Clifford Sims

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Getting to Net Zero: Lessons from Butler-Sloss v the Charity Commissioners & the Attorney General for Pension Schemes

Once in a while trustees get frustrated with what the law appears to tell them is their fiduciary duty. If they can afford it, trustees can resolve such ambiguities or uncertainty by getting a ruling from the courts as to how to interpret their duties. This is what two sets of charitable trustees recently did … Continue Reading

It’s Not All About Climate Change!

It’s Not All About Climate Change! On 1 October 2021, new regulations came into force requiring larger pension schemes (starting with occupational schemes that have £5 billion or more of assets, plus authorised master trusts) to put in place appropriate governance, reporting and publication arrangements in connection with climate-related risks and opportunities. It is unusual … Continue Reading

We’re Invested in What?

If you are a trustee, have you ever had one of those letters or emails questioning your investment strategy? I don’t mean questions about de-risking triggers, the security of counterparties or even strategic asset allocation queries, which are the stuff of trustee meetings. The type of enquiry I am referring to is the persistent member … Continue Reading

Don’t Delay, Process that Pension Transfer Today!

Our heading shows the stark warning to pension scheme administrators following the recent determination by The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) in the complaint brought by Mr John Tenconi (Mr T) against the James Hay Partnership (James Hay). TPO upheld the complaint due to James Hay’s unreasonable delays and ordered that James Hay pay £43,700 (plus interest) into … Continue Reading

COVID 19: Emerging Investment Risks for Pension Schemes

Daily policy initiatives by governments across the world who are desperate to avoid the worst ravages of an economic recession are fuelling a lot of the volatility in public markets with which investors are now sadly familiar. However, many pension funds have significant private market exposures through alternative investments. Those holdings are not immune to … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Pensions Business Planning

Whether you are more in the Mary Poppins or Corporal Jones camp when it comes to dealing with unexpected emergencies like the Coronavirus outbreak, the choice between taking minimal precautions for continuing business operations as normal and panicking is not very palatable. Pension fund operations are highly complex and, just like their counterparts in the … Continue Reading

Should Veganism Feature on the Pensions Menu?

The recent Employment Tribunal case of Mr Jordi Casamitjana, which caused quite a stir in the media, focused on the Tribunal’s decision that ethical veganism was eligible to qualify as a “protected characteristic” under the Equalities Act 2010. In that case, Mr Casamitjana was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct by his employer, the … Continue Reading

TPR set to get new powers

The DWP is consulting on new powers for The Pensions Regulator (TPR). The consultation covers: Notifiable events framework Declaration of intent (new) Voluntary clearance Engagement with other regulators Fines Contribution notices and financial support directions Of particular note are the new civil and criminal sanctions. The DWP is proposing that TPR should be able to … Continue Reading

It’s the summer holidays: delays on the roads, delays at the airport, delays on public transport (no change there, then!) and delays on pension transfers

Are pension transfer delays (and complaints about them) here to stay? In its 2016/17 annual report, the Pensions Ombudsman (PO) noted that there had been an increase in the number of complaints about pension transfers. In fact, complaints about transfers were the second most popular form of complaint, making up 10.5% of all new investigations … Continue Reading

FCA Asset Management Market Study

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its final Report on its asset management market study yesterday. Key findings include: Asset management – the report finds evidence of weak price competition and recommends a number of remedial strategies, including improved transparency and an extension of the senior managers’ regime. However, the FCA has rejected the idea of … Continue Reading

UK local government pension scheme – end of an era

The UK government has announced today probably the longest awaited policy change in the LGPS investment world, with a proposal to remove the limits on asset allocation that have been in place since the 1980s.  The consultation proposes moving to a prudential supervisory regime of the kind which has operated well in the private sector, as … Continue Reading

EU banking directive overrides contractual rights of pension fund trustees

UK pension fund trustees with liability driven investment strategies may be alarmed to learn that a new banking directive will give supervisory authorities powers to suspend their contractual rights against counterparty banks. We examine in an alert the issues and actions that trustees need to take now to manage this new regulatory development.… Continue Reading
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