Latest articles from Emma Powell

Plumbing scheme offers lower contribution rate to tempt employers

The Plumbing and Mechanical Services Industry Pension Scheme will offer a lower contribution scale to new employers joining the career average scheme, to help it compete with defined contribution arrangements.

Annuity brokering grows as managers seek value for savers

News analysis: Nearly half of schemes have or are planning to put in place annuity brokering services for their members, but experts warn this may not be enough to achieve value at retirement.

Compliance concerns prompt employers to rethink AE providers

News analysis: Some large employers are considering switching their auto-enrolment provider as their administration needs are not being met, fanning a growing secondary market.

Only seven in 10 DC members use the default

Data analysis: Fewer defined contribution members than expected are invested in default funds, new figures have shown, but experts anticipate this to increase as auto-enrolment continues to roll out.

United Utilities ups interest rate hedge after hitting trigger

United Utilities has increased interest rate hedging in its defined benefit schemes in order to reduce risk, working towards its target of full protection against interest and inflation rate fluctuations.

Schemes called upon to boost comms as tax deadline approaches

Schemes should communicate changes to the annual and lifetime allowance to both active and deferred members to ensure savers do not lose their fixed or individual protection, industry experts have said.

Employers open to risk of reporting errors on contingent assets

News analysis: Employers have been told to approach the use of certain contingent asset funding deals with caution, after the Financial Reporting Council said solvency improvements could be cause for investigation.

Montage slide

There has been growing interest in Scottish limited partnerships from employers as a tax-effective way of reducing long-term risk within their scheme.

Barriers to setting up SLPs 

  • The vehicle may not be as tax-efficient as first thought;
  • The potential cost around setting one up;
  • Disagreements between the company and trustees – the latter may prefer an alternative method of lowering liabilities.

When an SLP is established, assets owned by the employer are transferred to the vehicle, which the scheme has an interest in. This asset generates an income that is then available to the scheme.

But the FRC has expressed concern that some of these structures are set up to transform a company’s recovery payments into an equity instrument that artificially inflates solvency.

LPFA eyes increase to illiquid assets

Susan Martin, LPFA

Video: London Pensions Fund Authority's Susan Martin explains its plans to collaborate with other organisations and schemes to up its allocation to infrastructure and private equity, in this edition of Policymakers and Decision-makers (5:08).

How to ensure your members get the best value at retirement

Annuity value

The annuities industry has come under increasing fire from all corners of the industry – but there are concrete steps that pension professionals can take to help members get value at retirement.

Scheme ETF usage picks up but obstacles remain

News analysis: More schemes are using exchange traded funds as part of a tactical investment strategy, industry members have observed, but there are still barriers in cost and governance.