41.1. The Board considered a report providing a general update on matters related to the Board’s activity including the pension administration.
41.2. The Chair said he understood that a lot of effort had been made to retain the Pension Administration Manager appointed in October, but that he had decided to leave for personal reasons.
41.3. Angie Embury (AE) expressed serious concerns about the pension administration of the ESPF by Orbis and said that she would raise these with both Unison and CIPFA.
41.4. SM said that the Board and Pension Committee have been expressing serious concerns about pensions administration for a long time and had hoped that the new appointment would have started to resolve these issues. She said she felt that there was not sufficient evidence that the situation would be resolved and that further assurance was needed.
41.5. BR noted that ESPF employers had been informed in January about the potential significant liabilities the Fund could face if Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) Reconciliation process was not resolved correctly. He was concerned that the Fund was in this situation given that the Board had asked for several years for the GMP process to be completed in a timely manner to avoid this uncertainty.
41.6. Ian Gutsell (IG) clarified that HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) had moved its deadline to respond to GMP queries raised by Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) from 21 December to April 2019. The Fund would therefore not expect to hear any responses to queries until after that date, meaning that liabilities to the Fund would not be known until later than anticipated. OO explained that JLT was being asked for an update on how they were progressing towards the deadline of April 2019 and that the Board would be updated once this was known. He said that there was no significant difference in JLT’s progress against the company’s own agreed timeline since the previous update in November.
41.7. The Chair said he suspected that HMRC had moved the deadline as a number of LGPSs had submitted their queries at the last minute. He felt it likely that the Fund would not know its liabilities for several more months.
41.8. OO confirmed that there will be a dedicated resource based in Lewes focussing on achieving the Annual Benefit Statement deadline by 31 August. The Chair observed that this was a step forward but would reserve judgement until after the deadline passed.
41.9. OO explained that three full-time temporary employees had been hired to perform the Membership Data Cleansing exercise in order to provide accurate data ahead of the triennial evaluation, ensuring that employer contribution rates are set accurately. AE expressed concern that additional Fund monies were being spent given the ongoing concerns about Orbis’ ability to deliver the service it was required to.
41.10. The Chair asked what sanction the Pensions Regulator had imposed for the data cleansing breach in September 2018. OO said that he would confirm this via email.
41.11. The Board RESOLVED to:
1) note the report;
2) request a report to the 10 June Board meeting on the organisational arrangements for the pension administration service.