Factors

Mr Selby discussed this section of his paper with the Trustees, which recommended using the same financial and demographic assumptions that were adopted for the 2017 valuation.  This was agreed by the Trustees.

Lifetime Allowance and Annual Allowance Tax Charge Factors

Mr Selby discussed this section of his paper with the Trustees and it was agreed that any cases arising would be discussed on a case by case basis.

Action required:

  • Revised factors to be issued for use in the Scheme (GAD).


The Trustees considered the GAD quarterly summary for Q4 (the period ending 31 December 2017).


M&G Prudential Demerger

The Chairperson advised that Alec Spooner would be invited to attend the next meeting for a general update on the Fund’s performance, and to provide any further information about any impact of the demerger.

Action required:

  • Mr Spooner to be invited to attend next meeting (Pensions Team).

Deloitte Pension Quotation with AVC Option

The Chairperson explained that following the recent internal dispute it was agreed that this letter would be reviewed to ensure that Members’ options were clear.  The Trustees considered the revised letter and suggested that the wording at Point 3 should be more emphatic about advising people to seek financial advice.  Mr Wells also suggested that any Members that have AVCs should be contacted separately to make them aware of their options.

Action required:

  • The wording of the Deloitte Pension Quotation letter should be amended at Point 3 to strongly suggest the Member takes independent financial advice (Deloitte).
  • Pensions Team to revise procedures to include contacting Members with AVCs approaching retirement age to explain options (Pensions Team).


There was no other business.


GDPR Meeting to be arranged for Tuesday 8 May 2018 @ 9:30am

Regular Meeting to be arranged for Monday 18 June 2018 @ 9:30am

The Chairperson thanked everyone for attending the meeting today.

The Trustee meeting ended at 11:35am

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