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TPR guidance on private markets benefits for scheme members

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has released new guidance on investing in private markets, emphasising the potential for these assets to enhance outcomes for pension scheme members when coupled with appropriate advice and governance. While private market investment in DC has been on trustees’ radars for many years, the recent Mansion House announcements, introduction of Long-Term Asset Funds (LTAF) and removal of performance charges from the default fee cap, have bolstered further interest in how trustees can take advantage of the potential returns from private market investment.
Posted on Friday Feb 23

Consumer Duty the art of the possible in a year

It has been just over half a year since the Consumer Duty came into force for open products. Mandated by Parliament after cross-party support, it has rapidly become our most talked about piece of regulation. By the end of July, it will have been a year since the introduction of the Consumer Duty. This is also the deadline for compliance for all closed products. And I will say more about closed products later. No one likes a looming deadline. But don’t panic.
Posted on Thursday Feb 22

The return of Quantitative Easing

2023 was anticipated to be a weaker year for economic growth, but it surprised many by performing better than expected. Coming into 2023, the Wall Street Journal economist survey predicted a median US recession probability of 65%. Instead of credit spreads widening (indicating an increased risk of corporate bankruptcies) as you would have expected with a looming recession, they tightened due to stronger economic activity and a lower likelihood of corporate defaults.
Posted on Wednesday Feb 21

Risk Sharing in DC

Risk sharing is about distributing potential losses or gains among different parties. For instance, in the context of retirement planning, risk sharing may help individuals maintain a sustainable income throughout their retirement years. This is achieved by pooling resources and distributing the income among the group, rather than relying solely on individual savings. It's something that is impossible for any single member to achieve on their own, but it does have the potential to deliver significant benefits.
Posted on Tuesday Feb 20

Upgrading insurance software and the key drivers to change

Sometimes, the only solution is to change the solution. Changing anything from something you are comfortable with to something new is never an easy process, whether it be upgrading your phone, changing utility provider or maybe something larger like your job. This is because there always seems to be some barriers in place, like not being able to transfer files, closing off old accounts or finding the time to interview.
Posted on Thursday Feb 15

Updated guidance on pensions on divorce

Research by the Nuffield Foundation, Bristol University and Bryson Purdon Social Research shows that that of the 100,000 divorces each year only around 11% resulted in a Pension Sharing Order. In a bid to further address this, the inter-disciplinary Pensions Advisory Group (PAG) have updated their Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce, providing guidance for lawyers, actuaries and financial advisers involved in advising clients going through a legal separation.
Posted on Wednesday Feb 14

Divorce after 50 pensions and property

In this special episode of the Just Covered Podcast, our hosts Hazel Johnston and Wayne Holcombe are joined by financial planner and pensions expert, Fiona Tait, and mortgage broker and later life lending adviser, Manjit Kaur. When property and pensions are your client’s two largest assets, of course it makes sense to approach with caution and understand the bigger picture. Our experts, Fiona and Manjit, give their take on pensions and property in divorce, and how the role of an adviser can help to secure the best outcomes for clients going through later life divorce.
Posted on Tuesday Feb 13

Tackling DC pension inequality through contribution design

In an era marked by bold commitments to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) by employers, financial wellbeing strategies, government announcements and regulatory pension consultations, the conversations on Defined Contribution (DC) pension inequality have been brought to the forefront. And one area that is slowly surfacing is the role of DC contribution design, a topic that a number of organisations are now reassessing.
Posted on Monday Feb 12

Allowing for pension surpluses when valuing a business

The mood music around employer access to pension surplus is changing. The July 2023 Mansion House announcements around reforms encompassing use of surplus, the cut on the tax rate that applies on a refund of surplus (from 35% to 25%), and the industry debate around ideas such as LCP’s Powering Possibility in pensions, all point to a potential softening in attitudes to employers accessing surplus. This raises many questions.
Posted on Friday Feb 9

Retirement Living Standards Webinar

The PLSA Retirement Living Standards has been updated in February to reflect the latest research conducted across the UK and independently calculated by the Centre of Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. Speakers: Simon Sarkar, Head of Research, PLSA ,
Matt Padley, Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy, Nigel Peaple, Director of Policy and Advocacy, PLSA

Posted on Thursday Feb 8

Targeted support for pension savers

Who do you go to when you need financial advice - friends, family, search engines, or social media? The sensible answer for many should be a regulated financial adviser, but only a minority of individuals do. Only 8% of those surveyed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said they had received regulated financial advice, while more than double that (18%) said they obtained financial advice from social media .
Posted on Thursday Feb 8

Lifetime Allowance Abolition

The Government’s decision to abolish the Lifetime Allowance is a milestone for pensions and taxation, but making the change happen isn’t so simple, especially in the time available. In this Policy Insights Webinar, we will explore and clarify HMRC’s expectations and the legal aspects, consider the issues that schemes are encountering and discuss how to tackle them. Policy Insight Webinars are a unique opportunity to gain insider knowledge directly from the PLSA Policy and Advocacy team. By joining these popular online events, you will hear about the PLSA dialogue with key figures, from Ministers to Government officials and regulators.
Posted on Wednesday Feb 7

Navigating challenges in the Lloyds LCR submission

Barnett Waddingham recently brought Heads of Capital from several managing agents in the Lloyd’s market together to share insights on the latest Lloyd's Capital submissions process, as part of our “Lloyd’s Capital Returns” (LCR) roundtable. The meeting covered various themes, shedding light on communication gaps, the shifts in submission timelines, keeping up with external model changes, and the ever-evolving validation processes.

