Latest articles from Sarah Cowburn

Shropshire profits from infra but schemes struggle to fill targets

Shropshire County Pension Fund’s infrastructure investment gained 40 per cent during 2014/15, but entry into the asset class remains a challenge for some UK pension funds.

Tough timescales for asset pooling put LGPS on the spot

The government’s much-anticipated criteria for the reform of Local Government Pension Scheme investment contains few surprises, but industry experts have raised concerns over the tight timescales for funds to prepare and implement complex proposals.

Auto-enrolment pause button 'unhelpful' for momentum

An "emergency pause" could be triggered if auto-enrolment frameworks become overwhelmed by surging demand, but industry commentators say the government’s contingency plan “damages the momentum” behind the rollout of the initiative.

How consumer behaviour is changing schemes’ property portfolios


News Analysis: The evolving habits of UK consumers have compressed yields across the retail property sector over recent years, but experts say there are still attractive opportunities for pension fund investors searching for returns.


Smiths uses escrow to help slash £250m from scheme deficit

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Technology and engineering conglomerate Smiths Group has signed over its £153m escrow account to its scheme in a deal that demonstrates the positive outcomes that can be achieved through strong trustee and employer collaboration.


Trustees and IGCs gifted with new tools to aid DC reporting

Trustees and committees overseeing defined contribution arrangements have been thrown a line with new reporting templates to help them meet their governance obligations, but some argue a comparative framework could further strengthen the assessment of value in DC.

Methodist Church seeks £25m saving by converting to CPI

The Methodist Church Council is consulting with all scheme members, including existing pensioners, on a proposal to link future pension increases to the consumer price index in an bid to temper the rising cost of defined benefit provision.

Sainsbury's and ITV get creative to tackle deficit challenge

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Broadcaster ITV and retailer Sainsbury’s are just two FTSE 100 heavyweights to announce “chunky” new deficit funding to weather the harsh conditions buffeting defined benefit pension schemes.

FTLive: Political will and risk to shape future of infra investing

FT European Infrastructure: Political will and risk mitigation will play a crucial role in shaping the future of infrastructure investment, as the asset class grows in importance for defined benefit portfolios.

MNRPF takes proactive step to monitor its fiduciary manager

Merchant ship

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund has created a three-person oversight committee to monitor the performance of its newly appointed fiduciary manager, an area of scheme investment that is notoriously difficult to benchmark.