PNCP Demise Letter & Reply



Those of you who read the letter put out with every copy of the October Pilot will be aware that the future of the PNCP was likely to be debated at this year’s conference. The proposal of the trustees of the PNPF was that they should take over the function of the PNCP with one pre trustee meeting every year to which the four alternate trustees, independent and pensioner trustees would be invited.  However, events took a different turn and at the pre-conference meeting of the Executive on the 16th November it was decided to put a simple Resolution to Conference, namely: “Is it the wish of the UKMPA membership to continue to have the PNCP as a sub committee of the UKMPA”. The trustees, Joe Wilson and Richard Williamson, reported that this was in order to facilitate the attendance of a second trustee at each of the PNPF trustee meetings paid for by the UKMPA out of the original budget of the PNCP. The other alternate trustee’s attendance is paid for by the long standing arrangement with the PNPF. The matter was put to a vote after a debate by the full conference later in the day and by a vote of 24 to 22 with 11 abstentions the PNCP ceased to exist.  This is a sad and unnecessary end to a committee that was set up to promote understanding of, and to advise the Section Committee on, pension matters. Indeed the very purpose of the trustees’ proposal to provide a second seat at trustee meetings for an alternate trustee would seem to be self defeating in that he cannot participate in that meeting and is strictly an observer.  The PNCP provided a forum at which all the alternates met with a trustee, pensioner and independent representatives and at which they could all take part in the debate.  They will now attend the same number of meetings in the year but will have no voice.  The PNPF pensioners have now been deprived of a voice as have 50% of the UKMPA membership who are members of pension schemes other than the PNPF. The T&GWU have a policy that the Union should be consulted on all pension matters as outlined by Peter Smith, the T&G pensions officer, on day two of the conference. I am therefore seeking the opinion of the membership on a resolution for next year’s conference on the reinstatement of a pensions sub committee on the basis of the PNCP as it stood until the 17th November.

Mike Kitchen, London

PNCP Demise

The January edition of The Pilot contained a letter regarding the former PNCP. The letter refers to the Conference vote regarding continuation of the PNCP, and that it was the trustees proposal to take over the function of the PNCP. This in fact was not the intention.

Pension law and Trustee duties are enshrined in various Acts of Parliament.  The Government want to place more responsibility on trustees, and requires that trustees be properly trained. A standard for training is required in the Pension Act.  The intention of the resolution was to allow for the funding of 2 alternate trustees to attend every trustee meeting (1 paid by PNPF and 1 by UKMPA). The alternates are in effect a trustee, they do not attend as observers, and do participate in the meetings.

We have recently appointed new advisers and actuary, after 31 years with Watson Wyatt. Our new advisors, AON, have agreed to give the trustees [free] pension training prior to each meeting. This will be primarily scheme specific, but will also keep us up to date with legislation.

The PNPF employ pension lawyers, financial advisers, actuaries, fund managers, all who are properly trained and qualified.  We also have the excellent secretariat under the command of Debbie Marten.

I would hope that UKMPA members, particularly PNPF members, will feel confident that the elected trustees are properly trained, and have a good knowledge of the PNPF and all other mattres relating to pensions. Each one has a legal duty to “The Fund”.

The letter also says that “PNPF pensioners have been deprived of a voice…”. I would say that every member; active, pensioner, deferred, etc has the same opportunity to raise ANY matter or concern with the trustees, the secretariat or section committee. In fact, Debbie says that they have seen more pensioners since the office moved out of London, and is in some form of contact with about 3 to 5 pensioners per day.

There is no need for a further body.

Those outside the PNPF should seek advice from a properly qualified financial advisor. It may be that the T&G pensions officer is able to give this advice, but I am unsure of his qualifications. General “non-PNPF” queries may well be able to be dealt with through section committee.

One thing I am sure of is that the best training is to be at our PNPF trustee meetings, and I hope that alternates will find the extra attendance worthwhile.

Joe Wilson

PNPF Trustee, Vice-Chairman UKMPA

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