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Defined Benefit (DB) Pensions Conference 2024

Defined Benefit (DB) Pensions Conference 2024

13 March 2024 | 09:00 - 17:45

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Defined Benefit (DB) Pensions Conference 2024

The Defined Benefit (DB) Pensions Conference is a pivotal event focused on navigating the complexities and challenges within the realm of defined benefit pensions. Set against the backdrop of an ever-evolving financial landscape, the conference aims to provide a comprehensive exploration of critical topics shaping the pensions industry.

Industry experts and thought leaders will converge to discuss strategies for managing risks, optimising investment portfolios, and ensuring the sustainability of defined benefit pension schemes. Attendees can expect insightful sessions on regulatory updates, technological advancements, and innovative solutions that impact pension fund management.

The conference serves as a platform for networking, fostering collaborations, and sharing best practices among professionals in the field. With a keen emphasis on practical insights, the event offers a unique opportunity for pension scheme trustees, investment managers, and advisors to stay abreast of the latest trends, exchange ideas, and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with defined benefit pensions.

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    Fees

    Members: Free
    Affiliate and Corporate members: £600 (+VAT)
    Non-members: £1200 (+VAT)
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    In person

    event
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    CPD

    7 Hours
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    Speakers

    10+

Event Details

THE BASICS

Topics of discussion:
  • DB Endgame Strategies: Exploring Buy-in, Buyout, Consolidation, and Run-off
  • Trends and Challenges in DB Agendas for 2024
  • Navigating DB Scheme Endgame: Choosing the Right Solution
  • Leveraging Third-Party Capital for DB Scheme Support
  • Effective Communication Strategies with Scheme Members
  • Preparing for Buy-out: Data, Benefits, and Transaction Readiness
Who should attend:
  • Pension Scheme Managers
  • Trustees
  • Administrators
  • Policy advisers
  • Consultants
  • Lawyers
  • Corporate IFAs
  • Investment managers
  • Actuaries
  • Comunication professionals
The venue

BlackRock - London, Drapers Gardens, 12 Throgmorton Avenue, London, EC2N 2DL

Agenda

Chairs
Robert Wakefield
Robert Wakefield
PMI
President
Joe Craig
Joe Craig
Quietroom
Communications Specialist
08:30 - 9:00
Arrivals and registration
09:00 - 09:05
Welcome
Robert Wakefield
Robert Wakefield
PMI
President
09:05 - 09:40
DB consolidation
Paul Brine
Paul Brine
Dalriada Trustees
Trustee
Ashu Bhargava
Ashu Bhargava
Clara Pensions
Actuary

Delve into UK DB pension scheme endgame options in our enlightening panel session. We discuss the specific advantages and challenges of Buy-in/Buyout, Consolidation as well as Run-on and Run-off. Gain insights into the evolving landscape, regulatory considerations, and how to tailor these strategies to your pension scheme's unique circumstances.

09:40 - 10:10
DB agendas 2024 – Yet another year of change?
Janet Brown
Janet Brown
Sackers
Partner

Join us for a canter through what looks like being on the agenda for 2024. In an election year, proposed removal of the lifetime allowance and the race to buy-out may not be the only things on trustees’ agendas. Who owns the newly acquired surplus? Are you dashing to dashboards? Running on? Setting a long-term objective? Contemplating consolidation of DB? It’s all to be mapped out over the course of 2024. Not forgetting all the things that schemes do day in day out – paying the right benefits, to the right person, at the right time.

10:10- 10:55
Navigating the endgame journey: Which solution is right for you?
Lara Edmonstone-West
Lara Edmonstone-West
BlackRock
UK OCIO Business
Sorca Kelly-Scholte
Sorca Kelly-Scholte
BlackRock
Client Chief Investment Officer for EMEA Pensions
Simon Blundell
Simon Blundell
BlackRock
Head of Sterling Bond Portfolios
David Adkins
David Adkins
Lloyds Banking Group (Pensions)
CIO

The past few years have brought much market volatility. However, it has shone light on defined benefit (DB) pension schemes and left the majority in better funding positions. Many schemes are now in a surplus and looking to de-risk their portfolios, as part of their journey to endgame. But understanding the breadth of options available to trustees, is key to ensuring the best member outcomes.

10:55 - 11:25
Networking break
11:25 - 12:00
How third-party capital can support your DB scheme in the run up to buy-out or in deciding to run on in surplus
Richard Jones
Richard Jones
Punter Southall
Principal

The session will put into context how third party capital can support DB schemes in both the run up to buy-out when the scheme is in deficit and when running on in surplus. We’ll unpack the risks and challenges facing schemes in both phases and explain how third party capital can mitigate them.

