Agenda and minutes

Pensions Committee
Wednesday, 20th June, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH

Contact: Dereck Francis  Tel:01902 555835 or Email: dereck.francis@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Martin Clift (GMB), Alan Phillips (GMB) and Ian Smith (Unite)(Trade Union observer representatives).

2.

Notification of substitute members

Minutes:

No notification of substitutes were received for the meeting.

3.

Declarations of interests (if any)

Minutes:

No declarations of interests were made.

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting - 21 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

[For approval]

Minutes:

Resolved:

  1. That Minute 1 (Apologies for absence) be corrected by the substitution of the name ‘(UNITE)’ following Martin Clift for ‘(GMB)’.

 

2.     That subject to 1 above, the minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 March 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

5.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting]

Minutes:

With reference to Minute 25 (Investment Pooling – Transitional and Legal Agreements), Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions confirmed that a meeting had taken place between LGPS Central Ltd and Trade Union representatives on the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) arrangements and changes to terms and conditions ahead of the transfer of staff from the Fund to LGPS Central.

 

With reference to Minute 26 (West Midlands Pension Fund Custody Services), the Director of Pensions advised that potential future change to the Fund’s Custodian was still under review.

6.

Appointments and Dates and Times of Meetings 2018 - 2019 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

[To note/approve appointments and approve the dates and times for meetings of the Committee and the Pensions Board]

Minutes:

The Committee was invited to note/confirm appointments onto the Pensions Committee and agree the dates and times of its meetings and those of the Pensions Board for the 2018-2019 Municipal Year.

 

Resolved:

1.     That it be noted that in accordance Constitution of the Fund, the City of Wolverhampton Council at its Annual Meeting on 16 June 2018 reappointed Councillor Ian Brookfield as Chair of the Pensions Committee and Councillor Keith Inston as Vice-Chair of the Committee for the 2018-2019 Municipal Year.

 

2.     That the appointment of the following Trades Union observer representatives onto the Committee for the Municipal Year 2018-2019 be confirmed:

 

·         Martin Clift and Ian Smith - UNITE

·         Malcolm Cantello - Unison

·         Alan Phillips - GMB

 

3.     That the following dates and times of meetings of the Pensions Committee and Pensions Board for the Municipal Year 2018-2019 be confirmed:

 

Pensions Committee – 10 am:

5 September 2018

12 December 2018

27 March 2019

 

Pensions Board - 2pm

3 July 2018

22 January 2019

7.

Economic and Market Update - May 2018 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

[To review conditions in the global economy and investment markets]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investment and Finance outlined the salient points of the economic and market update quarterly report from the Fund’s investment adviser, Hymans Robertson.

 

Resolved:

That the global economic and market update paper prepared by the Fund’s adviser, Hymans Robertson be noted.

8.

Asset Allocation and Investment Monitoring Performance Period to 31 March 2018 West Midlands Pension Fund pdf icon PDF 67 KB

[The note the contents of the asset allocation and investment monitoring performance report for the period ended 31 March 2018]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investment and Finance presented a summary of the key points from the quarterly asset allocation and investment performance of the Fund and on the implementation of its investment strategy for the period ended 31 March 2018.

 

The Chair highlighted the contribution the passive currency hedging programme had made to the Fund’s performance and in protecting the Fund from currency losses arising from a strengthening in sterling.

 

In response to a question from Malcolm Cantello (Unison), the Assistant Director undertook to report back on the cost to the Fund of consolidating its regional overseas passive equity portfolios into a global (ex UK) fund during the first quarter of 2018.

 

Malcolm Cantello also referred to the increase in cash held within the Funds invested assets and asked how the positive net cashflow would be handled to ensure that the Fund received a reasonable return. The Assistant Director reported that money market funds were used to generate returns on cash which had increased at the end of the quarter as the Fund closed futures positions held on equity markets, a part of a move to reduce allocation and exposure to this asset class. The Fund was actively seeking and in a number of cases close to finalising new investments in assets held to increase income generation in line with the targeted asset allocation.

 

Councillor Angela Sandison asked whether the Fund should consider its asset allocation in the light of the under-performance against benchmark over the last 12 months. The Assistant Director reported that the asset allocation was kept under review each quarter, noting under performance was largely driven by losses on insurance linked assets following a period of higher incidents and increases in expected claims. In terms of the Fund’s strategic asset allocation, it remained underweight in the real assets and infrastructure class. They would be areas where the Fund is seeking to target increased investments.

