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Our new report has revealed the top triggers that lead pension schemes to reconsider their actuarial consultants.
The ‘Navigating Change’ report, which researched the views of 100 senior trustees from the larger UK pension schemes, found more than three quarters of respondents (76%) indicated ‘reaching an impasse or crisis point on a current initiative’ would lead them to consider requesting a new actuarial consultant, making it the number one reason for change.
UK pension schemes are experiencing structural shifts as defined benefit (DB) schemes reach a mature status. Against this backdrop, the report also found 'free thinking' and 'independent advice' were two of the themes trustees value most.
According to Paul Houghton, partner and head of actuarial consulting at Barnett Waddingham, free thinking and independent advice are also crucial factors in avoiding retendering triggers.
"Independence of thought allows a consultant to be unrestricted in offering what they consider to be the most appropriate advice for an individual scheme. The scheme – and the consultant – can therefore be confident advice is correct for the scheme and avoids reaching such crisis points which can happen if there are other factors influencing the advice. This should also deliver a more innovative approach for the next stage of the scheme’s development and help surmount impasses, by focusing on the specific needs and finding the right strategies. "
The report also highlighted inconsistencies in adviser assessment. According to the findings, schemes are very happy to share negative feedback on a regular basis; however, positive feedback is rarely shared at all.
"We do not believe that positive feedback will necessarily improve the consultant’s performance, but it highlights an imbalance in the approach to measuring performance and value. Schemes have a right to expect high performance from their actuarial consultant, yet are doing little or nothing to measure, monitor and assess the performance of advisers. Better quality and more consistent engagement between schemes and their advisers could have an effect upon the direction the strategy takes. "