Pensions News

Pension News 10/06


The Secretariat

Those of you who ring the Secretariat may notice that there has been a change to the staffing levels. As part of an ongoing reduction in costs the Trustees decided to make the part-time position of Secretarial/Administrative Assistant redundant. This has resulted in Vicki Apps leaving the Secretariat and taking up a life of leisure with more time to spend enjoying her numerous hobbies.

This leaves Richard and me to carry on with the day to day running of the Fund and the reduction in staff should not affect the standard of service you have been receiving.


There have been changes in the Trustee Board, as well, with Stewart Lee (Forth pilot) resigning from the Board and retiring from pilotage. Tony Anderton (Bristol pilot) has stepped up as a full Trustee with Alastair Gibson (Forth pilot) becoming a new Alternate Trustee.

On the Port side David Holmes has retired as an Alternate and Graeme Clark, Aberdeen, taking his place as an Alternate Trustee.

Investment Strategy

The Trustees are continuing to implement their investment strategy with the last £10m tranche disinvested from the equities portfolio and transferred to Quellos at the end of October. This completed the second phase of the strategy and the Trustees will be discussing the third phase at their November quarterly meeting.

Summary of Funding Statement

In accordance with current legislation and Government dictates the Summary of Funding Statement was sent out to all P.N.P.F. members on 20 September 2006. I am pleased to report that the mass hysteria expected by some pension pundits did not occur among P.N.P.F. members. It appears most members realised that the Statement represented a snapshot of pensions at a particular date and that shortfalls should continue to reduce over time. Although I will admit that there were a few telephone calls seeking clarification on one or two points.

Benefit changes

Flexible Retirement

From 1 January 2007 the Trustees have agreed that flexible retirement will be allowed in the PNPF. This means you cold continue to work as a pilot while receiving your pension from the PNPF. There are three caveats attached to this option which are:

·        You must be over age 50 (age 55 from B2010)

·        Once your PNPF pension has been put into payment you will not be allowed to continue to contribute to the PNPF or accrue any future pensionable service.  Your entitlement to death in service and ill health benefits will also cease.

·        You must have the consent of your Competent Harbour Authority.

The Association’s Payment Proposal

The Trustees have been in consultation with the Association of Participating Bodies in the PNPF (the “Association”) regarding the Fund’s level of funding. This culminated in the Association putting forward a voluntary payment proposal to the Trustees. The proposal has the support of the majority, but not all, of the CHAs with employed and self-employed active pilots, is voluntary and is not legally binding on either the Trustees or the CHAs.

Following actuarial and legal advice the Trustees agreed to accept the Association’s proposal, which is retrospective from 1 January 2006 and payable over a 5 year time period.

News in General

Disclosure Regulations

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced that the draft regulations which were due to come into force in October have been dropped. The new regulations would have introduced annual benefit statements for defined benefit (DB) schemes (the PNPF already provides these) and the concept of information disclosure within a

“reasonable time”.

Age Discrimination

New laws covering age discrimination are to be postponed for two months and will now come into effect on 1 December 2006. The Government says it intends to use the delay to change the Regulations so as to clarify what is permitted and what is not. The postponement will give Trustees longer to prepare for the changes.

Age Regulations

Judicial review proceedings have been commenced by Heyday, on behalf of Age Concern, to challenge the Government’s introduction of a national default age of 65.

Contributions up, Membership down

A recent survey by the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) reveals that employer pension contributions rates in the private sector are increasing while the number of members of schemes is falling.

Pensions experiment

A recent experiment challenged 26 households, aged between 30 and 50, to live off the equivalent disposable income today’s pensioners received if they relied on the state pension. All but one household, overspent their state pension allowance by 158 per cent. The majority spending their weekly entitlement within three days.

Debbie Marten

Pension News 07/06



Well 6 April 2006 (A-Day) has come and gone and both Richard and I appear to have survived, but it has been a dramatic change and it is clear that it will be some time before the dust completely settles. The new rules are radically different and we have a whole new set of terms and acronyms to get used to. Expressions like Benefit Crystallisation Event (BCE) and Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PLCS). Well I suppose it keeps us from becoming complacent!

Rules & Explanatory Brochure

Benefit changes arising from the 2004 valuation as well as tax simplification have meant major revisions to the Explanatory Brochures and the Rules. We hope to be in a position to provide pilots with updated copies in the near future.

Annual Report & Accounts 2005

The Trustees Annual Report & Accounts for the year ending 31 December 2005 has been sent out to all active pilots and pensioners of the Fund. If you have not received a copy and wish to do so please contact the Secretariat on tel. no. 01732 779460.

Investment Strategy

The Trustees are in the process of implementing the investment strategy, as recommended by the Investment Consultant, following his review of the Fund’s asset allocation. To this end on 1st November 2005 £40m was disinvested from the equities portfolio and transferred to Goldman Sachs Investment Management for investment in their fund of hedge funds, Direct Strategies II.  A further £50m is to be disinvested from equities and transferred to Quellos Europe Limited for investment in their fund of hedge funds QIP Ltd. This investment will commence from 1 July 2006.