 

Resolved:

That the contents of the asset allocation and investment performance report for the period ended 31 March 2018 be noted.

9.

Asset Allocation and Investment Monitoring Performance Period to 31 March 2018 West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (WMITA) Pension Fund pdf icon PDF 320 KB

[To note the contents of the asset allocation and investment monitoring performance report for the period ended 31 March 2018]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investment and Finance summarised the key points from the performance on asset allocation and investment monitoring report for the WMITA Pension Fund and on the implementation of its investment strategy for the period ended 31 March 2018. 

 

In response to Councillor Stephen Simkins, the Assistant Director, Investment and Finance undertook to include in the next quarterly performance monitoring report action taken/ proposed regarding the poor performance of Newton, one of the diversified growth fund managers.

 

Malcolm Cantello (Unison) noted from the report the payment of twice yearly deficit contributions to the WMITA Pension Fund.  He asked how this was reconciled with the Main Fund’s strategy of making monthly payments, Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions explained that the payment profile had been agreed following discussion with the employers as part of the 2016 actuarial valuation and was in line with the rates and contributions certificate provided by the Actuary.

 

Resolved:

That the contents of the asset allocation and investment monitoring report for the period ended 31 December 2017 be noted.

10.

Responsible Investment Activities pdf icon PDF 93 KB

[To receive the report on work undertaken by the Investment team regarding their responsible investment activities between the period 1 January to 31 March 2018]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions presented the update on the work undertaken by the investment team regarding their responsible investment activities since the last Committee meeting. She particularly highlighted the continuing work on the Fund’s stewardship themes of climate change, cyber security and diversity; shareholder voting activity; and the outcome of the  House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee summary of the UK’s 25 largest pension funds, noting the advanced position of the Fund demonstrated in the summary of responses and ratings. The Fund had been classified as ‘more engaged’.

 

Councillor Stephen Simkins asked whether the Fund had a strategy for investing in new environmental technologies.  The Director of Pensions reported that it had a number of current and potential investments in this area, noting the potential for value particularly as companies transition towards new energy sources. 

 

Responding to other questions, the Director of Pensions agreed to report back to the next meeting on the names of the two UK Companies the Fund would be focussing its own efforts on as part of Climate Action 100+, an engagement on climate change risk.  Regarding Carillion, the Director explained that the Fund had some exposure to Carillion Plc through its infrastructure portfolio.  Carillion was also an employer within the Fund, however, the liability and funding exposures were low, and action was ongoing to assess the impact of redundancies, following which the Fund seek to recover any losses through the redundancy payment service.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the Fund’s voting and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum’s (LAPFF’s) engagement activity for the three months ending 31 March 2018, including Appendix 1 to the report be noted.

 

2.    That it be noted that the issues discussed by LAPFF are set in the Quarterly Engagement Report which is available on the LAPFF website:
http://www.lapfforum.org/publications/qrtly-engagement-reports/

 

3.    That progress against the Fund’s 2018 stewardship themes be noted.

 

4.    That the Fund’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee and initial “more engaged” rating given to the Fund be noted

 

5.    That other activity undertaken to ensure the Fund continues to develop and support its approach to Responsible Investment be noted.  

11.

LGPS Central Update pdf icon PDF 83 KB

[To note the update on the ongoing development of LGPS Central Ltd]

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investments and Finance presented the update report on the ongoing development of LGPS Central Ltd, a jointly owned investment management company established by West Midlands Pension Fund and seven Partner Funds to deliver investment pooling in accordance with the criteria laid down by the Secretary of State.

 

Malcolm Cantello (Unison) noted that the Fund’s Director of Pensions and Assistant Director, Investments and Finance served on the Practitioners Advisory Forum (officer group).  Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions, confirmed that the other seven Partner Funds on LGPS Central were similarly represented on the Forum.  The Fund’s Head of Governance and Corporate Services has also been providing governance support to the ongoing work programme of the Central pool.  The Fund’s Head of Pensions and Head of Operations would be participating in the Central strategic administration group.   Malcolm Cantello added that he was pleased that the Fund’s advisors would be working closely with LGPS Central.

 

Resolved:

            That the update on LGPS Central progress be noted.

12.

Budget Monitoring 2017 - 2018 and Quarterly Accounts March 2018 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

[To provide an update on the outturn for the year against operating budgets and quarterly accounts as at the end of March 2018]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investments and Finance presented the key highlights from the update report on the forecast outturn for the year against the Fund’s operating budget and quarterly accounts for the West Midlands Pension Fund and West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Pension Fund for the quarter ending 31 March 2018.

