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Pensions Conference 2021

  • Pensions Conference 2021

About this event

Welcome to the programme for our 2nd Virtual Pensions Conference. This year's conference features 11 webinars offering members and non-members the opportunity to get up to date content from leading experts in the pension industry. There will also be opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the discussion.

The conference will focus on topics including GMP equalisation, COVID-19 and its impact on mortality, updates from the buyout market, horizon scanning on investment issues, risk sharing and climate risk. Expect a great line-up of speakers and a wide range of thought-provoking topics. 

Workshop Wed, 16/06/2021 - 10:00 - 11:00 The CMI model and Covid 19 – how do we apply the model in a time of uncertainty?

The CMI model is used by most pension schemes to set future mortality assumptions. It’s strength is its independence, transparency and use of public data. However, Covid 19 means that the usual annual update cannot be applied without additional consideration. Actuaries, trustees and sponsors need to actively decide how much the experience of 2020 should be allowed for in the setting of future assumptions – is 2020 a complete outlier, some guide to future experience or actually an indication that things may change completely?

In this session, Cobus Daneel, Chair of the CMI Mortality Projections Committee, will give an overview of how the CMI has adjusted the model in response to Covid 19. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the practical applications and considerations for setting mortality assumptions from a trustee, corporate and risk transfer perspective.


Cobus Daneel, Willis Towers Watson, Chair of CMI Mortality Projections Committee

Cobus chairs the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee and, within Willis Towers Watson, leads the specialist team that provides guidance on mortality assumptions to scheme actuaries, corporate consultants and transaction specialists. He advises both pension trustee and corporate clients on pensions issues and is responsible for various demographic analyses services, including the postcode modelling, experience analyses and stochastic modelling

Alastair Walker, Head Longevity Analytics, Mercer

Alastair is Mercer’s UK Head of Longevity Analytics – this is a vital role underlying Mercer’s defined benefit business, ensuring appropriate longevity assumptions are set. He has been at the forefront of leading a team that has developed Mercer’s thought leadership on the short and long-term impact on longevity from COVID-19 on clients’ pension schemes. Alastair also advises a wide range of pension trustee and corporate clients on pension related issues, and is currently the Scheme Actuary for several pension schemes, including schemes of a FTSE100 company. 

Simon Bramwell, Principal, Head of Longevity Risk, Barnett Waddingham

Simon is Head of Longevity Risk Transactions at Barnet Waddingham, his main role being lead adviser on regulated transactions to manage longevity risk. This includes buy-ins, buyouts and longevity swaps, starting from initial understanding of the risk through to transaction execution. In helping pension schemes to manage this risk, he works closely with the longevity and insurance specialists within Barnett Waddingham to understand emerging longevity trends and market developments.

Dan Auton, Head of Longevity Analytics, XPS Pensions Group

Dan is Head of Longevity Analytics at XPS, a team that specialises in pension scheme longevity. In this role Dan is responsible for the development of XPS’s thinking on issues around longevity as well as the suite of longevity tools which help pension trustee and corporate clients choose appropriate assumptions and understand longevity risk. Dan also advises a wide range of corporate clients with pensions schemes ranging in size from £50m to over £15bn.

Chaired by Leah Evans

Workshop Wed, 16/06/2021 - 13:30 - 14:30 Today’s macroeconomic picture – a review and outlook

This timely webinar looks at how the current low yield environment impacts on key asset classes and liability drive investment techniques, and aims to answer whether the hunt for yield is really necessary.