12:05 - 12:40
Breakout session: Data and benefits: how to get your scheme buy-out ready
Simon Bramwell
Simon Bramwell
Barnett Waddingham
Partner and Head of Longevity Risk Transfers
Amanda Bradley
Amanda Bradley
Barnett Waddingham
Partner and Head of PPF Administration

Many more schemes are finding themselves in a position to fully secure their liabilities with an insurer. However, being in a strong financial position is not enough for a scheme to be “transaction ready”. We explore the preparatory activities required ahead of a bulk annuity transaction, and in particular some of the administration considerations that need to be addressed. Real-life examples and case studies will help demonstrate how to be fully prepared for a transaction.

12:05 - 12:40
Breakout session: How to communicate with members without worrying them
Robin Harries
Robin Harries
Quietroom
Consultant

In this session, communication specialist Robin Harries of Quietroom explores effective strategies for communicating scheme changes to members of a Defined Benefit (DB) Pensions Scheme during a buyout or endgame. Through insightful analysis and practical examples, Harries covers the challenges and opportunities inherent in communicating complex financial transitions to scheme members. Attendees will gain insights into tailoring communication approaches to ensure clarity, transparency, and member engagement throughout the buyout or endgame process.

12:40 - 13:40
Lunch and networking
13:40 - 14:15
Currency matters. Reducing portfolio risk, and improving portfolio returns, by managing “uncompensated” risk
Bruce D George, CFA, CAIA, Chartered MCSI, EPMI
Bruce D George, CFA, CAIA, Chartered MCSI, EPMI
P/E Investments LLC
Partner, Investor Solutions

Globally invested UK pension funds typically see between 20% and 40% of their annual risk “budget” being consumed by foreign exchange exposure risk. And yet, as investors, we have been trained to believe that currency “does not matter”. Using Westminster Pension Fund as a case study, and current market views, we will explore practical solutions to the Foreign Exchange risk challenge, and identify methods to transform this risk into potential profit opportunities that can be used to improve cash flow, and pay pensions.

14:20 - 14:55
Breakout Session: Mansion House reforms: where are we and what are the challenges ahead
John Sheppard
John Sheppard
Linklaters
Pensions Partner

Looking at the proposals for DB schemes announced by the Chancellor, the Government’s response to the call for evidence and the challenges to achieving change on DB investment in productive finance, building surplus and public consolidation.

14:20 - 14:55
Breakout Session: DB and Dashboards - key challenges for DB pension schemes
Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone
TPR
Business Lead – Dashboards
Chris Curry
Chris Curry
PDP
Principal
Maurice Titley
Maurice Titley
PASA
Director at ITM

Embark on a deep dive into the challenges faced Defined Benefit schemes with regards to dashboards during our panel discussion. Engage with thought leaders from The Pensions Regulator, PASA, and the Pensions Dashboard Project as they dissect the specific and pivotal issues surrounding dashboard development for DB.

14:55 - 15:25
Networking break
15:25 - 16:10
DB Scheme Priorities for 2024
Daniel Gerring
Daniel Gerring
Travers Smith
Partner
Peter Hughes
Peter Hughes
Travers Smith
Partner
Emily Goodridge
Emily Goodridge
Cardano Advisory
Managing Director
Judith Anunda
Judith Anunda
Cardano Advisory
Director

We will examine the issues ahead in 2024 for a DB scheme which is following a journey plan towards “self-sufficiency”. 2024 is set to be a tumultuous year at both global and national level. We'll consider issues such as the ongoing need for covenant protection, dealing with the risk of surplus, managing investment shocks and liquidity, the updated regulatory landscape, the interplay with other potential LTOs such as consolidation, insurance and the overarching risk of distress.

16:10- 16:45
DB outlook for the next 5-10 years
Bobby Riddaway
Bobby Riddaway
Capital Cranfield
Professional Trustee

DB Pension Schemes are currently the target of Private Equity, Pension Firms, Regulators and Activists. Bobby will take a look at how this could play out, particularly in the areas of Risk Transfer, Superfunds, Industry Consolidation and Climate change/ stewardship.

16:45 - 17:45
Networking drinks reception

Speakers

Amanda Bradley
Amanda Bradley
Barnett Waddingham
- Partner and Head of PPF Administration
Ashu Bhargava
Ashu Bhargava
Clara Pensions
- Actuary

Ashu has worked with many boards of trustees and sponsors of pensions schemes on optimising their journey plans to self-sufficiency or buyout. Ashu joined Clara as he believes Clara takes innovative journey plan optimisation to another level and can provide even greater security for members and even greater certainty for sponsors, all at a lower cost.

