News in brief - 5 March 2021

Punter Southall Aspire has confirmed it is working with more than 30 private schools to manage higher pension contributions

The firm said growing demand for its help had come as the schools face the economic impact of Covid-19, which had forced some schools to offer fee refunds or reductions due to lockdown restrictions. Rising levels of contributions to the Teachers’ Pension scheme (TPS) could add to this, with the firm noting that some experts have predicted contributions could rise from 23.68 per cent to 30 per cent, with some suggesting that negative interest rates could take them as high as 35 per cent. Punter Southall Aspire CEO, Steve Butler, commented: “The unwelcome reality is that the changing pension landscape gives independent schools little independence when it comes to managing the costs of their scheme and the retirement plans of their staff. Many are now seeking guidance on how best to proceed in relation to pension provision.”

Hymans Robertson has launched a free interactive online defined benefit (DB) wind up readiness tool

The tool is available to any trustee and is intended to help them understand their current position along the journey to wind up and to give some practical guidance on next steps, tailored to each scheme’s individual circumstances. Hymans stated that its research had found that more than eight out of 10 (85 per cent) pension scheme trustees anticipated that wind up projects would be challenging even before they started, while 50 per cent of scheme trustees surveyed cited key aspects of the project as being particularly difficult. Hymans head of scheme wind ups, Christine Cumming, said: “If schemes do not plan ahead, they risk storing up significant problems for further down the road. Understanding the readiness of a scheme for wind up is a crucial first step to reaching the ultimate goal - there are many areas which will need to be considered including assets, data cleansing and importantly the cost of buyout.”

CACEIS has been chosen to join the new National Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Framework for Global Custody Services

CACEIS is one of five custody providers that have been chosen for the role. The company said its Centre of Excellence for Pensions, which is home to over 110 professionals, offered the LGPS with an opportunity to partner with a specialist organisation which could deliver a unique oversight and governance solution for all assets held, regardless of size. A statement from the company added that it could also provide assistance by examining data on all reporting solutions, including fund accounting & environmental, social and governance monitoring, to ensure complete transparency when investing in unitised funds. CACEIS head of UK, Pat Sharman, commented: “This is the first time CACEIS has joined the LGPS Framework and we look forward to working in collaboration and partnership with the National LGPS Framework, sharing best practice along with our innovative tech- based solutions that will help the LGPS deal with the regulatory, economic and environmental pressures facing them today.”

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