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Trustee Pensions Strategy

An effective pensions strategy balances the commitments of the trustees and the scheme sponsor, as well as meeting all regulatory requirements with a view to delivering the best outcome for members. It is important to be clear on:

  • outcomes to achieve
  • timeframe to do it
  • risks to mitigate
  • the widest set of market opportunities that could support the objectives

PwC Pensions supports trustee boards in the role of strategic adviser. We bring deep expertise across strategy and risk management underpinned by actuarial, investment and legal experts.

Trustees also need to understand how sponsors think and what their key stakeholders want. PwC are well-versed in the language and needs of the CEO, CFO, Treasurer and other relevant executives. We work alongside existing statutory/compliance advisers (Scheme Actuary, Investment Consultant, Covenant Adviser) and drive progress in a cohesive way, as well as plugging gaps if required. This approach also enhances trustee governance as it increases confidence that the strategy is the right one, has been independently tested, and has a higher chance of success.

PwC also deploys a range of specialist services, including independent reviews of advisers and fiduciary managers, asset portfolio detailed design, deal implementation.

Collaboration and information symmetry

No single stakeholder to a pension scheme - the members, trustees, sponsors and regulators - can solve today’s pension problems by themselves. Collaboration is the answer, even where there are different viewpoints. Good pension strategy and outcomes should:

  • manage risk within relevant tolerances
  • balance the needs of all stakeholders
  • engage members
  • address issues for good, and avoid a sense of “running to stand still”

It is more effective when all stakeholders are educated to the same and necessary level required to make decisions. PwC’s use of plain language and visual technology can help with this. PwC’s reference datasets are also multi-firm so avoid “house view” biases and “model risk”.

Programme management

It is not always possible to get the skilled resource needed, often at short notice, to complete complex pensions projects. Pension projects are often highly technical in nature, involving diverse and multi-disciplined teams. This requires a strong understanding of the difficulty of pensions change to ensure anticipation of issues and that stakeholders are well managed.

PwC can deploy our experts to cover situations like scheme mergers, member option exercises, buy-ins and outs, system changes, alternative funding structures, asset-backed funding structures, provider transitions and legislative-related change.

Low security, working with TPR and the PPF

With the current economic uncertainty and increased regulatory scrutiny including Pensions Act 2021, understanding powers and penalties will become ever more important. Employer distress remains a risk in some unfortunate cases. These cases are understandably followed with interest by the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Protection Fund, who want to get the best outcome for scheme members.

Trustees will want experienced advisers who are accustomed to assessing proposals and liaising with TPR and the PPF. PwC can also bring legal and insolvency expertise to help trustees making difficult, multi-dimensional decisions, including where consensual restructuring, or wind up, is required.

Contact us

Raj  Mody

Raj Mody

Global head of retirement & pensions consulting, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7974 969320

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