Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo


Meeting of the Pension Trustees held on Tuesday 19th May 2009

Mr D McClarty
Mr J Dallat
Mr Jim Wells
Mr T Lunn
Mrs M O’Neill


In the Chair:
Mr D McClarty

In attendance:
Ms S Lappin
Mrs L Anderson


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Sinead Lappin, the Assembly’s Head of Human Resources. The minutes of the Trustee meeting held on 3 February 2009 were agreed.

Action required:
Investment Managers Update

The Trustees agreed that Mr Spooner be asked to attend the next Trustee meeting to present an update on the performance of the Fund.

Action required:
Cash Equivalent Transfer Values

Although this item was discussed at the last meeting no agreement was reached. The Trustees agreed that this item carry forward to the next meeting and that the Actuary be asked to attend to explain the assumptions used and the areas where agreement is required.

Action required:
Challenge to the Scheme

The Trustees were informed that as agreed at the previous meeting, Eversheds responded to the Ombudsman on behalf of the Trustees on 19 th February and again on 8th May 2009. A way forward was agreed and the Trustees asked that Eversheds be accordingly.

It was agreed at the previous meeting that a paper to the Commission was to be drafted outlining the proposed course of action in this case. This paper has not yet been issued but will be prepared and submitted to the Trustees for consideration before the next meeting.

Actions required:
Administrative Support to the Trustees

The Trustees were informed that the Pensions Administration Section met with Legal Services and Internal Audit to discuss the review of administration. A paper will be drafted for consideration by the Trustees at their next meeting outlining options on future provision of administrative services.

Action Required:
Increased Accrual Rate

As agreed at the last meeting a paper from the Trustees was issued to the Commission outlining the Trustees recommendations that the accrual rate be increased on an ‘opt-out’ basis from 1 April 2009. On 2 April the Commission accepted this recommendation. A newsletter explaining the change was prepared and issued to all Members. To date 32 Members have opted out and remain at the lower accrual rate.

Risk Register

Since the previous meeting the Pensions Administration Section has drafted a risk register. The Trustees considered and agreed the risk register accepting the recommendation that review of the risk register be a standing item on the agenda.

Action Required:
Pensions Internal Audit

The Trustees were informed that following a tender exercise for Internal Audit services, ASM Horwath was appointed to carry out a number of internal audits within the Assembly. The review of the Pension Scheme was carried out in February 2009 and a draft report has been received. A management response has been issued and the final report should be available shortly. This will be discussed at a future meeting.

Action Required:

The Trustees were informed that the current service level agreement ( SLA) with GAD for actuarial services has expired. A draft SLA had been received from GAD. Ms Lappin clarified that legal advice confirms that the Trustees are not a public body in respect of FOI. The draft SLA was agreed subject to amendment of the Freedom of Information clause.

Action Required:
Freedom of Information – Policy Statement

The Trustees stated that while they are not subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, they will consider each FOI request individually on its own merits. This is consistent with the Trustees past approach to requests for information under FOI.

4. 2008 – 2009 YEAR END ISSUES
Full Actuarial Valuation (period ending 31 March 2008)

Following receipt of the Schemes triennial actuarial valuation for the period ending 31 March 2008 the Trustees were informed that a paper outlining the Actuary’s recommendations has been submitted to the Commission. The employers contribution has increased from 22.6% to 23.3% from 1 April 2009.

Mini Valuation (period ending 31 March 2009)

The Trustees noted the actuarial valuation for the period ending 31 March 2009.

Annual Accounts 2008 – 09

The Trustees noted the Scheme’s annual accounts for the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. The accounts and the mini valuation will be incorporated into the annual report which will be presented to the Trustees in draft form for consideration at the next meeting.

Action Required:
Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) annual Scheme audit

The Trustees were informed that the annual letter of understanding had been received from the NIAO, signed and returned as required.

Death of former member, James Leslie

The Trustees asked that the minutes record their sympathy for the family of James Leslie following his death in February 2009. The Trustees approved the payment of benefits to Mr Leslie’s dependents.

Payment of Pensions

The Trustees approved the payment of pension to Mr Ian Adamson.

Clerical Medical Re-branding

The Trustees were informed that Clerical Medical, the Scheme’s AVC providers are combining with Scottish Widows under the Scottish Widows brand. While there will be no change to the operation of the AVC Scheme, it was agreed that Pensions Administration Section would write to Members contributing to the AVC scheme and advise them of the re-branding.

Action Required:
Review of Parliamentary Pensions

The Trustees were informed that the AMPS has been contacted as part of the review being carried out by the Senior Salaries Review Board (SSRB). It was agreed that Pensions Administration Section would complete the pro-forma questionnaire and issue to the Trustees for approval before responding to SSRB.

Action Required:

The Trustees agreed to meet on a Tuesday morning at 9.00am in the middle of June.

Action Required:

03 February 2009 / Menu