 

Malcom Cantello (Unison) commented that he was surprised to see from the operating budget that premises costs had increased and that he would have expected to see a reduction given that the Fund was sharing a building with LGPS Central.  Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions reported that the costs in the report related to the 2017/2018 financial year. The Committee would see premises cost reduce during 2018/2019 as premises would be separated from April 2018.

 

Councillor Paul Sweet asked whether the Fund was likely to see an increase in the cost per member before it stabilises and fall.  The Director of Pensions advised that she expected it to be higher this year and then stabilise noting the potential for some duplication of cost during the 2-3 years of transition and the need to continue to invest in the Funds administration and digital services. 

 

The Chair added that another key cost was the investment management costs per member. This had reduced and was within budget.  The Director of Pensions reported that the Funds management costs were considerably lower than other Pensions Funds partly due to scale but also due to significant functions performed in house.

 

Councillor Stephen Simkins asked about the Fund’s strategy for helping employers to understand why the Fund requires accurate and timely data from them. The Director of Pensions reported that the Funds’ strategy was set out in the Pensions Administration Strategy and Customer Engagement Strategy to be discussed later on the agenda.

 

Malcolm Cantello noted the two entries for ‘accounts contributions receivable’ in the ITA accounts and asked if the entry in the main Fund’s accounts could be split to clarify contributions paid in advance.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the quarterly accounts for the period ending 31 March 2018 be noted, which show that:

 

-       the value of West Midlands Pension Fund at this date was £15.3 billion, an increase of £1.0 billion from 31 March 2017;

 

-       the value of West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Pension Fund at this date was £492 million, a decrease of £11 million from 31 March 2017.

 

2.    That it be noted that the outturn against operating budgets as at the end of March 2018, is an under spend of £12.6 million, primarily attributable to lower investment management costs.

13.

Statement of Accounts 2017 - 2018 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

[To approve the draft Statement of Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2018]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investments and Finance presented for approval a report on the Fund’s draft annual report and statement of accounts for the year ending 31 March 2018.  The draft statement of accounts including the accounts for the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) were now being audited by the Fund’s external auditors, Grant Thornton. 

 

In response to Malcom Cantello (Unison), the Assistant Director confirmed that whilst the ITA had not incurred any set up costs for LGPS Central, it would incur costs in terms of its ongoing operation and investment management services, that would be apportioned to it as they arise.  In response to a question from Jill Sanderson, the Director of

Pensions explained how the funding level was calculated.   

 

Resolved:

1.    That the draft statement of accounts for the year ending 31 March 2018 be approved.

 

2.    That it be noted that the draft accounts have been certified by the Section 151 Officers as required by regulations.

 

3.    That it be noted that the draft annual report and accounts for West Midlands Pension Fund would now be subject to audit by the Fund’s external auditors, Grant Thornton, with the final version, including their audit opinion, to be reported to the Committee in September.

 

4.    That it be noted that the audit of the accounts for the West Midlands ITA Pension Fund is nearing completion, and the auditors anticipate issuing an unqualified opinion.

14.

Compliance and Risk Monitoring 1 January to 31 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

[To receive a quarterly update of compliance monitoring for the Fund for the period 1 January to 31 March 2018]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Howe, Head of Governance and Corporate Services presented the quarterly update of compliance monitoring for the Fund for the period 1 January to 31 March 2018 together with an overview of the Fund’s risk management actions as outlined in the risk register.

 

The Chair commented that the production and issue of Benefits Statements on time was an issue on which the Fund had continued focus.

 

Responding to a question from Malcom Cantello (Unison), the Head of Governance and Corporate Services confirmed that from 1 April 2018 day to day trading activity would be carried out by LGPS Central where assets were held in pooled sub funds.  The Director of Pensions explained how this would work in practice.

 

Regarding the risk register overview, Malcolm Cantello also commented that the control ‘regular data backups’ for the risk area ’IT and cyber security’ should state what data would be backed up and when. The Head of Governance and Corporate Services undertook to add more detail to the risk register overview to explain the controls.

 

Resolved:

            That the contents of the report be noted.

15.

Service Plan Monitoring and Key Performance Indicators pdf icon PDF 74 KB

[To receive an update on performance against key performance indicators, and on actions by the Fund in the delivery of its objectives as set out in the Service Plan 2017 – 2022]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Howe, Head of Governance and Corporate Services presented the main points from the report on an annual review of the Fund’s performance against its key performance indicators (KPIs) and on the actions by the Fund in the delivery of its objectives as set out in the Service Plan 2017 – 2022.

