Actuarial and Pensions Consulting

Broadstone provides a full range of actuarial and pension consulting services providing proactive and tailored solutions that embrace the challenges trustees and employers face in managing their defined benefit obligations.

Where we support Trustees:

Being a pension scheme trustee has become an even more challenging role as legislation has become more complex and expectations of trustees possessing a higher level of pensions knowledge has grown. This requires a greater time commitment from trustees whilst many of them juggle competing demands from other roles.

Our Scheme Actuaries recognise the increased demand on pension scheme trustees time and offer practical and clear advice finding pragmatic and innovative solutions to the problems trustees face.

We specialise in providing advice to trustees of small to medium pension funds. We recognise that the challenges facing pension schemes are similar regardless of their size but recognise smaller schemes lack the budget or in-house expertise that larger funds possess.  We are mindful of this and ensure our service is provided quickly, efficiently and to an agreed budget.

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Broadstone's investment consulting team provide high quality investment advice to pension schemes.

Professional investment advice can create significant value to trustees in achieving their investment return objectives without placing undue risk on the security of members' retirement benefits. To help trustees we offer a comprehensive ongoing consulting service designed to create value. We operate a transparent charging structure and put our clients' best interests at the heart of our business.

For further details of our investment consulting services please click here.

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Our pension administration services are provided from within our trust based services team ensuring crucial co-operation with our actualrial & investment colleagues. This results in truly joined up experience of our services.

The importance of members receiving clear, accurate and timely administration is key to the efficient running of a pension scheme. When it is good it is often undervalued and when it is poor it can result in significant costs, higher risks and a further drain on trustees time.

We recognise the importance of scheme members receiving accurate pension administration. Our pension administration staff possess a strong technical background with many years pension administration experience.

We provide the full range of administration services (including payroll and scheme accounting services) and can provide as much or as little as you require.

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We work closely with Trust Based Defined Contribution schemes to work with trustees to ensure their schemes remain fit for purpose, investment options are fair and understood by the membership and all statutory responsibilities are met. We also work closely with our colleagues in our Regulated Pensions practice so all defined contribution options can be considered when reviewing existing arrangements.

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Many of the advisers and service providers you will employ to help your pension scheme will provide a clear and delineated service. However, there will be tasks where it isn’t always obvious who should have responsibility or take the lead. It is in these gaps that the Pensions Consultant operates to provide a strategic watch over the pension scheme to ensure the scheme retains a focus on its goals.

The Pensions Consultant can assist across a broad range of tasks in areas such as Governance, Communications, Technical Support and Project Management also ensuring that work is performed at the appropriate level and delivered within a reasonable cost.

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UK defined benefit schemes are in decline. The vast bulk have already moved from being a core part of the organisation's employee benefit strategy to a legacy financial liability. This liability is also complex draining valuable time for key personnel and can pose significant financial risk to an employer.

Many employers are looking to work with trustees to manage the scheme towards the ‘end game’ and lower the associated risks.

We believe that this needs to be recognised by trustees, employers and their advisers and the challenge of the defined benefit 'end game' needs to be proactively grasped by everyone to ensure the fairest outcome for all parties.

Where trustees are working with employers to explore end game strategies we can advise them on the suitability and impartiality of the proposed approach to ensure fairness for all parties.

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Winding up a pension schemes can be a lengthy and complicated process requiring proven expertise and strong project management. We will work with you and all key stakeholders to identify the key steps and budget an agreed fee for each stage of the process. By doing this we will avoid the process extending beyond what is necessary and avoid any unnecessary delays or unforeseen costs.

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With added complexity and ever changing legislation it is more important than ever that scheme members receive regular, clear and informative communication. For current employees it is important that they understand and value the benefit that is being provided by the employer.

We can advise on a broad range of communication media including scheme booklets and announcements, total reward statements and member presentations and on-line communications.

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With ever increasing expectations that trustees have and retain the pensions knowledge required in an ever more complex pensions world we offer a number of different courses to trustees to ensure they satisfy their obligations around trustee training.

We can create a bespoke training course to meet specific needs or alternatively new trustees can join our regular trustee training dates throughout the year to build the level of knowledge required to perform their duties effectively.

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Many smaller employers do not employ a full time pensions manager meaning individuals have to juggle the responsibility within their existing roles. We can provide scheme secretariat services to ensure that trustee meetings are managed effectively and ensuring all relevant topics are included on the agenda for discussion. Following the meeting we will ensure follow up on all the relevant actions and issue minutes to ensure the meeting is documented.

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Increasingly trustees want the ability to model and monitor different options for managing risk and cost in real time. We provide PFaroe, an on-line modelling tool allowing you to immediately see the impact of different decisions and scenarios and help drive the debate necessary to arrive at informed decision making.

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We can help with efficient and effective use of buy in and buy out solutions. These, together with longevity swaps, can be effective tools for Buy-ins – this is a contractual arrangement where an insurance arrangement takes over the responsibility for paying some benefits to a tranche of benefits, in return for a premiums from the Trustees. The beneficiaries (and the ultimate risk) remain with the trustees.

Buy-outs – similar to a buy-in but the premium payment here results in the full liability being taken from the Trustees and passed to the insurance company. This removes all investment and longevity risk from the scheme.

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We work closely both with individual clients and with their independent financial advisers, solicitors, accountants and other intermediaries, in a number of specialist areas, including:

• Expert Witness work
• Compensation for mis-selling or bad advice
• Assessing pension rights in divorce cases
• Loss of earnings or pension rights in employment tribunal cases
• Individual pension advice
• Individual investment strategy

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We have vast experience of working with distressed pension schemes and looking for the optimal solvent or insolvent solution for the relevant stakeholders. Much of this experience has been via our trustee company, 2020 Trustees, where Chief Executive Officer, Antony Miller has a national reputation for implementing a wide range of creative solutions, but it is also available direct to clients and via other advisers on a purely advisory basis.

Our experience of the full range of potential solutions, and our knowledge of regulatory practice, helps us to focus quickly on the key issues and potential outcomes and to know when creativity is potentially needed. We have worked alongside most of the large accountancy firms and lawyers specialising in this area.

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Where we support Employers:

In line with the Pension Regulator’s Code of Practice we advocate a collaborative approach between the employer and trustees to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. However, it is important the employer is adequately represented in the valuation process. We can help you to ensure your views count towards the agreement of the valuation assumptions and ensure that key areas for the employer such as affordability and flexibility are factored into the agreed scheme funding plans.

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Legacy defined benefit schemes can have a significant impact on a business' ability to thrive and plan for the future. We believe the employer needs to engage on how best to mitigate its impact and work with the trustee to take active steps to reduce risk and begin the journey towards the ultimate end game strategy of winding up the scheme and removing any risk associated off the balance sheet.

Each scheme is unique and the journey for each will be different. By working with us we can identify the required steps and ensure that at all times the focus remains on ultimately working towards eliminating the future risk on your business by bringing the legacy scheme to an ultimate close.

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We provide prompt, accurate and cost effective solutions across all the relevant accounting standards and have detailed knowledge of the differences between the relevant standards. We can provide a quick efficient service to furnish you with the relevant details. Alternatively we can work more closely with you to identify ways to reduce balance sheet volatility.

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Pensions remains a key factor in a merger or acquisition although one that is often left until too late in the process causing delays, increased cost or ultimately proving to be a stumbling block that can see the deal fall through.

We will work with you to understand very quickly in the process a high level view of any potential pitfalls so these can be raised between the relevant parties. We will then provide more in depth due diligence throughout the process to ensure there are no surprises either through the sale and purchase process or post acquisition or disposal.

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