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Will general election call shake up pensions policy agenda

With the Prime Minister calling for a summer election, LCP Partner David Fairs looks at how this could affect the pensions policy agenda. What does the announcement of a general election do to the busy pensions policy agenda? Many of the significant policy issues announced in last year’s Mansion House speech require legislation and, with two days of Parliamentary time left, are unlikely to pass into legislation prior to the general election.
Posted on Friday May 24

Risk Transfer do more insurers mean more capacity

Nikhil Patel takes an in-depth look at current trends in the risk transfer market, including the implications of record-breaking demand and how new entrants could ease the capacity crunch. It’s an exciting time in the DB pensions risk transfer market; with record volumes of insurance transactions alongside increasing discussion on run-on strategies, government proposal on industry wide consolidation and a push for pension schemes to support the UK economy.
Posted on Thursday May 23

Aiming for calm seas in our market reforms

The size and scale of the UK financial sector is worth reflecting on. It employs more than 2.5 million people and produced £278bn of economic output, which is 12% of the entire UK’s economic output, contributing £100bn in tax revenue. Its importance is what fires me up every day while doing my job. So, an efficient and effective capital market underpins the success of the financial sector which is a mainstay of the UK economy.
Posted on Tuesday May 21

Murder on the LPI floor

DB schemes, by and large, are in a far healthier position than they have been for over a decade. This is good news, but it also changes the challenges they face. If you have a 20% chance of failure, you might be less worried about tail events because you don’t need to be in the tail to be in trouble. Just like you might worry less about developing Alzheimer’s if you’re in a war zone; if you only have a 1% chance of failing though, it makes sense to put far more thought into mitigating black swan events.
Posted on Monday May 20

Pension scheme cyber attacks are you prepared

The cyber threat to pension schemes specifically is increasing. The Capita data breach in 2023 is set to cost the organisation an estimated £107 million. Share prices have plummeted 54% since the attack and reputational damage has impacted both Capita and the affected schemes. That’s without even mentioning the impact on individual scheme members and those dealing with the incident. For trustees and scheme managers, it’s negligent to assume that just because nothing has happened to your scheme yet, nothing will.
Posted on Friday May 17

Is AI the new ESG

Over the past few years, ESG was all the rage. Proponents, opponents, and everyone in between seemed to be talking about this topic on an endless loop. That was certainly the case within the financial and executive liability insurance industry. Now, it appears to be AI’s turn to walk in the sun. Flaunting its efficiency, AI has reduced the current hot topic from three letters down to two, virtually surpassing ESG as the most talked about subject in the insurance industry.
Posted on Thursday May 16

Cyber security for pension scheme trustees

This second session will consider how trustees can move beyond compliance with the regulatory requirements to adopt robust processes to address cyber threats, what happens when incidents occur and how to deal with third parties from a cyber security and data perspective. We will be focussing on practical steps trustees can take to improve their position. Chair - Ben Goldby, Partner at Gowling WLG. Speakers - Amber Strickland, Principal Associate, tech disputes and cyber security team at Gowling WLG and Phil Naybour, Trustee and former head of e-security, Thales Uk Ltd.
Posted on Wednesday May 15

Impacts of the increased cost of living

The results of the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA's) Financial Lives Cost of Living Survey 2024 were published in April 2024, showing that many adults are still struggling financially. Although almost 30% of adults have continued reporting difficulty coping financially into 2024, this shows an 8% decrease from last year’s results. The Financial Lives 2024 survey will help insurers to better understand the financial needs of the UK population.
Posted on Wednesday May 15

Why health is the next investment megatrend

“Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes”. This quote by Benjamin D Franklin could arguably include a third element – healthcare. It is an almost certainty that at some point we will all visit a GP, stay in hospital or take medication. Healthcare is a critical sector, needing to operate and meet demand regardless of the economic context. Despite this, it’s been somewhat overlooked by investors.
Posted on Tuesday May 14

DB surpluses and discretionary benefits

Once commonplace, discretionary pension increases faded with economic downturns, but with improving pension scheme funding levels, wage growth and more schemes considering running on in surplus, are they poised for a comeback? Discretionary increases on pensions which didn’t otherwise have a guaranteed rate of increase used to be quite commonplace in the 1990s and 2000s. That changed gradually as interest rates fell and funding positions deteriorated.
Posted on Monday May 13

AE not the time to change but the time to plan for change

On 01 April, the National Living Wage increased from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour. The age threshold for the National Living Wage also reduced from 23 to 21 years old. As a result, those aged 21 and 22 years old would have seen their wages increase from £10.18 per hour in March to £11.44 in April. The National Living Wage ensures full-time employees aged over 21 years old and who work 37.5 hours a week are paid a minimum of £429 per week, or £22,308 per year.
Posted on Friday May 10

Whats next for risk and compliance

speaking with Leon Carford, Head of Risk and Compliance at Atlanta Group! In conversation with Sarah Myerscough, he explains why risk and compliance need not be considered a hindrance to doing good business, and how a reframing of the way in which we understand them can bolster better decision-making. For Leon, we should always be asking ourselves how we can get the most out of our risk and compliance function, be it internal or external. He argues that it should not be cornered as a box-ticking exercise, and should inform everything a business does. This is particularly key with regard to consumer duty, which for Leon has neatly synthesised the core objective of delivering a good outcome for customers at the heart of everything we do.
Posted on Thursday May 9