 

The Chair noted from the KPIs that training hours for members of the Committee had increased during 2017-2018.  In commenting on the unique nature of the Committee and members roles on it he asked that this indicator aswell as attendance of Trustees /Board members at Committee / Pensions Board meetings and training events be closely monitored.  Councillor Paul Singh added that where members mis meeting they should be reminded of the important role they have and where they are regularly absent action should be taken to seek a replacement.

 

Councillor Angela Sandison asked about the Fund’s response to the increase in sickness absence KPI. Head of Governance and Corporate Services reported that there had been some long-term sickness absences during the year which were more pronounced in the reporting due to the size of the Fund workforce.

   

Resolved:

1.    That performance against the Fund’s Key Performance Indicators as an annual review for the year 2017 – 2018 be noted.

 

2.    That delivery of the Fund’s objectives as set out in the 2017 – 2022 Service Plan be noted.

16.

Annual Policy Review 2018 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

[To provide an overview of the Fund’s statutory and good practice policies for the year 2018 - 2019]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Howe, Head of Governance and Corporate Services presented the report on an overview of the Fund’s statutory duty and good practice policies and sought approval of their drafting for the year 2018/2019.  Some of the policies had been reviewed to ensure that the Fund was prepared for the start of asset pooling within LGPS Central on 1 April 2018 or as a result in changes to national policies.

 

Councillor Stephen Simkins commented that with the complexities of the care sector, employees within that sector considering joining the LGPS needed to understand how it would work for them.  He asked for a report on the care sector and the Pensions Scheme.    

 

In response to Councillor Angela Sanderson, the Head of Pensions confirmed that there had been roadshows in Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council area in the past and that the Borough would be revisited.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the Customer Engagement Strategy for the Fund be approved.

 

2.    That the actions taken by the Fund to review the Policies in line with the Annual Review Plan be noted.

17.

Annual Report of the Local Pensions Board pdf icon PDF 89 KB

[To note the report from the Local Pensions Board]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Howe, Head of Governance and Corporate Services presented the report on the work undertaken by the Local Pensions Board during 2017/2018.

 

The Chair asked for an update on the Scheme Advisory Board’s(SAB’s) review of the Pensions Board.  The Head of Governance and Corporate Services reported that the survey responses had been analysed but only a summary had been issued and no further comment had been made at this time.

 

Councillor Stephen Simkins asked about the Pensions Board meeting quarterly rather than biannually.  Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions reported that the SAB survey results report had noted some Pensions Boards were meeting more frequently.  The West Midlands Pensions Board had two formal meetings per year but Board members also attended other events such as the Mid-Year Review and Annual General meeting. The Pensions Board would be discussing the terms of reference including the frequency of meetings on 3 July 2018. The outcome from their discussions would be reported back to the Committee.

 

Resolved:

            That the contents of the report be noted.

18.

Internal Audit Annual Report 2017- 2018 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

[To note the contents of the Annual Internal Audit report]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Peter Farrow, Head of Audit, City of Wolverhampton Council presented the report on the outcome of the work programme for internal audit for 2017-2018. No significant audit issues had arisen throughout the year and where identified weaknesses / improvements had been identified during the course of audit work, management had agreed recommendations. The Head of Audit reported that he was able to provide reasonable assurance that the Fund had adequate and effective governance, risk management and internal control processes.

 

Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions added that any recommendations from Internal Audit were acted upon and monitored by the Fund’s senior management team.

 

Resolved:

          That the internal audit report for 2017-2018 be noted.

19.

Pensions Administration Report from 1 January to 31 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

[To receive the report on the work undertaken by the pensions administration service during the period 1 January to 31 March 2018 for both the Main Fund and the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Fund]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Amy Regler, Head of Operations presented the report on work undertaken by the pensions administration service during the period 1 October to 31 December 2017 for both the Main Fund and the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Fund.

 

The Chair reported that he was pleased with the movement and progress the Fund had made on its key performance indicators and expressed his appreciation to the Fund’s employees for their work.

 

Referring to the workflow statistics for the Main Fund, Malcolm Cantello (Unison) commented that last year the Fund authorised overtime to manage outstanding items of work.  He asked what arrangements had been put in place this year to deal with the 33,875 items of work outstanding in the Main Fund as at 31 March 2018.  The Head of Operations advised that multiple options had been considered in the way the Fund worked including more self-service options for scheme members and scheme employers.  Further action to help manage the outstanding administrative processes was being taken and had been planned for within existing budgets.

