Agenda and minutes

Local Pension Board
Wednesday, 24th July, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool NP4 6YB

Contact: Geraint Thomas  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

1.

Attendance and apologies / Croeso ac ymddiheuriadau

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

1.1          There were no apologies for absence.

 

1.2       The Chair welcomed Andrea Jones and Jackie Davies, member representatives from Caerphilly CBC.

 

1.3       The HoP introduced Emily Barnett who was on a short term placement with the Council as part of her economics and finance studies at university.

2.

Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fuddiant

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

2.1       The CLO asked the Board Members to confirm their personal interests in the Greater Gwent Pension Fund.

 

Board Member

In Receipt of Pension

Contributor

Bob Campbell

Self

 

Rhian Hayden

Mother

Self and sister

Ian Reese

 

Self

Clive Rogers

 

Self

Jane Waters

Brother

Self

Anthea Wellington

Self and Husband

Daughter

Jon Wright

Self and Wife

Daughter

Steve Harford

Self

Sister

 

3.

Minutes 24/4/19 / Cofnodion 24/4/19 pdf icon PDF 444 KB

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

3.1       With reference to paragraph 5.9 which referred to the use of My Pension Online (MPO), it was suggested that more of a discussion took place than was recorded in the minutes.  The Chair explained that this matter was due to be considered later in the agenda.

 

3.2       It was agreed that the minutes were an accurate record of the meeting.

 

4.

Action Sheet / Taflen Weithredu pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Minutes:

4.1       The CLO referred to the first action and explained that the following recommendations were agreed by Pensions Committee on 10 June 2019:

 

(i)            When Pensions Committee Members attend Pension Board as observers, they are entitled by virtue of their Pensions Committee membership to remain for items which are exempt from publication.

(ii)           When Pension Board Members attend Pensions Committee as observers, they are entitled by virtue of their Pension Board membership to remain for items which are exempt from publication.

(iii)         Both these recommendations to be subject to:

a)            The ultimate discretion of the Chair of the meeting who would retain the right of exclusion where it was felt to be necessary/appropriate; and

b)            Recognition that the Standards of Conduct as set out in the Council’s Constitution and Pension Board Terms of Reference apply.

(iv)         The Pension Board review the new arrangements in 18 months, in order to ascertain whether the new arrangements are beneficial and should remain in place.

 

4.2       The Board commented that this was a positive move.  

 

4.3       The HoP apologised for the delay in responding to the second action and he hoped to be in a position to respond at a meeting in the near future.

 

4.4       With reference to the third action, Steve Harford clarified that his query related to comments that were made during a presentation at a CIPFA conference that he attended during January.  The HoP was unsure of the legislation that was being referred to and whether it applied to the Local Government Pension Scheme, however, he would research in more detail.

 

4.5       The Pension Board noted the Action Sheet.

 

5.

Pensions Committee 10/6/19 / Pwyllgor Pensiynau 10/6/19

Minutes:

5.1       The Pension Board considered the agenda papers for the Pensions Committee held on 10 June 2019:

 

5.2       Agenda Item 5 – Pension Fund Annual Report and Accounts 2018/19

            The HoP circulated a pocket guide to the annual report which was also available in Welsh and on the Council’s website.  He provided the following update:

·                     The accounts had been audited and the Auditor had given an unqualified report.  The accounts were being closed, however, they had not yet been signed off.

·                     The Supreme Court Judgement upholding the McCloud Case had resulted in a delay of the accounts being signed off.  This judgement related to age discriminatory protections given when the Judiciary Pension Scheme and the Firefighter Pension Scheme changed.  The Judgement would however affect all public sector pension schemes.  

·                     Discussions would need to take place between Actuaries and Auditors and cost implications would need to be established around the McCloud case. 

·                     The Pension Fund had achieved a surplus of approximately £15 million during the year.

·                     The overall value of the Fund had increased, rising from £2,790 million to £2,928 million.  The increase of just over 5% had been achieved even though October 2018 saw the largest drop in markets in a single month since the recession and there had been periods of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and during tensions between the United States and China with trade wars. 

·                     Membership of the Fund had topped 60,000 for first time with 40% being active members, 29% being pensioners and 31% being deferred members. Membership received a boost when auto enrolment was introduced.

·                     Cash flow was becoming more important.  With cash tied up in investments there was a need to ensure that necessary cash was available on a day to day basis for operational costs.  The Fund was not considered a mature fund where investments would need to be sold in order to pay benefits, however, there was a need to provide more focus on management of cash flow.

·                     Pooling was becoming one of the key priorities with wider and increased governance scrutiny from the Pensions Regulator, Scheme Advisory Board and Central Government.

·                     Responsible investment was becoming an even more important topic, with the key immediate priority being climate change.  Work was ongoing to reduce carbon exposure and the Funds carbon footprint. 

 

5.3       Following questions from the Board, the HoP made the following points:

·                     There was no ideal percentage mix in terms of membership of the Fund, however, it would always be better to have more contributors than dependents of the Fund. 

·                     If the Fund reached a stage where it needed to sell investments in order to pay benefits, it would be a clear sign of increasing maturity.  If this stage was reached, a re-assessment of funding would need to be undertaken in order to align with the profile of pensioners. 

·                     A 10 year summary of statistics was provided at the back of the annual report.  The summary indicated that active membership had decreased by approximately 10% over 10 years, however, there had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Work Plan 2019/2020 / Cynllun Gwaith 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Minutes:

6.1       The Chair introduced the report which provided an update of the Board’s existing work plan and a draft work plan for 2019/20 for consideration.

