Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual - MS Teams

Contact: Megan Tuckwell  Email: democratic.services@iow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

19.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2020, and to consider any matters arising from those minutes.

Minutes:

Members confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2020 as a true record and consideration was given to any matters arising since the last meeting. The Technical Finance Manager clarified that a lot of work was being done around employer liaison, the investment strategy, developing job descriptions and addressing resourcing issues.

 

Discussion took place with regards to increasing Board membership and the appointment of an additional employee representative. It was confirmed that as unions already nominate two of the scheme member representatives, the other post would be open to all staff members,  and this appointment would not be exclusive to officers.

 

Clarification was requested with regards to the external audit; whether this was exclusively in relation to finance or whether any broader audits of the fund would take place. Information was provided with regards to the internal audit arrangements and the further audit work that could be commissioned from the internal audit service or advisers.

 

Discussion took place regarding Hymans being contacted to facilitate future development sessions. It was confirmed that other providers could be approached in order to gain different perspectives, but Hymans were initially chosen as they are contracted to provide governance support.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the Minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2020 be confirmed.

20.

Declarations of Interest

To invite Members to declare any interest they might have in the matters on the agenda.

Minutes:

No declarations were received at this stage.

21.

Reports from the Pension Fund Committee pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 28 October 2020, and to receive verbal feedback from the meeting held on 25 November 2020.

Minutes:

The Board received the minutes of the meeting held on 28 October 2020, and no comments were made at this stage. The Technical Finance Manager provided verbal feedback from the meeting held on 25 November 2020 and highlighted the following key points:

 

·       The Funds’ Annual Report and Accounts had been signed off by the external auditors and was published on the Fund’s website in advance of the statutory deadline.

 

·       The Director of Finance and Section 151 Officer was in attendance to provide an update in respect of activities to improve the fund’s level of compliance with standards of governance and administration. Additional resource would be allocated to support governance matters and plans were in place for the Technical Finance Manager’s role to become focused solely on pension matters.

 

·       The committee agreed the selection of the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division Broad Street Local Partners IV fund for the delivery of the fund’s private debt allocation.  Subsequent to this, an infrastructure manager selection day took place on 4 December 2020 where a decision was reached, which would be formally presented to and ratified by the committee at its meeting on 27 January 2021. Board members were reassured that the selection determinations had been in accordance with due process.

 

·       The committee adopted an amended equity investment strategy in order to provide a more optimal blend of equity exposure across a number of factors and as a first step in implementing the Committee’s environmental and social governance and responsible investment beliefs. The strategic changes included reduced exposure to UK equities and a split in passive and active global equities.

 

·       The committee received an update on recent legislative changes in respect of restricting local government exit payments and agreed to follow the Scheme Advisory Board’s guidance to take the ‘least worse’ option; to offer impacted members the opportunity to take a deferred benefit (or a fully actuarially reduced pension) and recommended that scheme employers delay the payment of a cash alternative.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the updates following the meetings of the Isle of Wight Pension Fund Committee held on 28 October 2020 and 25 November 2020 was noted.

22.

Membership Numbers at 31 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To receive information from the Pensions Manager on scheme membership as at 31 October 2020.

Minutes:

The Board received information from the Pensions Manager on scheme membership as at 31 October 2020. Discussion took place regarding seasonal trends and active members, and the increase in pensioners and deferred members between March and October 2020 was noted. Board members requested historical figures from the previous three years in order to gain a greater understanding of trends. It was agreed a summary would be provided.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i.               THAT the information on scheme membership at 31 October 2020 was noted.

 

ii.              THAT Board members be provided with membership numbers from the previous three years.

23.

I-Connect Project Update pdf icon PDF 458 KB

To receive an update from the Pensions Manager on the implementation of the i-connect solution for electronic submission of monthly membership data from employers.

Minutes:

The Pensions Manager provided an update on the implementation of the I-Connect solution for electronic submission of monthly membership data from employers. It was anticipated that the project would be completed by April 2021, dependent on employer engagement in light of the pandemic. All employers had been engaged with and 22 were live on the system. Once the Isle of Wight College and the school payroll provider Strictly Education were on the system, 95% of membership would be processed through I-Connect.

 

Questions were raised regarding historical issues around cheque payments and the associated non-compliance with end of month reporting and payment deadlines. It was confirmed that this employer was now submitting data through I-Connect and was no longer making cheque payments.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the update on the implementation of the I-Connect project was noted.

24.

The Pensions Regulator's Scheme Return 2020 pdf icon PDF 757 KB

To note the progress towards the submission of the annual scheme return to the Pensions Regulator.

Minutes:

Members were asked to note the progress towards the submission of the annual scheme return to the Pensions Regulator. The Technical Finance Manager welcomed any thoughts or comments prior to the submission deadline on 15 December 2020. Questions were raised regarding benchmarking, and dormant employers. It was highlighted that that the Isle of Wight College’s organisation type was listed as ‘other’ whereas other similar organisations had been categorised as ‘College or education institution’. The Technical Finance Manager agreed to update this before submission.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)               THAT the progress towards the submission of the annual scheme return to the Pensions Regulator was noted.

 

ii)              THAT the Technical Finance Manager amend Page 10 of the return, to update the Isle of Wight College’s organisation type from ‘other’ to ‘College or education institution’.

25.

Standing Items:

26.

KPI's pdf icon PDF 526 KB

To note the administration statistics for the year 2020-21 to date (31 October 2020).