 

Resolved:

  1. That the write-offs detailed in section 8.0 of the report be approved.

 

  1. That the applications approved by the Director of Pensions and the Chair or Vice Chair of Pensions Committee for admission to the West Midlands Pension Fund be noted.

 

3.    That the pensions administration activity for both the West Midlands Pension Fund (the Main Fund) and the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Fund (the WMITA Fund) be noted.

20.

Customer Engagement Update pdf icon PDF 88 KB

[To provide an update of the Fund’s customer engagement activity from 1 January to 31 March 2018 and known events on the horizon in line with its Customer Engagement Strategy]

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Simon Taylor, Head of Pensions presented the update of the Fund’s customer engagement activity from 1 January to 31 March 2018, in line with its Customer Engagement Strategy. He also highlighted Prudential’s announcement of a company-wide transformation programme designed to modernise the business with implications for the face to face support provided to the members of LGPS Funds.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the engagement activity to date and plans for future engagement on the horizon be noted.

 

2.    That the announcement made by Prudential and the associated review of service be noted.

21.

Data Quality and Employer Performance pdf icon PDF 82 KB

[To receive an update on the work of the Fund in the area of data quality and to provide assurance on the action the Fund is talking with employers to improve data]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Howe, Head of Governance and Corporate Services presented the report on an update on the work of the Fund in the area of data quality and to provide assurance on the action the Fund is taking with employers to improve scheme record keeping and enable issue of benefit information to members.

 

Councillor Angela Sanderson asked whether it was with the smaller sized employers that the Fund had issues regarding data quality. The Head of Governance and Corporate Services reported that it was across all employers and not specifically attributable to smaller employers. 

 

Resolved:

1.     That the implementation of monthly submissions as business as usual be noted.

 

2.     That the quality of data held by the Fund and the comparison on quality for the 2016/2017 and 2018/2019 year be noted.

 

3.     That the performance of employers in the area of data quality be noted.

 

4.     That the revised Data Improvement Plan and preparations for 2018 Annual Benefit Statements be noted.

22.

Pension Administration Strategy 2018 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

[To approve the revised draft Pension Administration Strategy, subject to feedback from the employer consultation]

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Simon Taylor, Head of Pensions presented for approval proposed revisions to the Pension Administration Strategy (PAS) and Engagement Roadmap, in preparation for the revised strategy being implemented from July 2018. Extensive consultation had been taken place with employers.  The feedback was being collated and as a result one change would be made to the Strategy.

 

Responding to questions from Malcolm Cantello. the Head of Pensions confirmed that the reference in the page 4 of the Strategy to Trustees and Scheme Managers referred to ‘employers’

 

The Committee discussed whether the Fund was being too lenient in terms of the timelines in the benefit administration queries escalation procedure contained within the draft Employer Engagement Roadmap, and whether there were sanctions the Fund could apply. The comment was also made that any response to employers should be proportionate. The Head of Pensions reported that the roadmap was a new document and the Fund had to allow employers the time to get use to expectations this placed on employers. The effectiveness of the procedures would be kept under review to ensure that it is working and fit for purpose.  The Pensions Administration Strategy included the ability of the Fund to levy a charge on a scheme employer who failed to meet expected levels of performance.

 

Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions added that in terms of the timescales in the escalation policy, there needed to be the right balance between employers responding to routine tasks and project tasks. Too much emphasis in one area would impact on the responses the Fund requires from employers in another area.

 

Resolved:

That the revised draft Pension Administration Strategy be approved, subject to feedback from the employer consultation.

23.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

[To pass the following resolution:

 

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information on the grounds shown below]

Minutes:

Resolved:

That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within the paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

Part 2 - exempt items, closed to press and public

24.

Employer Covenant Update

[To provide an update on employer covenant monitoring and individual cases under review]

Minutes:

Simon Taylor, Head of Pensions presented an update on employer covenant monitoring including guarantees the Fund had secured on individual cases under review; changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme regulations relating to exit credits; and the progress on the procurement of legal advisors.

 

Resolved:

1.     That authority be delegated to the Director of Pensions, in consultation with the Chair or Vice Chair of Pensions Committee, to award a contract to the Fund Panel’s preferred legal advisor in line with the procurement process via the National LGPS Framework.

 

2.     That the highlighted case studies be noted.

 

3.     That the change in LGPS Regulations with regards to Exit Credits be noted.

 

4.     That the progress on procurement of legal advisers be noted.

25.

