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Webinar: Challenges of Including Illiquid assets in DC Pension Funds

Thursday 9 July 2020 15:00 - 16:30

The IFoA is running a webinar on Thursday 9 July 2020 which will focus on the challenges and issues facing defined contribution savers who wish to access illiquid investments.

Our speakers will provide perspectives from their diverse experience, including DC fund implementation, platforms, master trusts, the role of trustees, regulation, and parallels with other fund types. They will then come together in a panel discussion with audience interaction. 

The webinar is likely to be of interest to actuaries working across the spectrum of financial services, including investment advisers, asset managers, insurers, fund platforms and DC master trusts.


Shalin Bhagwan 

Shalin is a qualified actuary working in asset management having started his career in life insurance and consulting in both pensions and investments. His asset management experience covers the management of liability driven investment strategies for pension funds and Solvency 2 insurers across fixed income, derivatives as well as listed credit and private debt. He has managed these strategies for asset owners in the UK, USA and South Africa. He currently leads DWS’s UK Pensions business and is based in London. Prior to DWS he worked for Legal & General Investment Management, AXA Investment Managers, Mercer and Aon.


Michelle Darracott leads Smart’s strategic planning and evolution in the UK, and their global commercial proposition for Platform as as Service. With more than 20 years experience as a respected and accomplished strategic leader, Michelle moved to Smart in 2018 from Legal & General Investment Management where she was leading the digital investment team. Michelle is an actuary that has specialised in the field of investments and is passionate about empowering customers to improve their financial wellbeing and resilience.

Emma Douglas is responsible for developing LGIM's DC business and investment strategy. Emma joined LGIM in 2014 from Mercer where she was a partner and Head of Mercer Workplace Savings. Prior to that, she was Head of DC Sales at BlackRock and Head of DC Pensions at Threadneedle Investments, and has more than 20 years of experience in the investment management industry. Emma graduated from Trinity College, Oxford, and holds an MBA from Manchester Business School via a Women in Management Scholarship from the Guardian. Emma is a member of the PLSA DC Council.

Jenny Doyle is the Head of Fiduciary Oversight for USSIM, the internal investment manager of The Universities Superannuation Scheme.  USSIM manages over £70bn of predominantly DB assets for the UK Higher Education sector.  Jenny is part of the team responsible for the design and implementation of the DC product.  In early 2020, around 85,000 DC members saw the investment remit of their funds in the default option expanded to include an allocation to private markets.  The private market asset portfolio is run by USSIM.

John Forbes is an independent consultant advising real estate investment managers, investors and others in the real estate industry on the structure and operation of real estate funds. Prior to setting up John Forbes Consulting LLP on 1st July 2013, he spent over twenty-five years with PwC, where he was the firm’s international Subject Matter Expert on real estate funds.

Rene Poisson, a barrister by training, retired after a 30-year career with JP Morgan as Senior Credit Officer for EMEA.  He now has a portfolio of roles including as an Independent Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (the largest UK Defined Benefit Pension Scheme); Chair of the JP Morgan UK Pension Plan (the largest Single employer DC Trust Scheme); Director of the Standard Life Master Trust; and, Chair of the Advisory Committees of Five Arrows Credit Solutions, Five Arrows Direct Lending and Five Arrows Debt Partners.  He believes in helping scheme members take responsibility for their pensions both in accumulation and decumulation through, engaging education, communication and, the provision of best in class investment products and, the tools to use them effectively.

Imran Razvi is Senior Policy Adviser, Pensions & Institutional Market at The Investment Association, working primarily on public policy and regulation affecting the market for pension scheme investment. In recent years Imran has worked on a number of salient pensions investment issues, including: DC investment regulation and illiquid assets; cost transparency for pension schemes; CMA investment consultants and fiduciary management market investigation: and retirement income market reforms. 

Event organiser

Contact Niki Park for more information.

020 7632 2152

John Forbes will present a case study based on direct property, looking at the impact of daily dealing and how a non-daily dealt fund might work in practice.

Imran Razvi will focus on a range of potential barriers to greater DC investment in illiquid assets, including investment regulation, platform structures, fees, and the level of demand from members. 

Rene Poisson will look at the challenges for trustees when including an illiquid bucket in a default fund. The aim is to ensure that all investors are treated equitably, whether they are joining, remaining within or leaving the fund. Rene will outline an approach adopted by DC funds to deal with assets that cannot be traded daily or priced daily.

Jenny Doyle will present a case study on how a large DC fund like USS can handle illiquid assets.

Michelle Darracott will look at the inclusion of illiquid assets from the perspective of a Master Trust, which has to be capable of investing contributions as they are received from multiple employers.

Emma Douglas will discuss DC platforms and how these can include illiquid assets, covering cost, pricing and portfolio construction.





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