Robert Gall, Head of Market Strategy, Insight

Robert joined Insight in October 2003 as Co-Head of UK Fixed Income. In 2007, he moved to Insight’s Financial Solutions Group as Head of Market Strategy, responsible for the discretionary hedge management process. He began his career at Schroders managing UK and European fixed income and in 2001 he was appointed Head of UK Fixed Income. He was appointed Head of European Fixed Income at Schroders in 2003, prior to joining Insight. Robert graduated from Queens’ College Cambridge in 1992 where he read Economics and has been an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK since 1996. He is a member of the Bank of England Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates and the Bank of England SONIA Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Callum Duffy, Solution Designer, Client Solutions Group, Insight
Callum joined Insight in April 2019 and is a Solution Designer in the Client Solutions Group. Callum works on the design and delivery of investment solutions tailored to address the specific risk and return objectives of Insight’s clients. Prior to joining Insight, Callum spent over six years at KPMG as an investment consultant. Here, he helped with the design and implementation of investment strategies for defined benefit pension schemes. He was also co-head of investment strategy research and a member of the LDI and ALM research teams. Callum graduated from the University of Warwick with an MMath (first) in Mathematics. He is also a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK (FIA).


Andy Burgess, Fixed Income Investment Specialist, Insight

Andy joined Insight in August 2014 as a fixed income investment specialist. Andy joined Insight from GE Asset Management (GEAM) where he was a portfolio manager responsible for managing the Euro Fixed Income Fund. Prior to this, he held various portfolio manager roles at GEAM’s predecessor companies. He started his investment management career in 1997 at National Mutual Life as an assistant portfolio manager, with a focus on Far East equities. Andy graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc in Economics and Economic History and is an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK.

Chaired by David Owen, RPMI

Workshop Thu, 17/06/2021 - 10:00 - 11:00 Club Vita - Understanding COVID-19: A shot in the arm for risk management?

Pandemics, vaccines, volatility, trends – has there ever been a time in recent history when longevity has been so regularly in the news? In order to fully understand how pension scheme funding and risk transfer might be impacted by these fluctuations, it will be important to look past the headlines and determine how emerging longevity trends affect different groups of people – whether that be age, gender, regional or socio-economic group.  In this presentation, Steven Baxter and Mark Sharkey from Club Vita will draw on insights from research that sees data for 1 in 4 UK DB pensioners regularly studied to identify emerging patterns in mortality. This, coupled with comparisons from around the globe, will allow us to focus in on how COVID-19 and other shifts in longevity are impacting pension scheme liabilities and changing the nature of longevity risk in a post pandemic world.


Steven Baxter FIA, Head of innovation & development, Club Vita

Steven has led the design and development of Club Vita’s longevity informatics tools from the inception of the Club. He is responsible for leading a team of statisticians and actuaries in analysing longevity and the emerging trends in later life mortality within Club Vita. 

Once a keen cyclist and runner, most of his free time now is spent being used as a climbing frame by his young sons and the family dog.

Mark Sharkey, Head of Client Delivery, Club Vita

Mark began his career in private sector pensions consulting for both trustee and corporate clients before moving into the realms of longevity consultancy. At Club Vita, Mark is responsible for communicating longevity insights to pensions schemes, insurers and their advisors to ensure they can harness the power of Club Vita analytics.

Away from the office, Mark can be found countless shots over par on the golf course, watching sport or channelling his inner Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen.

Chaired by John Reeve, Director, Cosan Consulting

Workshop Thu, 17/06/2021 - 13:30 - 14:30 And they’re off…but which GMP equalisation method has its nose in front?

This session will provide the latest insight on the current status of the main GMP equalisation methods and how they stack up against each other from an actuarial and practical perspective, encompassing latest developments from the industry GMP Equalisation Working Group.  It will be framed as a game, forcing the debate ‘off the fence’ and providing a clear indication of which method looks like it is out in front.


Mark Williams, Principal and London Practice Leader, Buck

Mark is Principal and London Practice Leader at Buck and has worked as a Scheme Actuary for a range of UK and international clients. Mark designed and leads Buck's GMP Equalisation solution 'Square' and is also Chair of the Pensions Board at the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries. He represents the actuarial profession on the PASA GMP Equalisation Industry Working Group. 

