Many Universities operate defined benefit schemes for some of their non-teaching staff. These ‘Self-Administered Trusts’, or ‘SATs’ as they are widely known in the sector, present their own unique set of challenges.


Find out more about our services for trustees of SATs below.

One of the key differences in terms of advising trustees with HE employers is the need to understand the wider environment factors the employer is operating in, such as pressures on funding, longevity of staff and Government immigration policy.

At Barnett Waddingham, we have a group focused on liaising with universities and our wide range of HE clients, and we keep in close contact with the industry, such as in our work with the UCEA, BUFDG and LGPS Technical Group. This means we can confidently put our advice into context, bringing together our pensions expertise with industry knowledge.

Our advice focuses on making a difference to the outcome for both the members and HE institutions. The key to freeing us up to focus on advice is quick and easy access to liability calculations, and a streamlined reporting approach.

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

We provide comprehensive, innovative and client-focused investment consultancy services to trustees and employers of both defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) schemes in the Higher Education (HE) sector.  

As an independent firm, we have no outside shareholders that we need to satisfy and we do not run an investment management or fiduciary management business. This enables us to avoid conflicts of interest and leaves us free to provide bespoke advice that is suitable and specific to your scheme.

When developing an investment strategy, we break the process down into three key stages: planning, asset allocation and implementation.

We start by getting to know your Aims, Beliefs and Constraints – what we call an ‘ABC approach’ to setting an investment strategy. We then help you set long-term objectives, which are important to illustrate expected financial impacts of differing goals. We use an extensive range of technology throughout this process – such as our in-house investment model, BWARM – to provide evidence-based decisions and alternative strategies.
 

IFAs must carry out an Appropriate Pension Transfer Analysis (APTA) for every member they advise, but preparing an APTA can be time-consuming and complicated. It is crucial that where IFAs outsource some analysis for their APTA to companies such as Barnett Waddingham, the process remains robust, seamless and avoids delays. Barnett Waddingham gives IFAs access to online platforms which seamlessly provide APTA calculations as part of their transfer advice process.

We currently administer a number of Higher Education (HE) schemes and we understand that our HE administration clients require a particular service, including the need to work in partnership with their dedicated in-house team and to accommodate a diverse group of employees with a wide range of occupations.

We are flexible and fit our services and processes to our clients’ requirements, rather than expecting them conform to our standard model. We work in partnership with our clients to ensure an efficient and timely service. Unlike many of our competitors, we do not hub our services, with people working on different aspects of administration operating separately. Our flexible administration system, Penstream, can be configured to the exact specification of any scheme, capturing the nuances of your membership and ensuring high-level data security.

Our experienced and qualified administrators add value by challenging established ways of thinking and working and our processes and procedures are externally audited. We were one of the first third-party administrators (TPAs) to produce an AAF 01/06 audit report. We are also ISO accredited, which ensures quality and continuous improvement.

We pride ourselves in communicating the technical and complex nature of pensions in a clear and concise manner. Pension schemes are a substantial financial commitment for an employer and sponsors are entitled to expect members to understand the value of their scheme.
 

Barnett Waddingham has provided trustee secretarial and pension management services as part of our actuarial and administration services to clients for many years, and have a specialist resource in this area. 

We tailor our services to meet your needs – whether you are looking for a core service, such as taking trustee minutes, or whether you are seeking broader support such as an ’outsourced pension manager‘.

We offer access to support from experienced governance and secretariat specialists who can help relieve the burden of increased workloads placed on trustees’ shoulders.

Our services include provision of secretary to trustees to ensure an effective trustee board, access to a secure online document library (BWebstream) and communication support in updating scheme literature and regular member communications. 

We also offer bespoke services through our Pensions Management consultants, who have the experience and flexibility to provide specialist, short notice support, communication design, governance reviews, and many more solutions.

Further details of our pension management services can be found here.

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What’s happened to pensions in the higher education sector? Helping you navigate through the industry's latest challenges. 

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