“We now have a very collaborative approach between trustees and employer.”
“Many organisations and people provide the services that clients need. In my opinion, the differentiator is in the way those services are provided and to that extent, Kathy embodies the qualities that I have come to value from PSITL. Kathy is organised but not fussy; diligent but not dogmatic; persistent without being pushy and compliant in a pragmatic way. Whilst she takes ownership and drives issues forward, Kathy is a team player who uses her and her colleagues experience to provide services to her trustee client whilst working closely with those like me representing the sponsoring employer. She works collaboratively with advisers but constructively challenges the scope of services, fees and service standards whenever necessary and makes sure that member needs are always taken into account. I enjoy working with her and trust that she will deliver what is required by the trustee and the members they represent in a manner satisfactory to the sponsoring employer. ”
“So much more proactive than the previous company. On the ball - thinking in advance of things needing doing - very proactive.”
“Ann and her team are very knowledgeable and proactive, liaise well with our other advisers and provide the Trustees with an invaluable secretarial service.”
“PSGS were overall more professional than others.”
“It’s a pleasure working with key members of the PSGS team: their experience and leadership means that they know how to get the job done, working in partnership with fellow trustees, employers and advisers to achieve the best result for members.”
I’m privileged to act as both an independent trustee and a professional scheme secretary. Although the roles are quite different, I find each brings benefit to the other – and never more so than when it comes to managing pension scheme advisers and their costs.
Keep advisers on their toes
For one scheme where I’m trustee secretary, the actuary advised the cost of producing a section 179 valuation (to check the potential reduction in the scheme’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levy) was £2,000. If that proved beneficial, the cost to produce the s179 certificate would be another £2,000.
I pointed out on all my other schemes the actuary gives a good indication as to whether submitting a section 179 certificate would be beneficial and makes no charge for this. The pension trustees then pay for the certificate if required. The actuary agreed, so I saved this client the ‘initial’ £2,000 and halved the cost.
Check SIP costs carefully
To help the pension trustees action the upcoming changes required for a scheme’s Statement of Investment Principles (SIP), another client’s investment adviser included the following tasks and costs in their proposal:
I took on (as scheme secretary) a £280m defined benefit (DB) pension scheme in September. Initially the Chair thought fortnightly calls would be the way forward, but we quickly swapped to weekly. Recently, during a particularly tricky valuation process, it became almost every other day. The Chair has appreciated speaking to me as a sounding board independent of the advisers and I’ve been able to share my experience of dealing with The Pensions Regulator about valuations on other schemes where I’m a pension trustee.
As a paid professional, I’m always mindful of the need to deliver value for my clients. I can do that, in part, by managing scheme advisers, scoping their work correctly and knowing from experience when fees look high; but we need to deliver value too. Sharing experience is a key way of doing this.
In this case study, the trustees decided not to obtain an independent covenant review, but...
A good place to start is requesting a copy of our D&I guide for pension trustees and pension...