From January 2022 we were appointed to provide the pension executive and management work for the £3.5bn National Grid Electricity (NGE) Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme. The group has close to 8,500 members and the sponsor, National Grid plc, is one of the world’s largest publicly listed utilities companies.
The management and governance work had previously been carried out by an in-house team. The executive work (management of actuarial, investment and covenant activity) was done by an entity providing a shared resource to the NGE Group and the National Grid UK Pension Scheme.
We provide a full suite of Trustee Executive Services, covering all aspects of running the Group. This includes governance and secretarial oversight of all advisers, financial reporting, management of asset transfers, operating a bank account and payment facilities, member communications, member case management (where escalated from the Group pension administrators), and contribution monitoring.
We welcomed the in-house management team to BW, basing them in our Birmingham and Guildford offices. We have added existing BW staff to the team to provide additional resource and reduce key person risk. Also key was the support of and development opportunities for the transferring team.
Introducing efficiencies and improvements
We used the early days of the contract to identify efficiencies, improvements, and the enhancement of risk management to the services. One of the first activities was to shift specialist functions like cash-handling and asset transition to our specialist areas within BW. The member communication work is now being delivered by our award-winning communications team DrumRoll. This is so that the scheme benefits from our experience in these areas and the core team is freed up from these functions.
On the executive side we have built strong relationships with the scheme advisors and set up a supportive framework so they can readily receive the information they need to provide proactive and joined up services to the trustee. At the same time, we support the trustee directors on a range of complex specialist projects to help them get the most out of the stewardship and governance time they dedicate to the scheme.
"Together we will help manage the scheme optimally as it plans its future direction for the benefit of every member."
Our breadth of service and experience meant we could bring these aspects together and form an integrated client service team under the leadership of someone highly experienced in the operation of large, complex schemes. The transferring team was also welcomed and reassured about BW being a great place to work. The client team membership was increased using existing BW staff to broaden the resource available to them but with the existing Pensions Manager still running the service as she had before.
In short, we had the right knowledge, infrastructure, and people to make this come together. The transition team worked very closely with a highly knowledgeable project manager at the client side. She had delegated authority on a lot of the project activity and supported reporting back to the trustee on progress or for agreement where required.
High quality work and shared principles
This high-profile appointment is testament to the high-quality work consistently produced by the team at BW. The principles and ethos we share with NGE Group gives us the ability to understand their needs and build tailored services creatively designed to improve member outcomes and provide a positive work environment for a highly regarded in-house team. Together we will help manage the scheme effectively and efficiently as it plans its future direction for the benefit of every member.
We have built a market leading Pension Executive team with expertise across the whole range of relevant disciplines which will work collaboratively with the trustee and the scheme’s advisors, having the members’ interests at the heart of everything we do.
"Thanks to the hard work of our existing team and Barnett Waddingham what was a massive transition appeared seamless to the Group Trustee (although we were aware of all the hard work going on behind the scenes). BW are bringing ideas and their experience to the Group Trustee which has resulted in us adopting several improvements in ways of working with a roadmap for further developments over time. Another major attribute of the BW team is their ability to work collaboratively with our specialist advisers in a way which is very joined-up and delivers great value. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with BW in the years to come."
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