Chaired by Anika Nicholson, Gemmells 

Workshop Fri, 18/06/2021 - 10:00 - 11:00 Endgame options for smaller DB schemes

This session focusses on the challenges that smaller DB schemes face and the solutions currently available in the market, aiming to build on research undertaken by other parties highlighting the disproportionate levels of costs that smaller DB schemes shoulder, the barriers to good governance and consideration of expected member outcomes.  Jonathan Punter and Stuart Southall provide unique insight reflecting their experiences of dealing with smaller DB schemes and their motivation for developing Stoneport, the newly launched small scheme consolidator vehicle.  They will provide detail on the structure and operation of Stoneport and the benefits achieved by pooling all scheme risks (relating to assets, liabilities and covenant). An overview of the current options available within the market to address these challenges (including alternative endgame strategies) will also be provided.


Jonathan Punter, Managing Director, Stoneport Pensions Alliance Limited

Jonathan Punter is the nominated sole director of the Stoneport Alliance. He has 40 years’ experience in the actuarial profession, with particular expertise in UK pensions, investment strategy, and administration, as well as in pension mergers, buy-outs and due diligence.  Jonathan co-founded Punter Southall with Stuart Southall in 1988 growing the business from only 9 people to over 1,200 employees.  He is a director of several investment companies in London and Dublin as well as Chief-Executive of Punter Southall Group.


Stuart Southall, Chair of Trustees, Stoneport Pension Scheme

Stuart is a professional trustee and chair of Punter Southall Governance Services, an independent trustee and pension secretary firm. He is also the chair of Trustees of the Stoneport Pension Scheme.

Stuart has worked with pension schemes varying in size from £15 million to £4.6 billion in a range of roles including trustee, scheme actuary and sponsor adviser.  Having co-founded Punter Southall in 1988, Stuart has demonstrable entrepreneurial attributes and an ability to interact with and motivate a wide range of people. These skills are invaluable when running a financially efficient and operationally effective pension scheme.

Chaired by Adam Baxter, Senior Consulting Actuary, Barnett Waddingham LLP 

Workshop Fri, 18/06/2021 - 13:30 - 14:30 Risk Sharing within Pension Schemes

The current re-design of the Dutch pension system includes the following elements: a defined contribution pension for each participant plus a solidarity buffer that serves as a risk-sharing mechanism to smooth returns between participants in the pension fund, leading to a form of pensions that is in between pure DC and collective DC. This webinar briefly summarizes the literature on optimal risk sharing before assessing the welfare effects of the current Dutch pension proposal and compare this to theoretically optimal risk sharing arrangements. It will demonstrate that a solidarity buffer with sufficiently risky investment can achieve results that approximate the optimal utility benefits of “unconstrained” intergenerational risk sharing.


Antoon Pelsser, Professor of Finance and Actuarial Science, Maastricht University

Antoon Pelsser is partner at Risk at Work consultants. He is also a Professor of Finance and Actuarial Science at Maastricht University, Professor of Enterprise Risk Management ant the University of Amsterdam and is a research fellow at Netspar. His academic research interests focus on pricing models for interest rate derivatives, the pricing of insurance contracts and Asset-Liability Management (ALM) for insurance companies. He has published in leading academic journals including Journal of Economic Theory, Systems and Control Letters, Mathematical Finance, Finance and Stochastics, Journal of Derivatives, Insurance: Mathematics and Economics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. From 2012 until 2017 he worked at Kleynen Consultants doing risk management consulting for insurance companies and pension funds. From 2004 until 2007 he worked at ING Group’s staff department Corporate Insurance Risk Management. There he was involved in implementing a new internal model for measuring Economic Capital for ING-Insurance. From 2000 until 2004 he worked as Head of ALM for Nationale-Nederlanden. Before that, he worked 7 years in the dealing-room of ABN-Amro Bank in Amsterdam, where he was responsible for the development of pricing models for derivatives.