Once the value adding assets are in place the Trustees will be turning their attention to the bonds and equity managers.

Summary of Funding Statement

By no later than 22 September 2006 the Trustees must send to members an annual funding statement. If no scheme funding valuation has been completed prior to this date then the funding statement must be based on the most recent MFR valuation.  The statement will be the members’ main source of information on how securely their benefits are being financed and must explain the relationship between the assets and the benefits already accrued under the Fund. It should also cover the main risks to members of the Trustees’ investment strategy.

The challenge for the Trustees will be to put the information in a context that is user friendly and easy to understand.

Government White Paper

In 2002 the Government established a Pensions Commission, headed by Adair Turner, to investigate the existing ‘voluntarist’ approach to retirement saving in the UK. The Commission has since published three reports.

The first report set out the results of the Commission’s investigation into retirement savings. It stated that unless people were prepared to work longer, pay more tax and save more they would have to accept poorer retirements.

The Commission’s second report set out their proposals of how the three-pronged approach – save more, pay more tax or work longer – should be balanced. The third report was a short reply to some of the criticisms levelled at the second report.  In its White Paper, Security in Retirement – towards a new pensions system, published on 25 May 2006 the Government set out how the Commission’s proposals will be put into effect. The main features of the White Paper are:-State pension increases will be re-linked to earnings rather than prices by 2012, subject to an affordability test that could delay the change until 2015.

State second pension (S2P) will be a flatrate weekly pension payment of £60 by 2030.

Contracting-out for defined contribution schemes will be abolished.

The proportion of pensioners on meanstesting is estimated to fall from 45% to 33%.

State pension age for women will rise from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020.  There will be further rises for both men and women beginning with an increase from 65 to 66 in 2024, then again to 67 in 2044 and finally to 68 in 2046.  Employees will be automatically enrolled into the National Pension Savings Scheme (NPSS) at the age of 22 and will pay 4% of salary. Employers must contribute 3% while the Government will contribute 1% in the form of tax relief.  The number of years of National Insurance Contributions (NIC) needed to qualify for a full basic state pension will be cut to 30 (currently women need 39 years of contributions while men need 44).  Reduction of burdens on schemes by bringing forward legislation to allow schemes to convert guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) rights into scheme benefits.

Age Discrimination Regulations

On 1 October 2006 The Age

Discrimination Regulations come into effect. The impact on occupational pension schemes is that there will now be a national default retirement age of 65, making compulsory retirement below 65 unlawful unless objectively justified.  Employees will now have the right to request to work beyond 65 or any other retirement age set by the company. The employer has a duty to consider such requests.

Working Past Age 65

The Government’s White Paper has restored the link between the basic state pension and rises in average earnings which was broken in 1980 by Margaret Thatcher, but to fund this change the state pension age will now rise to 68.  A recent survey carried out on 243 U.K.  pension providers revealed that 85% of schemes say their members do not want to work beyond age 65. Only 27% of schemes surveyed said they actively encourage members to stay on after the age of 65. And of the individuals questioned only 11% intend to retire at an age older than 65 with nearly two-thirds looked to retire before that age.

Given the results of the survey you have to wonder if the Government really knows what Joe Public wants.

Debbie Marten

Pension News 04/06



February saw the handover of the Chairmanship of the Trustee Board from Ports to Pilots and Richard Williamson, a Boston pilot, was duly appointed to this position at the meeting held on 28th February 2006.

Aside from this little has changed at the Secretariat as we are still working hard trying to cope with all the changes arising from the Pensions and Finance Acts 2004 and the triennial valuation as well as the impact these will have on our systems, understanding of pensions and communicating it simply but sufficiently to members. Hopefully by the time you read this the worst of it will be over and we will have managed to have communicated and coped with all the changes successfully.


It is beginning to feel like that by the time the ramifications of this valuation are finally done and dusted it will be time for the 2007 one to start.

The finalisation of the results of the triennial valuation was considered an appropriate time to review the factors used by the PNPF when calculating the various benefit options available to members. The two factors of particular relevance to members are:

·        The Early Retirement Factor (ERF)

·        Commutation Factor

It is the Fund’s practice to reduce a member’s pension if taken before normal retirement age. This is because it is expected that the member’s pension will be paid for a longer period of time and thus the funds underpinning the pension will be invested for a shorter period of time. The factors are designed to be cost neutral to the pension being given up. At their February meeting the Trustees agreed to adopt the recommendation of the fund’s actuary and these factors became effective on 28 February 2006.