Posted on Wednesday Feb 7

Role of the email address in flagging application fraud

It’s never been more important for insurance providers to limit their exposure to fraud to stem their losses and the impact this has on the rising cost of premiums for the honest majority . Underlining the continued drive to drive out fraud, in November 2023, Insurer Aviva said it had uncovered more than 9,250 instances of fraud in 2022 – saving customers £120m . Finding fraudsters at the point of application, quote or post policy inception is the ideal scenario, stopping the issue before it develops and saving precious resources down the line.
Posted on Monday Feb 5

The risk function of the future

The risk landscape is changing faster than ever. Insurers are at the forefront of helping their policyholders manage risk. Therefore, it is critical that insurers adapt and evolve their own approach to managing risk in an increasingly interconnected, fast-moving and volatile world. We have explored the drivers of change and the ways in which the risk function needs to evolve in our “Risk Function of the Future” report, based on conversations with over 50 CROs from across the market.
Posted on Friday Feb 2

Property pensions and paraplanning

Barnett Waddingham joined the Paraplanners' Assembly for a discussion exploring what clients need to know if they want to invest in property as part of their pension. The session covered the technical, regulatory and legal issues that influence pensions and property.
Posted on Thursday Feb 1

2024 the year of unprecedented change for risk transfers

Some existing buy-in insurers are expected to change ownership. 2024 expected to be another record year for buy-in volumes, exceeding £50bn in 2023. £50bn a year will be the new normal for buy-in volumes, with the market expected to be at least that level until 2030. The market will see a record volume of multi-billion pound transactions. The alternative risk transfer market will come of age in 2024, with more superfund transactions and a broader range of established options for pension schemes.
Posted on Thursday Feb 1

Signing the buyin transaction only one piece of the puzzle

For those schemes who have decided to target insurance and buy-out, there is often a daunting amount of work in front of them. The need to fill gaps in data and produce a benefit specification, fit a transaction into an already busy job and then transfer the administration to an insurer feels like a lot. And to be frank, it is, especially for smaller schemes. So with all big tasks, it is best to break it down into more manageable chunks.
Posted on Tuesday Jan 30

What can we expect from the derisking market in 2024

Jenny Neale shares her predictions on what we might expect from the de-risking market over the next year. Prediction 1 - Growth of an already busy market. As Sarah Collison mentioned, 2023 was a record-breaking year with over £50bn of bulk annuities written. This demand from the market is expected to only increase, with many schemes having changed their investment strategy to try to lock in favourable funding position and having spent much of 2023 preparing data and benefits for going to market in the coming months.
Posted on Thursday Jan 25

SSAS and SIPP members should review expression of wishes

A significant change to the amount of lump sum death benefits that may be paid from a Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS) tax efficiently is proposed to come into effect on 6 April 2024. If you are a member of a SSAS or SIPP, it is important you review your expression of wishes form, or any other document which you have provided to the trustees of your pension fund, setting out to whom you would prefer any benefits to be paid in the event of your death, and in what form.
Posted on Tuesday Jan 23

Conservatives v Labour on state benefits and tax breaks

As the UK heads into an election year, major parties are set to unveil key policies over the coming months, including in the Chancellor’s Budget on March 6th. While the nation awaits further hints at what’s to come ahead of manifesto pledges, PensionBee, outlines how political winds could shape the pension landscape in 2024 and its impact on consumers.
Posted on Monday Jan 22

Clara and Sears transaction the pensions superfund is a go

WTW’s Suzanne Vaughan reflects on her experience of leading a scheme through the first-ever superfund transaction and its relevance for corporate sponsors and the wider de-risking market. What is the background to the transaction? The £590m transaction between Clara-Pensions and Sears Retail Pension Scheme announced in November saw the c9,600 Sears members become the first ever to enter a UK pension superfund. Critically, as part of the transaction, Clara provided £30m of new capital.
Posted on Friday Jan 19

Secondary markets a primary asset class in investing

Secondary markets have recently taken the spotlight in the ever-evolving landscape of private markets. Although the number of secondary deals has been continually increasing for years, 2023 has seen significant changes that have affected the landscape. A surge in market participants seeking to meet a growing appetite for liquidity and greater asset discounts have led to a shift in the way investors approach this asset class.
Posted on Wednesday Jan 17

Joining the dots between cars and drivers to assess risk

Over the last decade, we’ve seen technology impact most aspects of our lives. While the financial services sector may have been behind the curve in its pace of digital adoption, consumer expectations of simplicity, transparency, and ease have compelled insurance providers to accelerate digital offerings. As technology and data have changed how we buy and use our insurance policies, we should also expect data and technology to change how risk is determined.
Posted on Monday Jan 15

Could climate change cause the buy in market to collapse

We’ve been researching the environmental, social and governance (ESG) approaches of bulk annuity providers since 2019. Each time we update our research, we find that insurers’ approaches have improved. In 2019, we heard a lot about how insurers were considering ESG risks and opportunities within their assets. In 2021, we heard more from the insurers on how they consider ESG risk within their liabilities. In 2023, we focused more on how insurers are considering climate change as a systemic risk.
Posted on Thursday Jan 11

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