Chaired by Adam Baxter, Senior Consulting Actuary, Barnett Waddingham LLP 

Workshop Mon, 21/06/2021 - 10:00 - 11:00 With £180bn+ deals completed to date in the UK, PIC discuss current trends & pricing for bulk annuities

With an estimated £30m bulk annuities transacted in 2020, Uzma Nazir, Head of Origination Structuring and Rachel Jervis, Longevity Risk Manager at PIC, discuss trends in the bulk annuity market including the role of reinsurance. The talk will discuss:

  • Trends in the bulk annuity market
  • Pricing of transactions
  • Buyout in one transaction verses multiple tranches of buy-ins over time
  • Asset sourcing in the current environment
  • Role of reinsurance in the bulk annuity market
  • Reinsurance trends, including the impact of COVID-19
  • Recent transactions and case studies
  • 2021 and beyond


Uzma Nazir, Head of Origination Structuring, Pension Insurance Corporation

Uzma is a qualified actuary working at Pension Insurance Corporation for over 10 years. She is Head of Origination Structuring and is responsible for structuring of buy-in & buyout processes. Some of transactions she has led on are:  Buyout the Old British Steel Pension scheme, Buyout of the BHS2 Pension Scheme, Buy-in of the M&S Pension Scheme, and the buyout of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries Staff Pension Scheme. Prior to joining Pension Insurance Corporation Uzma spent seven years working for Hewitt Associates (now Aon) as a pensions actuary within their Corporate Pensions Consulting Team.

Rachel Jervis, Longevity Risk Manager, Pension Insurance Corporation

Rachel is a qualified actuary working in Pension Insurance Corporation’s Longevity Risk Management team. Her role principally consists of transferring Pension Insurance Corporation’s longevity risk to the global reinsurance market. Some of the longevity reinsurance transactions she has led on include a full buy-in of the British American Tobacco UK Pension Fund, a buy-in of the M&S Pension Scheme and the novation of the MNOPF longevity swap to a buy-in. Prior to working at Pension Insurance Corporation, Rachel worked for a pensions consultancy, advising companies and trustees on their defined benefit pension schemes.

Chaired by Sarah Brough, Dalriada Trustees Ltd 

Workshop Mon, 21/06/2021 - 13:30 - 14:30 Climate change – a call to action for pension schemes

This webinar covers the updated IFoA Working Party guide to climate change for DC pension schemes and demonstrates actions for schemes and advisors to take, covering climate risk, net-zero, stewardship and transformative digital member engagement. It also includes case studies from schemes.


Esther Hawley, Principal, Barnett-Waddingham

Esther is a Principal at Barnett Waddingham and specialises in providing investment advice to trustees of DC pension schemes.  She has a particular interest in developing better pension outcomes for UK pensioners and believes that the pension industry must tackle broader issues, including a much deeper understanding of ESG and climate change risks, if this is to be achieved.  She has co-authored the IFoA’s updated guide on “Climate Risk: A call to action for Actuaries working in Defined Contribution Pensions”.

Sandy Trust, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP

Sandy is a Senior Manager at EY. He is an experienced actuary, with a keen interest in climate change, the transition to the low carbon economy and the risks and opportunities for financial services firms in this space. This brings together his passions and experience across investment, risk management, customer proposition design and brand.

Georgia Stewart, Founder, Tumelo
Georgia is CEO and co-founder of Tumelo. Their vision is an investment system that serves both people and planet, where shareholders are connected to companies they own. To achieve this, Tumelo's white-label software helps investment firms engage clients and increase AUM by showing retail and pension investors exactly which companies they own and giving them a shareholder voice.


Chaired by John Reeve, Director, Cosan Consulting 

Workshop Tue, 22/06/2021 - 10:00 - 11:00 GMPs - Conversion at retirement

We expect a number of Trustees to consider a conversion at retirement approach for equalising the GMP of their non-pensioners members and for many schemes this is likely to be an optimal solution. We will provide an overview of Mercer’s approach to conversion at retirement, including actuarial advice and certification, conversion, calculations, member communications and practical considerations, drawing on our experience of implementing this for our clients.