The Fund’s commutation factor had been 10 since the beginning of 1991, but the Trustees were advised by the actuary that although administratively easy and simple for members to understand it was, he felt, inequitable. It was agreed that age related factors that reflected the differences in the expected term of pension payments and thus the value of the pension being given up would be adopted as from 28.02.2006. The revised factors are:

Ages                      Factor

65, 64                      12

63, 62                      13

61, 60                      14

59, 58                      15

57, 56, 55                16


Pension regulations continued to change during the course of 2005. Those effective from April 2005 were covered in my article of April 2005. Those that have come into force since are:

From December 2005

The new scheme funding and investment requirements came into force on 30 December 2005. The main requirement of the investment regulations is the Statement of Investment Principles (SIP), which the Trustees must review once every three years and without delay after any significant change in investment policy.  The Trustees must also consult with employers on the content of their SIP. The SIP must cover:

·        The kinds of investment held.

·        Balance between the investments

·        The ways in which risks are measured and managed.

·        Expected return

·        Realisation of investments

·        Extent to which social, environmental or ethical considerations are taken into account.

Scheme Specific Funding replaces the Minimum Funding Requirement (MFR)

for valuations occurring after 23rd

September 2005.

It now falls to the Trustees to decide both which actuarial method is used (provided that it is one of the accrued benefits methods) and also the value of the various economic, financial and demographic assumptions that are to be applied.

From 6 April 2006

Scheme Rule Changes

Employers will be required to consult members if schemes are closed or changed for the future.

Cash Transfers or Refunds

Members who have at least 3 months but no more than 24 months qualifying service must be offered either a transfer payment based on the underlying benefits or a refund of their own contributions.

Benefit Changes

Members have already been notified of the changes arising out of the valuation and tax simplification so I do not propose utilising space to reiterate what members already know. If you have not received a letter please let me know and I will ensure that a further copy is posted off to you.


Amended Explanatory Brochures and PNPF Rules will be sent out to members as soon as they have been reprinted.


Members should have, by now, received their annual benefit statement for 2005.  Apologies for the delay in getting them out but changes in benefits have meant that these statements have had to be manually calculated and checked. Your patience during this process was greatly appreciated.


On 22nd March 2006 the Chancellor delivered his Spring Budget Report. The general theme of this Budget was avoidance and how to plug the loopholes.

The general points of interest are:


Single Person

Aged under 65 £5035

Aged 65-74 £7280

Aged 75+ £7420

Aged income limit £19,500

Married Couple’s Allowance

Aged under 75 £6065

Aged 75 and over £6135

Age income limit £20,100

Blind Person Allowance £1610

Income Tax Bands

Starting rate 10% 0 – £2150

Basic rate 22% £2015 – £33,300

Higher rate 40% Over £33,300

Debbie Marten

Pension News 01/06


This is a summary of my presentation given to the UKMPA at their annual conference held in Maidstone in November 2005.

PNPF 2005

Last November when I said that we would hit the floor running in 2005 I was not mistaken although not all our running was in straight lines and occasionally we ran in circles and sometimes it felt like we were disappearing up the proverbial. 2005 has seen meetings, changes and loads of training just in case we were getting bored.

Considering the amount of time the Trustees have had to dedicate to the Fund

this year it makes you ask: Who wants to be a Trustee?

Following Maxwell’s nose dive from his yacht pension reforms started coming through thick and fast in the form of the Pensions Act 1995, the Myners’ Review, and the Pension and Finance Acts 2004.  The upshot is the role of a scheme trustee in 2006 will be unrecognisable from what it was in 1986 and even 1996. Gone are the days of meetings only lasting until lunchtime.

During the course of 2005 the Trustees

have attended 4 quarterly Trustees’ meetings, 4 meetings covering the valuation, investment strategies and training, 1 beauty parade and a subcommittee meeting twice to discuss tax simplification. In addition to the extra workload, from April 2006 the Pensions Act 2004 legally requires Trustees to know and understand the law relating to pensions and trusts, general funding and investment principles, as well as being conversant with scheme documentation. Failure to do so could result in personal liability.

In relation to the Fund the Trustees will be required to be conversant with the Trust Deed and Rules; the Statement of Investment Principles; The Statement of Funding Principles; the Annual Report and Accounts and the Scheme booklets.

In addition they must have appropriate knowledge and understanding of the law relating to pensions and trusts; the principles of funding occupational pension schemes; and the principles of investing the assets of occupational pension schemes.  To assist in this The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is issuing a Code of Practice setting out the parameters of knowledge and understanding involved.

Tax Simplification

One of the subjects exercising the minds of the trustees this year was tax simplification.  After much deliberations the measures the trustees have decided to adopt, from 6 April 2006, are as follows:

Additional Voluntary Contributions

From April 2006 the trustees have decided to only offer the Open Market Option to members deciding to take all or part of their AVCs as an annuity. This means the ability to purchase an additional pension from the Fund will no longer be available.

On the upside, following clarification in the 2005 Finance Act members can take 25% of the value of their benefits from each pension arrangement, meaning the AVCs can now be considered together with the main scheme benefits. In simple terms all AVCs members will be able to take at least 25% of their AVC fund as cash, and possibly all of it, to the extent that it is no more than 25% of the total value of benefits provided through the Fund.