Ashu has 25 years’ experience in the pensions market, including at WTW, where he worked as both a Scheme and Corporate Actuary. While at WTW, a project led by Ashu won the Professional Pensions Pension Scheme Trustees of the Year Award and Pension Age Best Risk Management Exercise Award. While at L&G, a project led by Ashu won the Pension Age Best Risk Management Exercise Award.

Bobby Riddaway
Bobby Riddaway
Capital Cranfield
- Professional Trustee
Bruce D George, CFA, CAIA, Chartered MCSI, EPMI
Bruce D George, CFA, CAIA, Chartered MCSI, EPMI
P/E Investments LLC
- Partner, Investor Solutions
Chris Curry
Chris Curry
PDP
- Principal
Daniel Gerring
Daniel Gerring
Travers Smith
- Partner
David Adkins
David Adkins
Lloyds Banking Group (Pensions)
- CIO

David has spent his 30+ year career working in pensions and investment. The early years were spent in consulting, during which he qualified as an actuary before joining what is now Willis Towers Watson’s investment practice to advise UK and European clients on investment strategy. He then spent six years as Chief Investment Officer for The Pensions Trust before joining Lloyds Banking Group (Pensions Investment Team) as Head of Investment Strategy.

In that role David was responsible for all aspects of investment strategy including asset allocation, de-risking ‘triggers’, longevity hedging, re-balancing policy and responsible investment policy. He became Chief Investment Officer in February 2022.

 

Emily Goodridge
Emily Goodridge
Cardano Advisory
- Managing Director

Emily has over a decade of experience advising on employer covenant and related matters and has wide ranging experience of covenant issues including corporate transactions, restructuring, scheme mergers, apportionments, asset-backed contributions, long term funding arrangements, integrated risk management and PPF certification.

Emily is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) with a background in audit, corporate finance, and restructuring. Emily is Head of Covenant Assessment, leading our covenant assessment and monitoring offering and has been responsible for evolving our methodology and reporting so that we remain market leaders in this field.

Janet Brown
Janet Brown
Sackers
- Partner

With over 25 years’ experience, Janet advises employers and trustees of both DB and DC arrangements and she is the lead partner on various large multi-employer DB schemes across the oil, chemical and university sectors.
Her work covers documentation work, DC advice on funds, derisking transactions and helping both schemes and employers through the increasingly complicated world of pensions legislation. Her deep experience across a range of pensions work makes her a ‘go to’ adviser on complex and novel matters and her clients rate her and her pragmatic approach incredibly highly.
Janet is a member of SPP Council which represents a range of advisers and service providers in the pension industry. She is also a prolific commentator on legislative developments, most recently including the DB funding code and DWP regulations, and she is ranked as a leading lawyer in both Chambers UK and Legal 500.

John Sheppard
John Sheppard
Linklaters
- Pensions Partner

John is a Partner in Linklaters’ Pension team. He advises trustees and corporates on all areas of pensions law, including corporate transactions, plan mergers and trustee and employer advisory work, including day-to-day aspects of operating occupational pension funds. He has in-depth knowledge of Section 75 issues, benefit changes and the powers of the Pensions Regulator.
John also has significant experience in international issues, particularly large multijurisdictional corporate transactions and on cross-border issues, and sits on the Association of Pension Lawyers’ International subcommittee.

Judith Anunda
Judith Anunda
Cardano Advisory
- Director

Judith has 17 years’ experience in the pensions industry. She joined Cardano Advisory in 2014 having previously worked at Mercer and EY pensions advisory teams. She is an experienced actuary who has worked with both trustee and sponsor clients on their schemes’ journey plans on an ongoing advisory basis, as well as during times of significant changes to their employer covenants, with a focus on how alternative risk-transfer solutions can be deployed in these situations.

Judith also has deep experience of regulatory issues and TPR’s approach, having been seconded to TPR in 2017 and 2022.

Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone
TPR
- Business Lead – Dashboards
Lara Edmonstone-West
Lara Edmonstone-West
BlackRock
- UK OCIO Business

Lara Edmonstone-West is a Director within the UK OCIO Business at BlackRock and joined the Firm in 2021. Lara's primary focus is on UK DB Pension Schemes and providing them with support in structuring an outsourced investment solution.

Previously Lara was Head of Business Development at Kempen Capital Management, and has held senior roles at River & Mercantile as a Lead Consultant and Head of Business Development, and also KPMG where Lara led the regional Reading Investment Practice. Lara has worked with schemes of varying sizes from 20m to 22bn, and on projects spanning setting up a new pension scheme to completing the journey to buy-out.