 

6.2       With reference to discussions earlier in the meeting around the possibility of linking future audits to the risk register, it was agreed that the Head of Internal Audit should be invited to a future meeting of the Board to provide an insight on his focus for the coming years and of any concerns he may have about the Fund.  The HoP suggested that the meeting scheduled for January 2020 would be a suitable time to invite the Head of Internal Audit on the basis of the cycle of mapping out the audit plan.

 

6.3       Members agreed the draft work plan for 2019/20.

7.

Member Self Service Update / Diweddariad Hunan-wasanaeth Aelodau pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1       The HoP highlighted the following key headlines from the report:

·                     Paragraph 5.1 of the report set out membership statistics of My Pension Online (MPO). 

·                     MPO had been in operation for three years.  Overall, 31% of the Fund’s membership has signed up to MPO.

·                     Lowest take up of MPO was amongst pensioners.  More encouraging numbers were amongst deferred members and active members.

·                     The table in 5.2.1 illustrated the number of active members that had signed up to MPO.  Smaller bodies such as SRS and Tai Calon were making significant progress. 

·                     As shown in paragraph 5.3.1, numbers varied significantly in the breakdown of members signed up to MPO within the Local Authorities and the Police.  This is where improvements were required.  The report set out different marketing techniques that were used to encourage different types of members to sign up.

·                     The graph under paragraph 6 of the report demonstrated the number of members registering for MPO each month.  There was a significant increase in the number of members registering during August which was when letters were sent to members informing them that their Annual Benefit Statement was available on-line. 

·                     The Fund was committed to increasing the number of members who were signed up to MPO.  Increased usage of the system would provide benefits in terms of efficiency, data integrity, costs and improved communication.  

 

7.2       Following questions from the Board, the HoP made the following points:

·                     Employees were encouraged to use their own intranet and newsletters to advertise MPO.  It was accepted that certain groups such as pensioners might be less inclined to sign up. 

·                     There were online facilities available to assist members, however officers would always be willing to meet with employers/employees if required. 

·                     Although there was a spike in the number of members logging in to MPO when letters were sent informing them that their Annual Benefit Statement was available on-line, further consideration was being given around ways to encourage members to access the system more frequently. 

8.

Training To Meet Knowledge and Understanding Requirements / Hyfforddiant i Fodloni Gofynion Gwybodaeth a Dealltwriaeth pdf icon PDF 345 KB

Minutes:

8.1       The Chair introduced the report which provided an update of training undertaken by members of the Local Pension Board.  Members were reminded to provide their training logs at least three weeks prior to the meeting of the Board. 

 

8.2       The HoP would circulate details of the CIPFA training session which was scheduled to take place on the afternoon of 3 October 2019 in Cardiff. 

 

8.3       Further to the resignation of Jan Davies, the HoP had written to GMB and Unison to seek nominations for the vacancy on the Board, however, no response had been received to date.  The HoP suggested that members of Board might wish to make some enquiries in an effort to encourage nominations to the vacancy. 

 

8.4       Local Government Association had scheduled to run a Local Government Pensions Committee course in January 2020 in York.  Further details would be circulated to the Board when available. 

9.

Any other business / Unrhyw fater arall

Minutes:

9.1       There was no other business to consider.

10.

Date of next meeting 23/10/19 / Dyddiad y cyfarfod nesaf 23/10/19

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

10.1     The next meeting of the Pension Board will be on Wednesday 23 October 2019.

11.

Exclusion of Press and Public / Gwahardd y Wasg a'r Cyhoedd

To agree the exclusion of the press and public from the meeting as presentations and meeting papers are not for publication because in accordance with paragraphs 12 and 14 of part 4 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by the Access to Information Variation Order Wales 2007), it contains information about a particular individual and information relating to the financial and business affairs of particular persons including the Council and in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Cytunogwahardd y wasg a'r cyhoedd o'r cyfa rfod gan nad yw cyflwyniadau a phapurau cyf arfod i'w cyhoeddi oherwyddyn unol â pharag raffau 12 a 14 o Ran 4 o Atodlen 12A Deddf Llywodraeth Leol 1972 (fel y'i diwygiwyd gan OrchymynMynediad i Wybodaeth (Amrywiad) Cymru 2007), ei fod yn cynnwys gwybodaeth am unigolyn penod ol a gwybodaeth ynymwneud â materion aria nnol a busnes unigolion penodol yn cynnwys y Cyngor a than holl amgylchiadau'r achos, maelles y cy hoedd o ran sicrhau'r eithriadau yn gorbwyso'r budd i'r cyhoedd yn nhermau datgelu'r wybodaeth.

Minutes:

11.1     The Board agreed to the exclusion of the press and public from the meeting as meeting papers were not for publication because in accordance with paragraphs 12 and 14 of part 4 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by the Access to Information Variation Order Wales 2007), it contained information about a particular individual and information relating to the financial and business affairs of particular persons including the Council and in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

11.2     Those in attendance who were not a member of the Board left the meeting, with the exception of Councillor Glyn Caron (Chair of Pensions Committee) and Emily Barnett who remained at the discretion of the Chair. 

 

 

12.

Exempt Minutes 24/4/19 / Cofnodion Eithriedig 24/4/19

13.

Exempt Minutes of the Pensions Committee 28/3/19 / Cofnodion Eithriedig y Pwyllgor Pensiynau 28/3/19

14.

Wales Pension Partnership - Collective Investment Pooling Third Tranche / Partneriaeth Pensiwn Cymru - Cronni Buddsoddiad Cyfunol, Trydedd Gyfran