Lifetime Allowance (LTA)

This has been touched on previously but in order to determine whether members will require Enhanced or Primary Protection Aon Consulting are carrying out an exercise to determine which members may have benefits in excess of the current LTA, or may exceed the LTA should they continue to NRA.

In addition active members have been sent, by the Secretariat, a form for completion to ensure that all your benefits are taken into account when calculating the total value of your benefits.

Pension Commencement Lump Sum


I do not know why the powers that be felt the need to change the name of the taxfree cash sum, maybe they thought the Inland Revenue would leave it alone if the took away the words tax-free.

Members will now be able to take 25% of the total value of their benefits as a lump sum, although it is not really 25% that is just to confuse you. The maximum cash sum can be expressed as:

Pre Commutation Pension x 20 x 10 20 + (3 x 10) (10 being the Fund’s commutation factor).

This sum must not exceed:

º (PCLS + (Residual Pension x 20).

This is after all simplification!

Five Year Guarantee

This remains the same but will now be known as a Defined Benefits Lump Sum Death Benefit.

Flexible Retirement

The Trustees have agreed to allow members to draw their PNPF benefits whilst remaining in pilotage, with the proviso that no future benefits will accrue in the PNPF and your CHAs agreement would be necessary to avoid any manpower issues.

Children’s Pensions

Children’s pensions that become payable after 06.04.2006 will have an upper age limit of 23 if remaining in full-time education this has been reduced down from age 25 currently permitted under the Rules.

PNPF Rules

Two changes in PNPF Rules arising from the Valuation were effected in June 2005. A new Rule 14(4) allows the Trustees to seek additional funding from an employed port should they cease to have PNPF pilots and wish to cease participating in the PNPF to cover the CHAs portion of the deficit. The second is a new Rule 19(3) which apportions a member’s service between the pre 01.08.05 and post 01.08.05 retirement ages.

Pensions Act 2004

Key provisions of the Pensions Act 2004 came into force on 6 April 2005.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) was established.

The Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) was established.

The pensions Regulator (TPR) was

established in place of OPRA.

New minimum compulsory increases in pensions in payment for service after 6 April 2005 will be the lesser of 2.5% or the increase in the Retail Price Index. (This has not been adopted by the Trustees).

Armageddon (not the end of the World)

A recent survey carried out by YouGov on around 2200 people showed that while 16% knew A-Day referred to the new pension tax simplification regime, around 11% thought it was the day the world would end. A further 46% thought A-Day stood for Armistice Day and 19% said it was the day A-Level results were published.  Communication is obviously not the pensions’ media forte!

Debbie Marten


Pension News 10/05



I cannot believe we are in the last quarter of 2005 with just one more trustees meeting before the end of the year and the hustle and bustle of Christmas holidays to look forward to (although some of us get a pre-Christmas practice at Thanksgiving). Still the first three quarters of 2005 proved to be very busy for the Secretariat and I have no doubt that the last quarter will be the same.


The 2004 triennial valuation has been presented to the trustees and like many UK pension schemes it shows a deteriorating funding position. On an on-going funding basis the Fund shows a funding level of 76% compared to 90% three years ago.  The main reasons for the deterioration are the improving life expectancy of members and lower interest rates.

To address the funding deficit the

Trustees have raised the normal retirement age of Existing Members for future accrual and carried out a substantial review of the asset allocation to determine how best to take the Fund forward. Perhaps most importantly the Trustees have obtained legal advice and a QC’s opinion and are now in discussions with the Participating Bodies and the UKMPA to decide how to deal with the deficit and formulate a recovery plan.


Following the results of the triennial valuation the Trustees commissioned a review of the investment strategy. Although formal recommendations have yet to be received from the Investment Consultant the Trustees have agreed, following consultation with the employers, to invest 10% of the Fund’s assets in Goldman Sachs’ Direct Strategies funds. These funds are targeting high performance returns without increasing the Fund’s risk.


In late July forms were sent to all active members of the PNPF requesting details of any other retirement benefits they may have in order to determine whether they should be seeking independent advice prior to ‘ADay’ (6 April 2006). Although we have had a good response the majority of the forms are still outstanding. Please would you return your forms.


Next year it is back to the classroom for trustees regardless of their standing or experience. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will require them to show an understanding of pension law and practice as well as funding and investment. It cannot be avoided as in 2007 they will be required to report to the Headmaster (TPR) on how much learning they have done. They will not, however, have to pass any exams.


With effect from 6 April 2005 the Pensions Protection Fund and The Pensions Regulator were established.


The Pensions Protection Fund has published a guide to PPF levies for 2005/06.  These levies apply to defined benefit schemes and will be in two parts:

An initial levy of £15 for each active member or pensioner (including spouses and dependants) and £5 for each deferred member.

An administrative levy based on the number of members in a scheme, ranging from £24 per member for a scheme with less than 12 members to £0.74 per member for a scheme with over 10,000 members.


From 6 April 2005 The Pensions Regulator (TPR) came into existence. The TPR takes over Opra’s responsibility for the regulation of occupational pension schemes with much expanded and more powerful functions.