Guaranteed Minimum Pension Reconciliation

[To provide an update on the progress with the GMP Reconciliation]

Minutes:

Simon Taylor, Head of Pensions presented an update report on progress made by the Fund in the reconciliation of members contracted out records held by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with the member data held on the Fund’s pension administration system.   The overall project for the reconciliation was currently on track and had a RAG status of Green’.

 

Resolved:

That the action taken by the Fund and ITM on Guaranteed Minimum Pension reconciliation be noted.

26.

Pension Fund Structure 2018

[To provide an overview of changes to the internal Fund structure and decision-making processes aligned to the development of fund services and the creation of LGPS Central investment pool]

Minutes:

Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions presented the report on an overview of changes to the internal Fund structure and decision-making processes aligned to the development of fund services and the creation of LGPS Central investment pool.

 

In response to a request from members of the Committee, it was agreed that a report on the detailed staffing structure of the Pensions Fund, including an update on the Fund’s programmes for apprentices; and industry placements and graduates within its ongoing recruitment programme.

 

The Director of Pensions reported that the budget for 2018/2019 contained an allowance for service developments and known projects. Delegated authority was sought to secure extra support where project work required a focus on activity in a short timeframe. This would either be brought in or outsourced and would be funded from the service developments and known projects allocation. If the cost of the additional resource could not be met from within budget the matter would be presented to Committee for consideration. The secured additional support would be reported back to the Committee.

 

Resolved:

1.     That the evolution of the pension fund service structure to meet the growing demands on the administration functions and changes made to the finance and investment functions to facilitate the transition to investment pooling be noted.

 

2.     That the governance structures in place to support implementation of investment strategy and decision making in partnership with LGPS Central Limited be noted.

 

3.     That authority be delegated to the Director of Pensions in consultation with the Chair of the Committee to secure extra support where project work required a focus on activity in a short timeframe, to be funded from the 2018/2019 budget for service developments and known projects.

 

4.     That a report on the detailed staffing structure of the Pensions Fund, including an update on the Fund’s recruitment programme and programmes for apprentices; and industry placements and graduates.

27.

Annual Report on the Investment Advisory Panel and West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (WMITA) Investment Strategy Panel

[To report on the activities of the Investment Advisory Panel and the WMITA Strategy Panel (Investment and Funding) during 2017 - 2018]

Minutes:

Rachel Brothwood, Director of Pensions presented the

report on the activities of the Investment Advisory Panel (IAP) and the WMITA Strategy Panel (Investment and Funding) during 2017/2018.

 

The Chair commented value to the Fund of the work of the two bodies had been immense. They had proved to be an excellent sounding board and their activities and involvement work was baring fruit for the Fund.

 

Resolved:

That the work of the Investment Advisory Panel and the WMITA Strategy Panel (Investment and Funding) for 2017/2018 be noted.

28.

Investment Strategy and Activity Update

[To provide an update on investment strategy and activity in the Fund over the last quarter]

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investments and Finance presented the

salient points from the update report on investment strategy and activity in the Fund over the last quarter and on the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority (WMITA) Fund’s investment strategy.

 

Resolved:

1.     That the update on investment strategies for the main Pension Fund and the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority Fund be noted.

 

2.     That the highlights of recent activity within the Pension Fund be noted.

29.

Investment Pooling Update

[To provide an update on the transition of West Midlands Pension Fund assets to LGPS Central Ltd sub-funds and future development plans]

Minutes:

Jill Davys, Assistant Director, Investments and Finance presented the main points from the update report on the transition of West Midlands Pension Fund assets to LGPS Central Ltd sub-funds and future development plans. The update also covered the recent Spring progress update provided to Central Government on the development of investment pooling in LGPS Central. Feedback on progress from government whilst limited at this stage indicated that they were generally pleased with the progress being made by LGPS Central towards pooling.

 

Resolved:

1.     That the delegation to the Director of Pensions and Assistant Director, Investments and Finance to make arrangements, as required, for the appointment of transition managers to implement future transitions of the Fund’s assets to LGPS Central Ltd, as and when suitable sub funds are launched be approved.

 

2.     That the transfer of staff and assets which has taken place to LGPS Central Ltd and the arrangements in place under advisory and execution agreements with LGPS Central Ltd to ensure continuity of investment management services to the Fund be noted.

 

3.     That the Spring Progress Report provided to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the implementation of investment pooling for the LGPS Central Pool be noted.

 

4.     That the arrangements for the proposed product development pipeline for LGPS Central sub-fund opening be noted.