Minutes:

The Board received the administration statistics for the year 2020-21 to date (31 October 2020). Members noted that there was an up-spike in deaths in July 2020 which may have been due to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lag between the administration team processing deaths and receiving the information required. It was advised that progress with the Workflow project was underway with an expectation to be fully integrated by April 2021. Once completed KPI reporting to the board would be improved.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the administration statistics to date 31 October 2020 was noted.

27.

Employer Compliance with Administration Strategy pdf icon PDF 421 KB

To receive information on employer compliance with end of month reporting and payment deadlines for the year 2020-21 to date (31 October 2020).

Minutes:

The Board received information on employer compliance with end of month reporting and payment deadlines for the year 2020-21 to date (31 October 2020). It was reported that despite the current circumstances, there were very low levels of non-compliance. This was attributed to the overall increase in employer engagement through the implementation of the I-Connect project and the efforts of the Employer Liaison and Data Quality Officer.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the information on employer compliance with the administration strategy was noted.

28.

Breaches Log and Complaints pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To note complaints recorded and potential breaches of the law identified since the last meeting.

Minutes:

The Pensions Manager provided an update on complaints recorded and potential breaches of the law identified since the last meeting.

 

It was advised that a breach had emerged as a result of the extensive data quality improvement work, where a 2017 transfer had been processed incorrectly and had resulted in the over-inflation of the benefits detailed in the scheme member’s annual benefit statement. This had been rectified and the scheme member had been contacted.

 

Additionally, a formal complaint had been received with regards to a member’s annual benefit statement. Contact has been made with the complainant and their issues had been partially resolved (as further information was required from the employer). The complainant was aware of this and was satisfied with the service provided by the admin team.  

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the update on complaints and breaches was noted.

29.

Workplan

To discuss the work programme for forthcoming meetings of the Pension Fund Committee and Pension Board.

 

Minutes:

Discussion took place regarding the work programme for forthcoming meetings of the board. The Technical Finance Manager advised that the previous annual workplan would be reviewed, to include outstanding items from previous meetings, policies which may be due for a review, and current legislative changes. A wider workplan would also be developed to include the whole committee and board cycle, in light of council elections in May 2021 and the potential need for member induction.

 

The agenda for the next meeting, due to be held on 24 March 2021, would include updates on the breaches policy, resources, and board membership. As requested by the board, the Director of Finance and Section 151 Officer would be invited. Board members felt that this was too long to wait to meet with the Director of Finance and therefore agreed to seek a meeting with him outside of the formal board meeting cycle.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)               THAT the update on the work programme for forthcoming meetings was noted.

 

ii)              THAT Board members meet with the Director of Finance before the next meeting due to be held on 24 March 2021.

 

30.

Items circulated for Members Attention

To note items circulated to board members since the last meeting (23 September 2020), for information:

 

a)    Sent 25-Sep-20: Slides from Board development session on 23-Sep-20.

b)    Sent 25-Sep-20: ACCESS joint committee dates and request for volunteers.

c)     Sent 28-Sep-20: 2019-20 Knowledge and skills framework compliance statement

d)    Sent 01-Oct-20: Investment manager selection second day 4-Dec-20

e)    Sent 07-Oct-20: GCS 2019-20: Managing risks and internal controls

f)      Sent 08-Oct-20: GCS 2019-20: Reporting breaches

g)    Sent 08-Oct-20: GCS 2019-20: Internal dispute resolution procedure

h)    Sent 08-Oct-20: Hymans Robertson – Current issues in the LGPS October 2020

i)      Sent 08-Oct-20: GCS 2019-20: General requirements

j)      Sent 09-Oct-20: Clarification of governance requirements (response to item (e))

k)     Sent 12-Oct-20: LGPC Bulletin 202

l)      Sent 15-Oct-20: Exit cap regulations signed - £95k cap effective from 4-Nov-20

m)   Sent 26-Oct-20: Invitation to AON webinar on Cyber Risk in the LGPS

n)    Sent 28-Oct-20: Slides and recording from development session

o)    Sent 02-Nov-20: MHCLG letter to LA’s re implementation of £95k cap

p)    Sent 02-Nov-20: LGA draft response to MHCLG consultation on reforming LG exit pay

q)    Sent 02-Nov-20: Hymans Robertson Exit pay reform updates

r)      Sent 02-Nov-20: Change of start time for 25-Nov-20 committee meeting

s)     Sent 04-Nov-20: Invite to Hymans webinar – responsible investment in the LGPS

t)      Sent 04-Nov-20: deferral of 25 November post-committee workshop to 27-Jan-21

u)    Sent 05-Nov-20: November issue of The Edit

v)     Sent 09-Nov-20: ACCESS JC papers 12-Nov-2020

w)    Sent 10-Nov-20: LGA Exit cap info for employers and administering authorities

x)     Sent 11-Nov-20: LGPC Bulletin 203

y)     Sent 11-Nov-20: Keeping the LGPS Connected 19-Nov-20 invitation

z)     Sent 12-Nov-20: Invitation ACCESS virtual investor day 17-Dec-20

aa) Sent 18-Nov-20: Hymans Robertson Current issues in the LGPS (November)

Minutes:

Members noted the items circulated since the last meeting (23 September 2020) for information. It was noted that most work was around governance compliance activities and progress with current LGPS issues.

 

RESOLVED:

 

THAT the items circulated since the last meeting (23 September 2020) were noted.

31.

Other matters for the Board's attention

Members to raise any other matters.

Minutes:

No other matters were raised at this stage.