At the end of June 2005 The Pensions Regulator (TPR) sent out scheme return forms to 8000 occupational pension schemes. The returns asked for basic information including the scheme type and status, membership, details about trustees and advisers, financial information and details about participating employers.  The trustees had eight weeks, until the end of August, to complete and return the forms. For the PNPF it was a bit like trying to put a square peg in a round hole given the uniqueness of the Fund.


From 5 December 2005 the Civil

Partnership Act will come into effect. This Act will bring with it a package of rights and responsibilities very similar to the legal status of married couples. Pension schemes will be required to provide survivor’s benefits for members of civil partners.  Legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation will be amended so that civil partners must be treated in the same way as married couples.  In addition pension sharing orders will be available for civil partnerships that end.



For the first time the number of Defined Contribution (DC) schemes has overtaken the number of still open Defined Benefit (DB) schemes according to a survey published by Hewitt Associates.

The survey covered approximately 350 schemes and showed that 32% of organisations now offer DC compared to 28% with a DB scheme that was still open.  29% have a final salary scheme closed to new entrants while the remaining 11% consisted of schemes closed to further contributions and various forms of hybrid schemes.

An alarming trend is that fewer than 50% of employees covered by DC schemes actually contribute anything themselves.  This, coupled with the fact that employers almost always pay in much less than under DB schemes, means that amount of money being put aside for the next generation of pensions is falling sharply.

Debbie Marten



The Secretariat

Richard, Vicki and I are still all here in Sevenoaks, enjoying the sunshine while working hard with the Trustees to .nalise the 2004 valuation, review the Fund’s investment strategy as well as our investment managers. All this while trying to come to grips with new pensions legislation and how it will affect the Fund means that while Sevenoaks may be somnolent the Secretariat certainly is not.

Annual Report & Accounts 2004

The Trustees’ Annual Report & Accounts for year ending 31 December 2004 have been sent out to all active pilots and pensioners of the Fund. If you have not received a copy and wish to do so please contact the Secretariat on tel. no. 01732 779460.

Valuation as at 31 December 2004

The results of the 2004 valuation showed that the current contribution rate of 21% was not suf.cient to cover active members’ future accrual of bene.t. To bring the underlying contribution rate down to the rate actually being paid and to minimise the impact on members the Trustees have decided to raise the normal retirement age for Existing Members (pilots who joined before 08.08.2002) from 60 to 65 for bene.ts accruing after 31 July 2005.

This does not affect bene.ts accrued to 31.07.2005, but means when your pension becomes payable it will be paid in two tranches; the pension based on service to 31 July 2005 which will not be subjected to a reduction from age 60 onwards and the pension based on service from 1 August 2005 which will be discounted by such amount as the Actuary shall determine, if taken prior to age 65.

Investment Review

In conjunction with the triennial valuation the Trustees are in the process of reviewing the Fund’s investment strategy which may involve a change in asset allocation and/or investment managers. It is a case of watch this space!


I though I would devote part of this article to a brief synopsis of the other topics exercising the minds of the pensions’ industry at the current time.


Adair Turner, Pension Commission chairman, speaking at a recent annual dinner said the government must set up a fully funded compulsory pension scheme, which is his clearest hint yet that compulsion will be part of his .nal report in the autumn. Whereas the Prime Minister has reiterated Gordon Brown’s statement that compulsory pension saving will not be introduced in this Parliament.


According to David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the government, stakeholders and the general public must work together if a consensus on future pension reforms is to be achieved.  Unfortunately Adair Turner claims that the major players in the pensions industry are standing in the way of reform because they cannot agree on how it should be achieved. Most bodies agree that there needs to be simpli.cation and a reduction in the ubiquitous means-testing, but are divided on how to proceed. There is also divided opinion on what the state pension age should be with some in favour of increasing it to 70 by 2030 and others like the TUC and Age Concern vehemently against. (Nothing changes)


A recent survey showed that 55% of women compared to 71% of men were contributing towards a private pension scheme for their retirement. Twice as many women than men expect to retire at 60 (some of us think 55 sounds good) while more than a quarter of the males surveyed expected to work until 65.


The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) believes its Citizen’s Pension proposals would support the government’s twin objectives of encouraging saving and

extending working lives. The NAPF propose replacing the present complexity of state provision with a single, universal, .at rate payment worth at least £105 a week at current prices and rising in line with earnings. The proposed introduction date is 2010 with eligibility being determined by a simple residency test



Research shows that UK workers remain sceptical about pensions because of media stories of victims of scheme wind-ups losing most of their savings. A recent report commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that people did not trust occupation pension schemes.

Some 80,000 U.K. workers may lose up to 90% of their promised pension due to company insolvency. Even though the Government has set up the Financial Assistance Scheme it is widely know that the £400m set aside is grossly inadequate.



The Faculty and Institute of Actuaries Staff Pension Scheme is facing a shortfall of £4.4m. To rectify the de.cit the Faculty and Institute will now make annual contributions of 29.2% plus annual payments of £400,000 for the next ten years.


