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Barnett Waddingham
0333 11 11 222
We appreciate the landscape that our Higher Education (HE) clients operate in is unique from those outside the sector.

One of the key differences in terms of advising trustees with HE employers is the need to understand the wider environment the employer is operating in, particularly:

  • Pressures on funding (student numbers, Government policy);
  • Impact of EU referendum and Government policies on immigration;
  • Long-term, stable employers (strong covenant);
  • Potential of the Self-Administered Trust (SAT)  feeding into (and mirroring) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) / Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS);
  • Potential access to leading thinkers on relevant topics (longevity, economics etc.).

All of these have come into play when advising the trustees and employer jointly on the changes to the USS and how those changes might affect the SAT.

At Barnett Waddingham, we have a group focussed on liaising with universities and our wide range of HE clients, and we keep in close contact with the industry – providing advice to and speaking at events run by UCEA and BUFDG, and sitting on the LGPS Technical Group for example. This means we can confidently put our advice into context, bringing together our pensions expertise with industry knowledge.

Our advice

We like to focus on the advice that really makes a difference to the outcome for members and HE institutions. Clearly the trustees’ (and therefore the scheme actuary’s) primary concern is the members, but a duty is also owed to the institution as employer, and in fact we find things work better for everyone if the trustees can help with the employer’s needs (without prejudicing the members).

From an actuarial point of view, the key to freeing us up to focus on advice is quick and easy access to liability calculations, and a streamlined reporting approach.

Our innovative technology

Our actuarial valuation systems, which underpin our advice, are linked directly to our pension administration system and feeds results directly into our standard actuarial valuation reports and other tools such as our interactive modeller, Illuminate.

Illuminate is an invaluable tool for ensuring a collaborative working relationship between the trustees, employer, our internal team and the investment advisers; and understanding the risks associated with your scheme.  Illuminate allows funding information to be shared with all interested parties through a secure online portal, allowing all parties to work as efficiently as possible starting from a shared understanding of the asset and liability position.

Illuminate is the only tool in the market that takes account of the Pension Regulator’s new Code of Practice on Funding Defined Benefit Schemes, by taking an integrated approach to funding strategy, investment strategy and the employer covenant.

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