Latest articles from Benjamin Mercer

Brunel achieves carbon intensity reduction target

Brunel Pension Partnership has achieved its target of reducing the carbon intensity of its active portfolio by 7 per cent a year in time for the UN’s World Environment Day, but smaller schemes saddled with pooled products may lack the clout required to emulate them.

Nissan proposes DB scheme closure as sponsor pressure mounts

Nissan Sunderland

Workers at Nissan’s manufacturing plant in Sunderland could be facing a cut to their benefits, with the carmaker proposing to close its defined benefit scheme, while experts said the Covid-19 pandemic could push more sponsors to follow suit.

Suffolk holds firm through equity volatility storm

Suffolk Pension Fund has reported a bounceback in its asset values after taking a £327m hit in the first quarter of the year, as experts said it is still legitimate for immature defined benefit schemes to lean on the equity risk premium.

USS divests from coal, tobacco and weapons manufacturers

Coal power station (teaser)

The UK’s largest pension scheme has announced it is to divest from selected coal, tobacco and weapons manufacturers, following years of campaigning by members and activist groups.

Small scheme bulk annuity deals set for surge in demand

News On the Go

On the go: The number of small scheme buy-ins and buyouts could increase by 25 per cent in 2020, according to research from LCP.

LGPS has £2bn invested in alleged ‘illegal Israeli settlement’ companies

Thirty-three Local Government Pension Scheme funds retain investments worth more than £2bn in arms manufacturers and in companies accused of supporting illegal Israeli settlements, as some of these schemes opt for engagement instead of divestment.

Regulator to issue new guidance on capital-backed endgame deals

The Pensions Regulator is to issue new guidance on defined benefit employers seeking to use third-party investors to back the cost of buyout, following the completion of a first-of-a-kind deal without the need for regulatory clearance last week.

High Court delivers another CPI setback

Employers seeking to switch their defined benefit pension schemes from the retail price index to the consumer price index have been dealt another blow, as the High Court yet again refused to establish a precedent.

The days of ‘amateurish’ trusteeship are over

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Podcast: The challenges posed by Covid-19 will accelerate the move towards professional trusteeship, according to Mercer’s chief actuary Charles Cowling, who argues that the responsibilities in this area post-coronavirus will be too much for lay trustees to handle alone. He and Catherine McFadyen, head of public sector actuarial, benefits and governance at Hymans Robertson, discuss LGPS funding, the impact of mortality rates, and give their predictions about the post-crisis world.

British Airways resumes pension transfer activities

British Airways (teaser)

British Airways is to resume its pension transfer activities following a short suspension due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, Pensions Expert can reveal.