The House of Lords has struck a blow for Britons retiring aboard by throwing out a test case appeal by an expat to have her UK state pension increased in line with UK residents. It was determined that the annual index-linked pension increase only applied to expats living in the US and EU and not South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.

Debbie Marten


Pension News 04/05






At the end of 2004 the Trustees decided to carry out a review of the Fund’s actuarial and investment consultancy provider (as far as I can ascertain this is the first one in 33 years). Invitations to Tender were sent out to the main four providers, including the incumbent Watson Wyatt, and interviews were carried out. Two firms impressed the Trustees, but at the end of the day it was Aon Consulting that the Trustees selected.  So we now have a new actuary coming to grips with the idiosyncrasies of the PNPF while carrying out a triennial valuation.


The Fund is currently undergoing a triennial valuation as at 31 December 2004. By mid February the valuation data had been submitted to the actuary and the draft accounts followed on a month later. It is hoped to have the preliminary results available to the Trustees by late April with an aim to finalise details in May. The Trustees will then review the present strategic investment policy of the fund in light of the changed investment climate, the Fund’s financial position and its liability profile at the end of 2004


As from 6 April 2005 there have been a few changes in pensions regulations. This date sees the establishment of a New Kind of Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR)

The Pensions Regulator will take the place of the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (OPRA) set up under the 1995 Pensions Act. With the new title comes new powers. The new Regulator will build on the success of Opra, but will be more proactive and will focus its activities on the key risks to members’ benefits. These activities include:

·        Protect the benefits of members of work-based pension schemes;

·        Promote the good administration of work-based pensions; and

·        Reduce the risk of situations arising which may lead to claims for compensation from the Pensions Protection Fund. Guidance on compliance with pensions legislation and various codes of practice setting out standards of conduct and practice will be provided by the TPR. In April two codes will take effect; on whistle blowing and notifiable events. These codes can be found on the TPR’s website

The Pensions Protection Fund (PPF)

This Fund applies to final salary schemes only and aims to help members of schemes when an employer becomes insolvent and the scheme does not have sufficient fund to pay the expected level of benefits. Initially the PPF will be funded by a levy on the scheme of:

• £15 for active members, pensioners and widows;

• £5 for deferred members

It is expected that the levy will double next


The benefits to be protected will be:

·        Pensioners will receive 100% of entitlement capped at £27,778; and

·        Actives and deferreds 90% of entitlement capped at £25,000


On 16th March 2005 the Chancellor delivered his last budget before the General Election. Some of the measures were directly aimed at winning over the grey vote. £1.8 billion of the spending measures include:

·        £200 Council tax refund to pensioners in 2005/06.

·        doubling of the starting threshold of stamp duty land tax to £120,000.

·        free off-peak bus travel for over 65s from April 2005.

·        increase in Child Tax Credit in line with earnings until 2007-08.

·        inheritance tax allowance to be raised by £36,000 over 3 years to £300,000.

·        increased spending on education.


Single Person

Aged under 65 £4,895

Aged 65-74 £7,090

Aged 75+ £7,220

Aged income limit £19,500

Married Couple’s Allowance

Aged under 75 £5,905

Aged 75 and over £5,975

Age income limit £19,500

Blind Person Allowance


Income Tax Bands

Starting rate 10% 0 – £2,090

Basic rate 22% £2,090 – £32,400

Higher rate 40% Over £32,400

Pensions Earning Cap

The pensions earning cap for all post April 1989 joiners of occupational pension schemes has been raised to £105,600 for the 2005/06 tax year. This cap will be superseded by legislation due to come into effect on 6 April 2006.

Civil Partnership Acts

This Act takes effect from December 2005 and from this date couples who enter into a civil partnership will be taxed in the same way as married couples.

Debbie Marten


Pension News 01/05



This is a summary of a speech given to the UKMPA at their annual conference held in Eastbourne in November 2004.


2004 has been a year of media hype and hysteria over the pensions’ crises and the Government’s attempts to restore public confidence through:

·        Financial Assistance Scheme

·        Pensions Protection Fund

·        Finance Act 2004

·        The Pensions Commission Report

And on the 18 November the Pensions Bill received Royal Assent. Most will have an impact on the PNPF, but what are they hoping to achieve?


Although the Pensions Bill makes provision for a Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) to pay pensions when an insolvent employer withdraws from an underfunded defined benefit scheme, this does not come into effect until April 2005. More importantly it does not cover employers of underfunded schemes that commenced wind-up prior to this date.

It is estimated that some 65,000 members face losses of 20% or more of their pension. So after much lobbying the Government agreed to make £400 million available in a Financial Assistance Scheme to provide compensation for the thousands of workers who have lost benefits because their schemes have been wound up while underfunded prior to April 2005. This sum of money is to be spread over 20 years and this scheme is open to the industry to provide further support. According to the Government the pensions industry has an “ethical duty” to contribute towards the FAS to help restore the public’s confidence in pensions.

