Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Simon Lewis, Committee Officer 

No. Item

Available papers

The Members had before them:


A.    The Agenda papers (previously circulated);


B.     The Agenda papers and Minutes of the Pensions Committee on 1 December 2017 (previously circulated); and


C.   The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2017 (previously circulated)


Apologies (Agenda item 1)


An apology was received from Mr R W Banks, Chairman of the Pensions Committee.


Declaration of Interest (Agenda item 2)


Mr K Bray declared general interests in his role as the Forum Officer of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) - the Worcestershire Fund is a long-standing Forum member and in relation to work he undertook with a firm of US lawyers who were involved with Shareholder Litigation and had the County Council as one of its clients.


Confirmation of Minutes - 15 November 2017 (Agenda item 3)

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2017. (previously circulated)


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Update on financial management arrangements (Agenda item 4)

To receive a verbal update on the financial management arrangements.


Sue Alexander, the interim Chief Financial Officer provided a brief update on the financial management arrangements. She informed the Board that two key individuals had left the Council, Sean Pearce, the Chief Financial Officer and Mark Forrester, Principal Accountant – Pensions Fund. Both positions were being filled. The final interviews for the new Chief Financial Officer were taking place on 2 February 2018, with Rob Wilson being appointed to replace Mark Forrester from 1 March 2018. In the interim additional strategic support had been provided by Andrew Lovegrove and Philip Hebson. In order to build in some resilience for the future, a fellow officer would shadow Rob Wilson.



Pensions Committee - 1 December 2017 (Agenda item 5)

Administering Authority Administration update – for review by the Board

Pension Investment update – for review by the Board

LGPS Central update – for review by the Board

Equity Protection Strategy – for review by the Board

Alternatives Investment – for review by the Board


The Agenda papers and Minutes have previously been sent to you. Please bring your copy with you to the meeting.



The Board received the Agenda papers and Minutes of the Pensions Committee meeting held on 1 December 2017. Members received a brief summary and commentary on the various items considered by the Pensions Committee.


Administering Authority – Administration Update

·         Bridget Clark explained that the Administering Authority was in the process of going out to tender through the National Framework Agenda to appoint an organisation to undertake the GMP Reconciliation exercise with a view to starting the exercise in February 2018

·         In response to a query, Bridget Clark explained that the minimum number of potential tenders that could be considered was 3 and the maximum was 9. It was expected that the successful bidder would commence work immediately

·         Bridget Clark indicated that she would invite Board members to the next Administration Forum meeting. Every effort was made to encourage employers to attend these meetings

·         Bridget Clark commented that Barnet Pension Fund had become the first Fund in the country to be issued with a fine by the Pension Regulator for failing to issue a formal notice. Philip Hebson added that unlike the governance arrangements for Barnet Pension Fund, this Board effectively oversaw the work of the Pension Committee

·         In response to a query about staffing levels, Bridget Clark acknowledged that a vacancy existed in her team and efforts were being made to fill that post as quickly as possible

·         The Chairman emphasised the important role that the Board had in holding the Pensions Committee to account. Councils were facing considerable financial pressures and the Board had a role in ensuring that those pressures did not impact on the Pension Fund

·         Concern was expressed that the pooling arrangements were taking place part way through the actuarial cycle. Would it be prudent to bring forward the actuarial valuation accordingly? Philip Hebson advised that the date of the Actuarial Valuation could not be moved however he considered that as part of the equity protection process, conversations were being held with the actuary on a regular basis. The Chairman advised that it was possible to have interim actuarial valuations

·         Andrew Lovegrove commented that the Board should be aware that although overall investment performance was very good and it was beneficial to have arrangements in place to protect those gains, not every employer within the Fund was fully funded and some would be in deficit. It was therefore important to keep employers informed and to manage perception. The Chairman suggested that a question be posed to the Pensions Committee to consider whether to have an interim valuation. Philip Hebson advised that the Central Pool would take over responsibility for the management of assets however responsibility for the liability rested with the funds through the Strategic Asset Allocation Strategy. Therefore the Central Pool would have to act at the Pension Fund's behest. The Chairman added that a lot of time, effort and money had been spent on the pooling arrangements and there was a danger that the Pension Fund became the poor relation despite the Strategy rather  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.


MiFID II (Agenda item 6)

To receive a verbal update.


The Committee received an update on MiFID II from Sue Alexander the Interim Chief Financial Officer. She informed members that all fund managers had been consulted and the MiFID II application form had been completed. The application would need to be updated to reflect changes to officer posts within the organisation and would be reviewed on an annual basis.


Skills questionnaires update (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 387 KB

For review/action by the Board.


The Board received the feedback on the skills and knowledge self-assessment questionnaires.


In the ensuing debate the Chairman indicated that as the Board met only four times a year, it was unrealistic to expect members to become experts in the different aspects of the Pension Fund. It was therefore important for the Board to be able to access expert opinion. Any members of the Board wishing to receive training on any aspect of the Pension Fund should notify officers. He encouraged members to attend the CIPFA National Event and officers would notify them of the date.


The Board noted the feedback on the skills and knowledge self-assessment questionnaires.   


Pension Board Work Plan (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 27 KB

For review/action by the Board.


The Board considered its work plan.


In the ensuing debate, the following principal points were raised:


·         Were officers confident that all employee contributions to open and closed schemes would be underwritten by the local authority should a particular scheme go into liquidation? Bridget Clark advised that within the Fund there were a number of very old undertakings and therefore a review of the status of these schemes would need to be undertaken, supported by the Actuary, to understand the risks and the options available to employers in such circumstances. Keith Bray added that employee's pensions would be guaranteed and this issue would be a matter between the employer and local authority. Andrew Lovegrove added that the risks associated with employers with no guarantee was a major challenge for the Fund, employers and the Actuary. Bridget Clark indicated that it was vital that employers were fully aware of the long term consequences.


The Board noted its work plan.


Any Other Business (Agenda item 9)


The Chairman of the Board commended Sue Alexander, the Interim Chief Financial Officer for her work in relation to the Pension Fund.