Agenda item

LGPS Update

The purpose of this report is to update the committee on recent developments within the LGPS regulatory environment and any recent consultations issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which have would have a significant impact on the Fund.

 

Appendices 1-4 are attached to the main report.

Minutes:

This report updated the Sub-Committee on recent developments within the LGPS regulatory environment and recent consultations issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.  Mr Ravinder Jassar (Head of Finance) introduced the report and informed Members that the HM Treasury (HMT) launched a consultation on draft regulations, guidance and directions to implement the exit payment cap which was set at £95,000.  He drew Members’ attention to the Local Government Association (LGA) response paper, appended to the report, which raised concerns on the feasibility and consequences of implementing the Policy in the manner set out in HM Treasury’s Consultation Document.

 

Mr Jassar then gave an update on the McCloud case; transitional protections that protected older judges and firefighters from the public sector pension scheme changes in 2015.  Members heard that on 14 May 2019, the scheme advisory board (SAB) published an advice note covering the implications of McCloud/Cost Cap in relation to the 2019 fund valuations.  He then outlined the key points from the Advice Note and added that the Fund Actuary had produced a summary regarding the various approaches in which the McCloud risk can be managed.  Given that no remedy had been agreed by 31st August 2019, it would leave Funds to consider locally, how best to manage the uncertainty and risk. Approaches to this was expected to vary across LGPS Funds depending on Officers’ and Committees’ views on the risk. The Fund was currently analysing and working together with both the Fund Actuary and Investment Advisor to manage the potential ongoing risks for the Fund. As part of the external audit of the Pension Fund accounts, the auditors requested an estimate of the potential impact of McCloud, and if material, reflect the changes in the accounts.  This was estimated at £3m at whole fund level.  Depending on the liability profiles on different employers, the impact would vary across different employers.

 

In respect of Governance, Mr Jassar informed Members that the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) commissioned Hymans Robertson to examine the effectiveness of current LGPS Governance Models and to consider alternatives and enhancements to existing models which can strengthen LGPS Governance going forwards.  Hymans Robertson undertook a process of engaging extensively with stakeholder groups and fund types to consider four governance models, each of which would be assessed against set criteria. The results found that there was a majority preference in adopting a governance model which combined improved practice with greater ring fencing of the LGPS within existing structures.  In addition to this, the results found that there was a preference for clearer ring-fencing of Pension Fund management from the host authority, including budgets, resourcing and pay policies.

 

Following the analysis of these results, Hymans Robertson proposed that an outcome based approach to LGPS governance, with minimum standards, should be adopted rather than a prescribed governance model. In addition to this, Hymans Robertson proposed updating of relevant guidance and training requirements.   Following the approval of the good governance report, the Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) has asked Hymans Robertson to assist with the next stage of this project which will involve the defining of good governance outcomes and options for assessment of these outcomes. Further details of the results and analysis undertaken by Hymans Robertson were set out in Appendix 3 to the report.  Overall the Fund supported these recommendations, in particular, clearly clarifying the standards expected in areas of governance and administration.

 

Members welcomed the report and RESOLVED:

 

That the report on the recent developments in the LGPS be noted.

Supporting documents: