Our client, Tate & Lyle, is a global provider of solutions and ingredients for food, beverage and industrial markets, with over 11,500 members of pension and other post-retirement plans in the UK and the USA.
We were appointed to provide consolidated IAS19 accounting figures for Tate & Lyle's post-retirement benefit arrangements. The key requirement was responsiveness; the client needed a proactive and responsive adviser to make sure that the challenging timescales were met. To meet their internal reporting deadlines, the client needed the main disclosure figures by the sixth working day after the year end, even though we only received the figures from the local advisers for consolidation on the fourth working day. They also wanted to keep audit queries to a minimum. At the end of the process, clients such as Tate & Lyle need to know that there is a robust process underlying the consolidation so that they can rely on the figures we provide.
Our task included advising on assumptions, liaising with the various local advisers, then confirming and consolidating the local figures, before providing final figures to the client. Fortunately, through our joint venture with Milliman (now known as MBWL International), we were able to do all this through our easy-to-use, web-based consolidation system.
The task also required good communication and early engagement with all parties involved. We provided advice on assumptions for both the UK and USA plans in good time to agree these with the client and their auditors, and passed them on to the local advisers as soon as possible after the year end. Once the local currency figures had been provided to us, we also raised any queries we had with the local advisers at an early stage.
Liaison with the auditors was another of our responsibilities. Without a rigorous process in place, auditing pension disclosures can be a prolonged exercise. Here was where the consolidation system really helped, and we were able to highlight and explain the key issues in our reporting to ensure we kept audit queries to a minimum. We also kept the client up to date with our progress, and were able to answer the few queries that were raised quickly and efficiently.
The process ran smoothly and we presented all figures on time, allowing the finance team to meet their internal deadlines. In particular, the consolidation system allowed us to produce the results in a bespoke format, which made it far easier for the client to find the key figures than in previous years, reducing the time they needed to spend on the pension disclosures.
"Using Barnett Waddingham’s process the consolidation went extremely smoothly. Delivery was on or ahead of schedule and the auditors didn’t raise any issues. Whenever we had any questions the team were extremely responsive. I’m very happy with the services provided by Barnett Waddingham."