Good project management is key to your validation success

High quality validation gives Boards confidence in their capital models. Validation also shapes model direction by identifying areas for improvement. Project management is pivotal to a successful model validation but is frequently underestimated, both in terms of budget and resourcing. Let’s delve into six areas where robust project management in your validation work can maximise the chances of success.
Posted on Wednesday May 8

Monitoring the cost of the LGPS

The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) have now released the results of their 2020 valuation of the LGPS in England and Wales. Distinct from the triennial funding valuations with which most of us are more familiar, GAD’s valuation is carried out every four years and covers the entire Scheme. The primary purpose is to monitor changes in the cost of providing LGPS benefits and to provide assurance that these costs remain sustainable.
Posted on Tuesday May 7

Greenwashing and next steps for the insurance industry

As the demand for products with positive sustainability outcomes grows, both the insurance industry and regulators are giving more attention to the risks of greenwashing. A consumer survey we commissioned last year looking at attitudes to sustainable investment found that for 60% of participants, climate change was a factor in their assessment of potential investments.
Posted on Friday May 3

LGPS Consolidation Pools and the Future

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.This webinar gives an update on the policy debate around LGPS consolidation. What is the latest thinking in Whitehall on reducing the number of LGPS funds? Whither pooling? What is the latest for LGPS funds on the ‘Mansion House agenda’? And what is Labour’s thinking on these vital issues for local authority pension funds?
Posted on Thursday May 2

The rise of data science in insurance

Kartina Tahir Thomson and Pardeep Bassi look at the risks associated with data science and what firms should be considering as part of their work on technology, data and models. The rate at which data science techniques are developing and being adopted is increasing faster than insurers are able to develop their own understanding of the risk governance and ethics needed. To make matters more challenging, two distinct groups operate within most insurers on the frontline of data science, often they are in conflict rather than in harmony.
Posted on Thursday May 2

Price Risk Better and Faster with Aon’s Pricing Platform

In today’s volatile market, an inadequate pricing system can slow down decision making, impacting operational performance and profitability. Accurate pricing is key for Re/insurers to react quickly to market conditions. Aon’s Pricing Platform allows re/insurers to quickly adjust strategies and seize compelling growth opportunities in real time. This provides clients with better risk selection, improved loss ratios and the ability to identify profitable opportunities in real time.
Posted on Wednesday May 1

April 2024 Edition of the Actuarial Post Magazine

This month has seen The Pension Regulator publish their Annual Funding Statement, much shorter than in recent years, reflecting the significant improvement on schemes funding levels in recent years, and perhaps more of a stop gap before the Funding Code comes out. The FCA have also been in the news, more controversially, by proposing to publicise enforcement investigations of firms as opposed to the current method of only publicising action if a firm is found guilty.
Posted on Tuesday Apr 30

Why this inflation is different

Inflation continues to dominate news headlines across economics, business and finance globally, even today, when signs of its abatement signal positive sentiment in some advanced countries. The actions of central banks have differed in terms of timing, direction (cuts or rises) and communication. Also, few central bank leaders have been criticised for their delayed actions and excessive cautiousness.
Posted on Monday Apr 29

How to build an inflation beating portfolio

Inflation erodes the real value of money over time, so investors need to constantly seek out assets that offer returns exceeding inflation to maintain or increase the value of their portfolio in real terms. Chris Pritchard sets out guiding principles for building an investment portfolio that can outperform inflation over the long term. Inflation surged in 2021 as the global economy emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. At the start of 2022, inflation in developed nations reached levels not seen in many years.
Posted on Thursday Apr 25

Whats next for innovation

In this episode, Sarah Myerscough from BIBABroker speaks with QBE Insurance’s David Jones about how innovation across an array of industries is creating emerging risks, and how as brokers we can equip our clients against them. For example, the motor and construction industries are both undergoing seismic shifts as they respond to the demands of sustainability and government climate pledges. However, the emergence of lithium-ion batteries and new materials such as cross laminated timber pose significant risks which must be accounted for by brokers and insurers.
Posted on Wednesday Apr 24

Managing active members on the DB pensions endgame journey

Considering options to provide future defined benefit (DB) pension accrual under your long-term plan can help you take advantage of favourable insurer pricing. Evaluate available options now to prepare for a buy-in/buyout and capitalise on market opportunities. What’s changed? It won’t come as a surprise that many defined benefit (DB) pension schemes have seen an unexpected significant improvement in their funding levels over the last 18 months as government bond yields have increased.
Posted on Wednesday Apr 24

Why our health system must be preventative to be sustainable

More than twenty years ago, Sir Derek Wanless and the Health Trends Review team at HM Treasury produced the landmark report: Securing our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View. This was a detailed and objective analysis of the demand pressures on the NHS under various scenarios, projecting the financial resources required over the next 20 years to ensure that the NHS can provide a publicly funded, comprehensive, high-quality service available on the basis of clinical need and not ability to pay.
Posted on Monday Apr 22

Empowering Chief Risk Officers: expertise and behaviours

In an era defined by rapid change and unforeseen challenges, the role of Chief Risk Officer (CRO) has never been more critical for any business. The insurance industry has been at the forefront of risk management for many years and Insurance CROs offer a fantastic example for all those looking to juggle the volume and complexity of work required to effectively manage the risks of a business.
Posted on Friday Apr 19

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