The design of the FAS has not been finalised, however it will be used to top-up benefits in existing schemes. The current expectation is that the legislative framework should be in place by Spring 2005 with the first payment to be made as soon as possible after this date.


The PPF is one of the provisions covered by the Pensions Bill and is due to be launched in April 2005. It will provide “core” benefits for members of under-funded defined benefit schemes where the sponsoring employer has become insolvent. The compensation fund will cover 100% of benefits for members who have reached the Fund’s retirement age and 90% for members below that age subject to an overall cap of £25,000 p.a.

The pensions protection levy, payable by pension schemes, will comprise two elements, one based on scheme specific factors, such as the number of member and the second based on risk-related factors, such as the funding levels of schemes. In other words the schemes most likely to claim will pay more.


This Act received Royal Assent on 22 July 2004 and introduces a new simplified tax regime for occupational and personal pension schemes and will be effective from 6 April 2006.

This is the most profound overhaul of tax treatment since the establishment of formal tax approval in 1921. Eight different regimes will be replaced by one single regime. The onus will be on scheme members rather than the scheme for policing the new regime with allowances, one lifetime and one annual, replacing benefit and contribution limits

The Lifetime Allowance (LTA)

When benefits are put into payment their value must be tested against the LTA, any excess will be subject to a tax charge.  The limit is the maximum amount that a member may take from all forms of registered pensions savings. The level of the LTA for the next five tax years starts at £1.5m and moves up to £1.8m for 2010/ 2011.

The Annual Allowance

In addition to the lifetime allowance there will also be an annual limit known as the annual allowance. This allowance ranges from £215,000 in 2006 to £255,000 in 2010.

For members who have already reached the LTA limit it will be possible to protect rights accrued within approved arrangements before A-Day provided the benefits are within existing Inland Revenue limits. If members have benefits in excess of these limits and the rights have not been protected then a recovery charge will be applied to the net excess.

The two types of protection are:


This type of protection can only be used if the member’s benefits from all approved schemes of which he was a member are greater than £1.5m on ‘A’-day.


This type of protection is available to any member with accrued benefits at ‘A’-day, however no further benefit accrual or contribution will be allowed into the pension scheme.

Members will have until April 2009 to register claims with the Inland Revenue for primary or enhanced protection.


The Pensions Bill received Royal Assent on 18 November 2004 and although the majority of the measures will be introduced from April 2006 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that it expects the following measures to be introduced from April 2005.

·        The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR)

·        Pension rights on TUPE transfers

·        Change in Limited Price Indexation

(LPI) for defined benefit schemes

·        Withdrawal of the need to provide LPI for defined contribution schemes



Adair Turner as Chairman of the

Pensions Commission has recently

published his interim report on the UK pensions system entitled Pensions:

Challenges and Choices. It looks into the adequacy of pension savings and provision in the UK and lays out the choices and challenges facing individuals and society.  The report comments that the government has seriously overestimated the level of retirement savings and if the voluntary system is to survive the number of employers contribution to schemes will have to rise.

The interim report’s task was to describe the situation and quantify it. In the second report due out in the Autumn of 2005 the Commission will make recommendations and consider what adjustments should now be made.


2005 will be a busy year for the Secretariat and the Trustees as well as we all come to grips with the new legislation and how it will affect the PNPF Added to this a triennial valuation is due as from 31.12.2004 so data will need to be collected and transferred to the actuary during the beginning of 2005.

Debbie Marten

Pension News 10/04




From November 2004 it will be a busy 18 months or so for all of us in the Secretariat and the Trustees as well. In addition to the normal day to day running of the Fund the triennial valuation is due as from 31 December 2004 and we will be working hard at providing the actuary with all the information and data he will need to calculate and finalise this valuation.  Prior to this the Trustees have decided to carry out a review of the Fund’s actuary and investment consultant to ensure that the service is conducted in a manner which will provide the highest quality of advice and service for a reasonable cost. The Trustees are looking for cost effectiveness.  If the review results in a change of advisor(s) then it is anticipated that they will be in place prior to the 2004 valuation.  We will have just sorted all this and the Finance and Pension Bills heave into view with some changes needing to be implemented by April 2005 and others by April 2006. Once these legislations have been well and truly signed, sealed and delivered then the Trustees will have to decide what amendments will need to be made to the PNPF Rules and these will subsequently be communicated to all members.

We have begun the process of identifying members that may be adversely affected by the new legislation and I am pleased to say it is very few.

I am sure that by the time summer 2006 comes around we will all heave a collective sigh of relief.


PNPF Benefit Changes

This brings me neatly to some rumours that have reached our ears regarding changes in the PNPF benefits. Some members appear to be under the misapprehension that changes are going to be made in anticipation of the results of the 2004 valuation. The only pre-emptive strike the Trustees are looking at making prior to the valuation results being finalised is to look at alternative investment classes and how they might add value and reduce risk for the Fund. The Trustees have not taken any decision to change benefits.

