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Oil and water don't mix...

24 May 2019

The Select Committee on the Big 4 and anti-competitive behaviours said “The culture of advisory services is about helping management; and the culture of audit is about challenging management. When combined in one large-multidisciplinary firm these two cultures mix like oil and water.” The same applies in the trustee world. The culture of advisers is to help trustees and pension managers; the culture of trustees is about taking advice and challenging advisers. When combined in one firm, conflicts may arise.

This article looks at the types of conflicts that may arise and practical measures to identify and manage conflicts.

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Master Trust Selection

20 May 2019

Despite the ongoing rationalisation in the master trust market, there is still a considerable amount of choice available. This article explores the process of selecting a master trust, and highlights the importance of understanding the drivers for change and defining objectives for the new arrangement. Only then will it be possible to conduct an effective market comparison.

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Investment consultant objectives

04 April 2019

Following its review of the investment consultant (IC) and fiduciary management (FM) markets, the CMA published draft remedies designed to improve the operation of these markets in March 2019. TPR will provide further guidance in due course, but in the meantime we identify some actions that trustees may wish to consider before setting objectives for their investment consultant. We also look at some examples of possible investment consultant objectives and consider some measurement approaches.

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Muse's Reponse to the CMA Investment Consultants Market Investigation Draft Order and Explanatory Note

12 March 2019

We welcome the CMA’s proposed remedies and the implementation approaches suggested in the Draft Order. However, good governance requires that any tendering is undertaken with pension schemes' specific characteristics and cinrcumstances in mind. This would include tendering/ review of IC appointments on which the Draft Order is silent.

We urge the CMA and TPR to ensure that the guidance created for trustees helps to ensure that compliance cannot become a ‘box-ticking’ exercise.

Our response to the CMA Investment Consultants Market Investigation Draft Order can be found here.

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CMA Review - next steps

07 February 2019

Following the CMA's final report on the investment consultant and fiduciary management markets, in our view there is now sufficient clarity and certainty for trustees to start reviewing their own arrangements. In this article we summarise the CMA’s main recommendations and highlight the actions that pension trustees could now take.

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Master trust: Scratching beneath the surface

06 February 2019

In this article we provide some background to the expansion of the master trust market, as well as the transformation of the regulatory regime currently underway. We also look at key factors to consider when choosing a master trust, including a key governance pitfall to watch out for.

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A Living Will for your Pension Scheme?

01 February 2019

In this article, we explore some areas that are sometimes overlooked by trustees with weak or failing sponsor covenants, as well as some practical remedies.

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Transform or transition?

12 December 2018

Trustee dissatisfaction with providers should not automatically lead to a full market review. In this viewpoint we consider some alternatives.

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Mind the DC governance gap

12 October 2018

A notable trend in th epensions landscape right now is the number of single employer trust arrangements that are setting up dedicated defined contribution (DC) committees. 

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Supporting your pensions manager

10 October 2018

The increasingly variable nature of pensions management requirements is causing many trustees to re-think their resourcing model.  In this article, we explore some of the drivers underlying this shift, as well as a variety of practical measures to address it. 

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Taking a fresh look at your Investment Consultant

24 July 2018

The Investment Consultant is a key advisory relationship underpinning the achievement of a scheme’s strategy, and one where trust and confidence are fundamental. It is essential that the effectiveness of this relationship is reviewed at appropriate intervals.

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The CMA Investment Consultant Market Investigation

23 July 2018

Read Chris Fagan's thoughts on the CMA's provisional report - more engaged trustees get better outcomes.

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'...I get by with a little help from my friends...'

12 July 2018

...So the Beatles song goes and so more trustee boards are turning to external sources of executive support services to help acheive their strategic and operational objectives.

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Too late to insure when the house is on fire!

02 May 2018

We all recognise the futility of calling an insurance company for a quotation after a fire has taken hold of our house. So why do trustees wait until key pension scheme risks have manifested before putting protections in place?

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Should You Pay 'Lay' Trustees?

26 May 2017

Barry Mack considers the case for paying 'lay' trustees given the increasingly complex and onerous role that trustees play.

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Co-Sourcing: A Brief Overview

06 June 2016

We have been seeing interest increase in using co-sourcing as a delivery method for administration services. The technology is now better able to facilitate this, but what are some of the things to consider, and what are the pitfalls to look out for. Damon Lacey gives a brief overview of co-sourcing as an introduction to the idea.

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Seven Principles for Effective Administration Agreements

12 October 2015

As a follow-up to our recent guide on the Key Principles of Administration Agreements (in collaboration with the PMI and CMS), Damon Lacey examines the seven principles of an effective administration agreement.

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The Problem with Freedom

23 June 2015

Read Ian McQuade's thoughts and reaction to the new Freedoms & Choice.

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The Story So Far: IGCs Since Inception

16 June 2015

Read Paul Trickett's thoughts on IGCs since inception based on his experience as a member of an IGC.

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What is the Ideal DC Scheme?

16 June 2014

There was a lot of debate following the announcement of Defined Ambition and Collective DC. Are these the solutions though, and what is the problem they solve? There are good quality DC schemes, and a good scheme can deliver good outcomes. Ian McQuade looks at what qualities make the ideal DC scheme.

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Administration and Data Governance

21 April 2014

Administration, and specifically data, is increasingly under the spotlight as scheme's look to de-risk and ensure they are up to scratch against TPR's data targets. Avgi Gregory considers some of the themes that have emerged from our work with clients.

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