Atkin trustees, actuaries, consultants & administrators

The pensions landscape has never been so dynamic and so daunting for Trustees, employers or those in the public sector. However, with the right advice there also many opportunities as well.

Below is a selection of our thoughts about the issues of the moment.

Auto-enrolment: getting it right

By 2017, just about every employee in the UK will be contributing 4% of their qualifying earnings to their pension, unless they choose to opt-out. As a specialist in advising small and medium sized schemes, we discuss the implications and what companies can do to prepare with a focus on smaller employers that are maybe not currently getting the advice they need.
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Data audit: an opportunity

The Regulator has set a deadline of December 2012 for trustees to meet the new minimum data requirements. Whilst the requirements themselves are not too onerous, Lucy Ledger explains how we believe this should be seen as an opportunity to perform an in-depth audit and to identify and actively manage any significant data issues.
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Still opportunities to de-risk

Three years ago, the markets were very favourable for the traditional de-risking exercise of buying out scheme benefits with an insurer. Since then bond yields and equity markets have fallen significantly meaning that this now a distant prospect for many schemes. However, there are still opportunities to de-risk in particular for smaller schemes where many of the “large scheme” solutions have become a much more realistic prospect.
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Funding: Adapting to the new challenges

With bond yields at an all time low, equity markets struggling and scheme sponsor’s cashflows under increasing pressure scheme funding negotiations are likely to be especially difficult. Chris Atkin believes that it has never been more important to take into explicit account both the company covenant and investment strategy. In so doing, the Trustees and Company can properly account for the risks and agree appropriate recovery plans.
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Managing Regulatory Change

Alongside, the turbulent markets and financial conditions we are also going through a period of unprecedented change in terms of legislation and requirements. Richard Bryant, Head of Trustee Services, picks out a few and explains how appointing an Independent Trustee can help.
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Separate advice for Admitted bodies

Never before have employers participating in Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) faced such challenges as they do now. Not only have financial conditions driven up funding requirements whilst at the same time cash flows are under pressure from fiscal tightening, they are also having to adjust to the sweeping changes being made to public sector pensions. It has therefore never been more important for these employers to obtain their own separate independent advice, rather than rely on that provided by the LGPS’s own advisors.
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Preparing for the PPF

In these difficult times, the prospect of schemes falling into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is much more tangible. We have extensive experience of taking schemes through their PPF assessment periods (as well as it’s forerunner, the Financial Assistance Scheme). Richard Bryant, Head of Trustee Services, comments on what we have learnt from the experience and the value of appointing an Independent Trustee to help manage and prepare.
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We used Atkin Trustees as part of a wind up of our scheme. With the help and support of Richard Bryant we were able to move forward a process that had become stalled - his expert guidance was invaluable to me and the other Trustee involved. The whole process was handled in a practical and timely manner, and I felt at last we had access to expert Trustee experience and knowledge to guide us through the many obstacles that we faced. It was a pleasure working with Richard.

Len, Independent Trustee client