Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee agrees to create new Pensions Board for Merseyside Pension Fund
I’ll start this write-up of the Pensions Committee of 17th November 2014 by declaring an interest in the Pensions Committee (which governs the Merseyside Pension Fund administered by Wirral Council). My father is one of the retired members n the Fund and is paid a pension from it.
Just before I start, there is now a brass plaque outside Committee Room 1 (where the Pensions Committee meeting was held), referring to Committee Room 1 as the Mark Delap Room in memory of Mark Delap, who was a Wirral Council employee that took minutes at public meetings who sadly passed away this year.
Links to the agenda, supplementary agenda and reports for this meeting are on Wirral Council’s website.
Video of the first nine agenda items of the meeting can be viewed in the Youtube video below.
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Pensions Committee (Wirral Council) 17th November 2014 Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall starting at 6.00pm
First a bit of background about who’s on the Pensions Committee, what it does and why. There are ten councillors from Wirral Council (6 Labour, 3 Conservative, 1 Lib Dem). Two of these couldn’t make it so sent deputies. Cllr Eddie Boult (Conservative) was deputising for Cllr Mike Hornby (Conservative) and Cllr Dave Mitchell (Lib Dem) was deputising for Cllr Chris Carubia (Lib Dem spokesperson).
The others from Wirral present were Cllr Paul Doughty (Chair, Labour), Cllr Harry Smith (Labour), Cllr Treena Johnson (Labour), Cllr Cherry Povall (Conservative), Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative spokesperson), Cllr Ann McLachlan (Labour), Cllr George Davies (Labour) and Cllr Adrian Jones (Labour).
In addition to the Wirral Council councillors there are councillors representing the other councils on Merseyside. There was Councillor John Fulham (Labour) from St. Helens Council and Councillor Norman Keats (Labour) from Knowsley Council.
There are also other representatives on the Pension Committee, such as the representative for retired members, trade unions et cetera.
The Pensions Committee governs the running of the £multi-billion Merseyside Pension Fund (which is administered by Wirral Council).
The meeting started and a number of councillors declared interests.
1. Declarations of Interest
Cllr Norman Keats (Knowsley) declared a pecuniary interest as a member of the Merseyside Pension Fund.
Cllr Paul Doughty (Wirral Council) declared an interest as his wife is a member of the Merseyside Pension Fund.
Cllr George Davies (Wirral Council) declared an interest as his wife is a member of the Merseyside Pension Fund.
Others on the Pension Committee declared interests as members of the Merseyside Pension Fund.
The minutes of the meeting held on the 15th September 2014 were agreed.
The Chair brought people’s attention to item 37 (Annual Employers Conference) that was being held on Thursday 27th November 2014 at Aintree Racecourse.
An officer explained that he, Peter Wallach and Yvonne Caddock would be speaking at the conference. However there would also be external speakers from industry. Lunch would be provided and he encouraged attendance. The Chair said that he was looking forward to it. No one had any questions.
3. LGPS Update
Yvonne Caddock (Principal Pension Officer) spoke to her report.
Cllr Harry Smith asked her a question about the reference in the report to the Working Party. Yvonne Caddock apologised and explained that the reference was to the Shadow Board creating a Working Party.
Cllr Ann McLachlan asked if a response was made to the consultation. Yvonne Caddock said that it hadn’t been their intention to respond because they had responded in June and the revised provisions had reflected the comments they had made in June.
She continued that part of the consultation was on cost management which had been discussed at a CIPFA conference last week and that Bob Holloway had said that there were only five people in the country that understand the cost management process so they were best placed to leave that to the actuarial firms to comment on that.
Cllr Geoffrey Watt (Conservative spokesperson) asked about 2.5 in the report for Yvonne Caddock to explain the change over who can sit on the Local Pension Board.
Yvonne Caddock explained that the published draft regulations had removed the previous requirement about majorities on the Board. It was in her view now permissible for councillors to be on the Pension Board and in her report it stated that they could as long as the councillor was not also a member of the Pension Committee or had responsibility for the discharge of any LGPS function.
It was agreed that the contents of the report were noted.
4. Creation of New Pension Board
Yvonne Caddock introduced her report on the new requirement for a Pension Board.
Cllr Dave Mitchell asked if a councillors on a “select committee” could be part of the decision making?
Yvonne Caddock answered that members of the Pension Committee were not allowed to be members of the Pension Board due to the conflict of interest. She also gave more detail as to the type and number of those who would be on the Pension Board and how they would try to balance it across the different types of employers in the Merseyside Pension Fund.
Cllr Dave Mitchell thanked Yvonne Caddock for her answer and moved the recommendations at 14.0 which were:
To note the contents of the report and in particular the requirements for the Council to establish a Pension Board by 1 April 2015.
That Members authorise fund officers to work with the Administering Authority to develop arrangements for the establishment of a Pensions Board which ensure the requirements in the guidance issued by the Secretary of State are fulfilled. Details of those arrangements will be reported to a future meeting of this Committee.
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