Pension Bill

Instead of being the panacea to

complicated and inflexible pension

legislation this Bill appears to be increasing in size and complexity. There is likely to be a further 100 sets of statutory instruments added to it, and it already includes 300 clauses, before it receives Royal Assent.  In a recent article, Alan Pickering, the author of the Simplification Report urged ministers to scrap the Pensions Bill as it was a ‘dreadful’ piece of legislation. Pickering further commented that all the amendments have made it too long and too complicated and will fail to encourage pension saving in its current form. In addition to this criticism of the Bill, industry leaders are calling for the newlyappointed work and pensions secretary to “overhaul” the Bill.

So perhaps the rumour that the Pensions Bill will be scrapped to make way for new laws to ban fox hunting are true. Although most commentators say it would be political suicide for the Government to drop the Bill now.


During a recent television interview, Alan Johnson, the new work and pensions secretary, dismissed the calls to increase the age of retirement and described compulsory membership of schemes as a “very complex and difficult issue”. Mr. Johnson said that the government wanted to encourage people to retire later by offering greater flexibility rather than increasing the pension age to 70 as called for by the Confederation of British Industry. What makes you think a general election is due soon?


First PPF Chair Appointed

Lawrence Churchill, currently Chief Executive of Life business at Zurich Financial Services has been appointed to chair the board of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Financial Assistance Scheme

The Department of Work and Pensions has announced the provision of a Financial Assistance Scheme worth £400 million to provide compensation for workers who have lost their pension benefits when their employers wound up their pension schemes.

Final Salary Schemes Closure Slowing

According to recent research the rate of final salary schemes closure is slowing as more employers take actions to retain plans on a more cost-effective basis.

TUC Threaten Further Strikes

The trade unions are threatening more strikes to defend pension benefits unless radical steps are taken by the government to halt the growing pension crises.

Early Retirement

Despite the current pension crises and increasing restrictions placed by employers on early retirement, members of final salary pension schemes continue to retire early. A recent study revealed that the average age for leaving work early fell from 61 in 1985 to 59 in 2003. Among defined benefit scheme members in 2003 59% of men retired under the age of 60 compared to 45% in 1985, whilst among women 60% of those who retired in 2003 were under age 60 as compared to 45% in 1985.

Debbie Marten

Pension News 08/04




By the time you read this article we will have been at Sevenoaks for almost a year –

I know they say time flies the older you get, but this is ridiculous. I am very pleased to say that a few of our pensioners have found us and dropped in. We run an open door policy so if you are in the area please pop in.


The Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts for 2003 were sent to all active members in July. If you have not received your copy and would like one please contact the Secretariat and we will get a copy off to you pronto.


At the meeting held on 11th May 2004 the Trustees amended Rule 22 to allow the early payment (i.e. before age 60 for existing members and age 65 for new joiners) of deferred pensions. In addition deferred pensions taken before normal retirement will receive a pro rata increase for the first year in payment.


Following the annual audit of the 2003 accounts the auditors recommended that the Fund carry out a pensioner verification exercise and in April Certificates of Existence were sent out with the P60s.  I know that none of us (me included) like to complete what we consider superfluous forms, so a very big thank you for those of you who have returned your completed forms. When the exercise was carried out in 1997 we had a 100% return rate and your co-operation in maintaining this unblemished record is greatly appreciated.


The P60s for the 2003/04 tax year were sent out in April and if you have not received your copy please notify the Secretariat. Under current legislation we are unable to issue duplicate copies, but we can confirm the year to date figures in a letter for Inland Revenue purposes.


Having been away on holiday for the past few weeks I have come back to .nd that the current hot topic in pensions is the issue of the retirement age – should it be 65 or 70 and whether it should be compulsory.

In the media this issue has provoked headlines such as ‘work till you drop’ and ‘millions have retirement plans ruined’. Yet Alan Pickering, a partner at Watson Wyatt believes it is a “win-win” situation and a positive step for everyone, as individuals need not be pensioned off in their prime and it takes some pressure off the pension system. As having a compulsory age of 70, but paying benefits at age 65 could help employees mix pension and paid income while they gradually work down from full-time employment.

For those of us who do not want to work longer (most of us) the freedom to carry on working does not mean that we have to.  The real issue is being able to afford to retire when we want to.


At the time of writing this article the Secretariat is having its computer equipment upgraded to drag us into the 21st century. I sincerely hope that by the time you read this all the glitches have been cleared and we are back to our usually efficient selves and that no-one has been inconvenienced by this upgrade.


The Pensions Bill is currently making its way through Parliament and should receive Royal assent in November at the latest. During the course of its passage through Parliament it has been subject to quite a few amendments particularly in respect to strengthening the security of pensions. Once the details are finalised I am sure the Bill will be the subject of future articles in this magazine, as its proposals will affect us all.


Although membership and beneficiary statistics are published in the Pilots’ National Pension Fund Annual report and Accounts, it might be of some interest if I were to include them from time to time in these articles.

The position at the end of January 2004, updated with the changes over the following three months are shown below.  Enjoy the summer!

Debbie Marten

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