Outside of her day-to-day role, Lara is co-Head for EMEA for the Families and Allies (FAB) Network and is a Mental Health Ambassador. Lara is a CFA and CAIA Charterholder and holds a PhD and MSci from Imperial College London.

Maurice Titley
Maurice Titley
PASA
- Director at ITM
Paul Brine
Paul Brine
Dalriada Trustees
- Trustee
Peter Hughes
Peter Hughes
Travers Smith
- Partner
Richard Jones
Richard Jones
Punter Southall
- Principal

Richard Jones is the Managing Director of Punter Southall Pensions Solutions. He is a qualified actuary with almost 25 years industry experience, including over a decade heading up Punter Southall’s specialist employer consulting division, prior to the sale of all the pension consulting businesses in 2018. His particular specialism is the interaction of employer covenant with funding and investment, helping schemes to understand and navigate to the best long-term outcome for their specific circumstances. He has led over 300 complex pension projects during his career.

Robert Wakefield
Robert Wakefield
PMI
- President
Robin Harries
Robin Harries
Quietroom
- Consultant

Robin is a lead consultant at Quietroom, a London-based communications consultancy specialising in pensions, investment and insurance. He has over 10 years’ experience in marketing and communications, helping organisations talk more clearly and powerfully to their customers about what they offer. Recently, his clients have included Standard Life, Aviva, Esure, the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and HMRC.

Simon Bramwell
Simon Bramwell
Barnett Waddingham
- Partner and Head of Longevity Risk Transfers
Simon Blundell
Simon Blundell
BlackRock
- Head of Sterling Bond Portfolios

Simon Blundell, Managing Director, is Head of Sterling Bond Portfolios within BlackRock's Fundamental Fixed Income. Simon is a member of the Global Fundamental Fixed Income Exco.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2011, Simon was Head of Institutional Credit Portfolio Management at Aviva Investors where he oversaw assets across Euro, Sterling, and Global credit and aggregate products. Prior to joining Aviva in 2009, Simon spent 10 years at ABN AMRO Asset Management (later acquired by Fortis Investments where he stayed on for a year), most recently as Head of Credit. He previously held positions at HSBC Asset Management and Morgan Grenfell Asset Management.

Simon is lead portfolio manager on a number of strategies, including the BlackRock Absolute Return Bond Fund, BIBF All Stocks Corporate Bond Fund and BIBF Over 10 Year Corporate Bond Fund.

Simon is a member of the BlackRock UK Social Mobility Taskforce whose mission it is to increase representation of those from low socio-economic backgrounds at all levels of seniority across the firm, through focussing on hiring and promoting performance and potential over polish.

Sorca Kelly-Scholte
Sorca Kelly-Scholte
BlackRock
- Client Chief Investment Officer for EMEA Pensions

Sorca Kelly-Scholte, Managing Director, is Lead Client Chief Investment Officer for EMEA Pensions in Multi-Asset Strategies & Solutions (MASS).

The MASS team is the investment group at the heart of BlackRock's portfolio construction, asset allocation, and active management ecosystem. MASS draws on the full toolkit of BlackRock's index, factor, and alpha-seeking investment capabilities to deliver precise investment outcomes and cutting-edge alpha insights. MASS constructs active asset allocation strategies and whole portfolio solutions across a wide spectrum of commingled funds, separate accounts, model portfolios, and outsourcing solutions in the wealth and institutional channels. Prior to joining Blackrock in 2021, Ms Kelly-Scholte led the Pension Solutions team in EMEA at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, providing strategic advice and input to clients in the region. Before that, Sorca led strategic advisory services at Russell Investments to consulting and fiduciary management clients in Europe, designing investment strategy and de-risking glide paths for pension funds, and overseeing the implementation of those strategies. In her early career, Ms. Kelly-Scholte was a trainee actuary and consultant within the pensions team and investment consulting team at Coopers & Lybrand and Towers Perrin respectively. She has also served as a trustee on the J.P. Morgan UK Pension Plan, and continues to serve on the Policy Board of the Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association.

Ms. Kelly-Scholte holds a BA degree in Mathematics from Trinity College Dublin, and is a qualified actuary.

Thank you to our sponsors and partners for their continued support

BlackRock
BlackRock
Host
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Cardano
Cardano
Gold Sponsor
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Travers Smith
Travers Smith
Gold Sponsor
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P/E Investments LLC
P/E Investments LLC
Silver Sponsor
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Punter Southall
Punter Southall
Sponsor
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Sackers
Sackers
Sponsor
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Barnett Waddingham
Barnett Waddingham
Breakout sponsor
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Dalriada
Dalriada
Insight Partner
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Linklaters
Linklaters
Sponsor
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