John Martin, Principal, Mercer

John joined Mercer in 2013 from KPMG, where he worked for 6 years advising companies on all aspects of retirement plans. Prior to working at KPMG, he spent 4 years at Towers Watson.

John is a member of Mercer’s de-risking team, spending most of his time supporting companies and trustees through member option exercises. John has also played a lead role in developing Mercer’s strategy around GMP equalisation and conversion.


Sam Marshall, Senior Associate, Mercer

Sam joined Mercer as part of the graduate programme in 2005. As well as providing traditional actuarial advice to clients, Sam has a particular interest in the more technical aspects of pension related calculations including anti-franking requirements and individual member taxation.

Since the original Lloyds Banking Group judgment in October 2018, Sam has supported a number of clients in meeting their obligations to provide equalised benefits and is one of Mercer’s GMP equalisation specialists.

Sam qualified as an Actuary in 2009 and has a first class honours degree in Physics and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Nottingham.

Chaired by Iain Turri, Principal Consultant, Aon 

Workshop Tue, 22/06/2021 - 13:30 - 15:00 Regulation and ESG

This webinar covers the obligation on actuaries to recognise the impact of their actions on the public interest, changes in the regulatory environment formalising that obligation and one of the practical ways in which pension fund stakeholders can make a positive difference in this important area.


Bob Collie, Principal, Collie ESG

Bob Collie has led consulting practices and research teams in the US and the UK at some of the world’s leading investment consulting firms and currently advises investment organizations on best practice in ESG and sustainable investing through Collie ESG Ltd. This advice is focused on understanding and articulating how ESG is integrated into the investment process, and on effectively communicating the organization’s strategy and outcomes to clients and the marketplace. His experience working with institutional investors on ESG matters goes back more than twenty years to the development of some of the UK’s earliest SRI policies. 

Marcus Hurd, Managing Director, ndapt

Marcus is the Managing Director of ndapt, a professional trustee and NED firm making a positive difference to pension schemes, companies with pension schemes and to the world around us. Having been a practising Scheme Actuary for 15 years prior to becoming a trustee and NED, Marcus has a wealth of practical experience of addressing the ESG challenge, drawing upon his research into behavioural finance, flight plans and de-risking strategies.

Dr Emiko Caerlewy-Smith, Capital Markets Advisor, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project
Dr Caerlewy-Smith is Founder and CEO of KIT Consulting, a financial services strategy, research and management consultancy. KIT Consulting incorporates KIT Sustainability which helps clients to build sustainable businesses, products and services; practice corporate social responsibility; and, leverage the competitive advantage of ESG integration. Emiko is lead capital markets advisor to HRH The Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), working across global capital markets to integrate ESG.

Chaired by Sally Calder, Education Actuary, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Workshop Tue, 22/06/2021 - 16:00 - 17:00 Towards Improved Retirement Savings Outcomes for Women

The webinar will assess the gender gap in retirement income and the contribution of retirement savings arrangements to that gap. It will then analyse the drivers of the gender gap in retirement savings arrangements stemming from labour market and other factors. It will finally provide policy guidelines that would contribute to reducing the gender pension gap.


Stéphanie Payet, Policy Analyst, OECD’s Private Pensions Unit

Ms. Stéphanie Payet is a policy analyst in the OECD’s Private Pensions Unit. She has more than 10 years of experience in analysing private pension systems around the world, with a particular focus on issues related to retirement savings adequacy, pension coverage, taxation of retirement savings, and plan design. She is one of the authors of the recently issued publication “Towards Improved Retirement Savings Outcomes for Women”. Before joining the OECD, she was a statistical project manager in health economics. She has a Master of Science in Statistics from the French National School for Statistics and Information Analysis (ENSAI).

Chaired by Sarah Brough, Dalriada Trustees Ltd