ITS A MATTER OF TRUST
Independent professional trusteeship, and a few directly related support services is all we do. But within the very broad church of trusteeship there are several distinct strands:
By ongoing, we mean “not winding up” and in many ways these are our core clients, facing the business as usual challenges of governance, funding and investment.
The majority are closed to accrual and as such have been passed from the HR Director’s in tray to the FD’s. In all these schemes our first priority is to understand what the sponsor wants to achieve for their scheme and then work with them to develop a strategy for achieving it. In many cases this will involve risk or liability management.
To find out more about our services to ongoing DB schemes, please contact Janine Wood.
Where a company restructures (through choice or circumstance) or is engaging in merger or acquisition activity there can be a significant impact on the employer covenant supporting the pension scheme. These situations are complex, far from business as usual and are generally periods of very intensive activity.
ITS has worked widely in such cases, helping to negotiate mutually agreeable outcomes for scheme members and sponsors alike. Examples in the public domain include the HMV disposal of Waterstones and the Uniq deficit for equity swap.
To discuss how we can assist in these situations, please Contact Chris Martin.
Many FDs dream of being able to remove pension liabilities from their balance sheets by entering the ultimate safe haven of a buy-out. This is a large piece of project management of which we have wide experience as well as undertaking the investment decision of a buy-in. Notable examples include:
These are some of the largest transactions seen in the UK, however we have also entered transactions for schemes at the smallest end of the scale. We have excellent relationships with the main insurers and fully understand all the preparatory work that is required.
To find out more about our experience of insured solutions, please Contact Chris Martin
ITS is on the PPF’s Trustee Advisory Panel and we have successfully taken more than 40 schemes through the PPF Assessment process, whether as a result of insolvency or a managed entry. We are very aware that this can be a distressing time for the members affected and are used to delivering uncomfortable messages tactfully, but firmly.
A scheme entering Assessment does not necessarily mean that the PPF will eventually take responsibility for it. We have managed to secure “better than PPF” outcomes for several schemes, on one occasion at 138% of PPF levels.
As well as acting as trustee for such cases we are also happy to assist trustee boards in a project management capacity without being formally appointed as trustee.
For further information about our PPF experience, please contact Helen Frisby
Many scheme rules will allow an employer to appoint a corporate trustee such as ITS to act as sole trustee, which is a big cultural step as it severs the link between the trustee board and the employer. Nonetheless, with most DB schemes not part of the future HR strategy, it makes sense in many cases, in particular at the smaller end of the scale. Asset sizes of our sole trusteeships are generally less than £50m but range up to £200m.
We have a specific governance structure around our sole trusteeships, with clear delegated authorities. All material decisions are taken by two Directors so that sole trustee does not equate to one person.
To find out more about our approach to sole trusteeship please Contact Dinesh Visavadia
While the emphasis of DC trusteeship differs to DB, it is still a very important role, whose impact is more immediately visible to the membership. Many of our ongoing schemes are hybrid arrangements with DC sections and we definitely do not see DC as a poor relation to be tacked on at the end of the DB issues.
Our stand alone DC client list includes schemes of FTSE100 and FTSE250 constituent companies where we have helped deliver cutting edge solutions. We also serve on the Independent Governance Committee of a household name provider; although this is overseeing contract based DC arrangements, IGCs are a very close cousin of trusteeship.
To find out more about our services to DC schemes, please contact Dianne Day.
A subset of ongoing Defined Benefits schemes, small schemes (under £50m) warrant their own mention. Whether many small employers should have had a DB scheme in the first place is questionable. But many do and they can be a disproportionate drag on the ability of the employer to run their business.
Smaller schemes require very pragmatic trusteeship and strong cost management. We have also worked closely with a number of small employers on successful liability reduction exercises.
To find out more about our work with small schemes, please contact Peter Askins.
A trustee board will sometimes need some assistance to help them through a particular issue. These are typically periods of heightened sensitivity such as scheme closure or corporate change or situations such as scheme funding negotiations where it has become apparent that the sponsor / trustee relationship has room for improvement.
In these cases, a solution is to appoint an independent trustee on an interim basis to help the trustee board work through its current challenges. We have done so on a number of occasions, stepping back upon the successful conclusion of the project. Of course if you would like to retain us at this stage, so much the better!
For further information about temporary appointments, please contact Hetal Kotecha
Occasionally we are appointed to schemes whose challenges are completely unexpected. These range from a former professional services firm that rewrote the text book on how not to run a scheme, through to the more sinister pensions liberation, misappropriation of scheme assets and money laundering.
Mercifully, such instances are few and far between, but our experience of some truly exceptional cases means that you can be reassured that ITS will be a safe pair of hands, whatever situation we face.
To learn more about how we can assist a scheme in an exceptional situation, please contact Hetal Kotecha.
As well as undertaking day to day management of PPF Assessment projects, our experienced support teams can provide a range of services in support of trustee boards including scheme secretarial, procurement and adviser benchmarking. Although mainly undertaken on schemes where we act as trustee we can also undertake standalone projects on schemes where we have no existing relationship.
Using our support teams ensures cost effectiveness, however the responsibility for all ITS service delivery always remains at Director level.
For further information about the additional services we can offer, please contact Rachel Croft.
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