Client feedback

Kathy, may l take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance. There were many times l thought l was losing my mind during my efforts with Aviva. You were a pillar of support for me and you saw my case through to the very end. I cannot thank you enough but thank you again. It is through people like you who strive for professional fairness as well as thoroughness, HCA has such a good reputation.
Ethel Chimutwe,
HCA International Ltd Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme
Very happy with PSGS as an organisation and that opinion is derived from the performance of those that represent them.
Sean Hoyle,
Alex has helped in our dealings with other advisers using his experience of other schemes.
Angela Clayton ,
Accent Group
Fiona brings perspective from other schemes and therefore a wider knowledge.
The Trustee training was very interactive and the presenters were engaging - thank you.
Nick Marsh,
Comet Pension Scheme
Gillian goes above and beyond, she is very responsive to the whole team and delivers outstanding work.
Wendy Stansfield,
Vector Aerospace

5 key pensions issues for 2022

We asked four different people from PSGS what their key issues for pensions in 2022 are, what they’re focusing on with their clients and about their personal objectives for the year. Here’s what they had to say.

What are the key issues for pensions in 2022?
    1) GMP equalisation

    GMP equalisation is a big topic in agendas and something all contracted out defined benefit/final salary (DB) schemes will have to address. We are progressing multiple projects across our schemes with several already going through the wind up and buy out process. We choose the approach that is best for each client, having consulted with the company and taken advice. From experience, we know these are complex projects - often involving significant data work and needing careful communication with members - and managing them efficiently to keep then on track and in budget will be a big part of our work this year.

    2) ESG & climate change

    ESG is an increasing concern and we are all focusing on it together. We think it needs to be clearer to pension trustees that E, S and G are all interrelated and carry equal importance. Our professional trustees are taking ESG into account in investment decisions by reviewing default investment strategies, member fund options and fund performance, establishing an ESG stewardship policy and monitoring compliance. However, there is more work to do for DB schemes, in terms of available funds and reporting to determine which funds are performing well. It is an evolving topic with many different strands and we expect a pension trustee’s ESG workload to increase this year.

    3) Single code of governance

    When The Pensions Regulator (TPR) issued its consultation on a new single code of governance, our task group responded to the consultation document then created briefings and tools for clients, highlighting the key issues to consider and providing advance warning of actions likely to be needed. PSGS will be focusing on how the new single code is going to impact day-to-day work for our pension trustees and scheme secretaries, developing tools and processes to create a future proofed effective system of governance for our schemes. From a data perspective, the pensions dashboard is a key component of the single code. Some schemes will be further along the data cleansing road than others but we will be expecting more legislation around this later in the year.

    4) Long-term funding objective

    TPR expects pension trustees to set a long-term funding target with a journey plan of how to achieve it. Schemes should also set an investment strategy consistent with the long-term funding target and plan how to get there. Our professional trustees are discussing with clients the long term plan for the scheme and looking at self-sufficiency, buy in and buy out targets – and are considering such things as pension increases exercises, flexible retirement options exercises and investment asset de-risking.

    5) Triennial actuarial valuation

    We’ve completed hundreds of valuations for our schemes and each is different. Some are straightforward and others very challenging. The key is to recognise the requirements and obligations of both parties and how they overlap with the scheme’s long-term covenant, the employer’s ability to pay contributions and the investment strategy as part of an integrated risk management approach.

    What are you focusing on with your clients?

    We have a robust program in place to prepare clients for impending regulatory requirements. We receive 50-60 regular and varied briefings each year from professional advisers regarding future trends and developments, which are built into our clients’ individual business plans. As well as the key issues for 2022, other topics range from employer covenants impacted by the pandemic, longevity, DB end game planning, governance and value for DC members to consolidation, rectification and investment management.

    What are your personal objectives for the year?
    • To reconnect - after two years of working from home, Claire Teagle is looking forward to having face-to-face meetings and engagement with colleagues and clients again.
    • To develop trainee roles – Siphiwe Moyo and Tom Corten want to take on more responsibility and larger speaking roles at meetings, use technology to write their meeting minutes faster and get more involved in project work to gain more experience.
    • To expand pensions knowledge – Siphiwe and Tom are taking their second Pensions Management Institute exams in April and the third in October.
    • To maximise the use of tools and technology – Simon Lewis is piloting PSGS’ IT technology to manage meetings, capture decisions and evidence the correct due processes for the single code internally and externally with clients.
    • To eliminate unconscious bias – our diversity & inclusion (D&I) working group will review the PSGS D&I policy, share more articles about different cultures, heritages and topics, raise discussions about women in pensions - particularly young women getting into senior positions - have online non-bias and D&I training and continue to develop tools and training to help pension trustees understand what D&I means for their board, schemes and members.

    We’ll continue sharing knowledge, insights and client experience with you on our website to bring you the latest ideas and solutions.

    Watch the full video discussion on the key pensions issues below:



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