Independent governance of workplace pensions

Providers of workplace personal pension schemes are required to appoint an independent body to ensure governance of their schemes, providing members with greater protection. It acts solely in the interests of scheme members, operating independently to assess, and where necessary, challenge firms on the administration and value for money of the scheme for its members.

The Independent Governance Committee (IGC) was established in April 2015 to ensure this was addressed.

In summary, the IGC has the following responsibilities:

  • Assess the value for money of ReAssure workplace personal pensions on an ongoing basis.
  • Review the design and execution of investment strategy.
  • Consider whether costs and charges are appropriate for the scheme and its investments.
  • Ensure appropriate assessment of the quality of service and governance standards.
  • Raise and escalate any concerns to the firm’s board in the first instance, and ultimately our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), if it’s felt they have not responded to a particular concern.

The IGC represents scheme members’ interests and members can contact them directly to share their views. If you have any individual servicing queries or complaints you should raise these in the normal way.

Each year an Annual Report will be published on this page detailing their work over the previous twelve months.

Current documents

IGC Terms of Reference

IGC Annual Report

Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance IGC Annual Report 2020

This is the final report produced by the Old Mutual Wealth IGC. In future, the IGC will take into account the former Old Mutual Wealth products and scheme members.

Previous IGC reports

IGC Annual Report 2019

IGC Annual Report 2018

Contact the IGC

If you would like your views directly represented, please email vfm@reassure.co.uk

Since 1 February 2021, customers with a ReAssure workplace pension have been represented by a new IGC, which:

  • represents workplace pension schemes within ReAssure, Phoenix Life and Standard Life, providing a consistent governance approach across the Phoenix Group, and
  • has a mix of independent and Phoenix Group members, working together to make sure our customers get value for money.

Interim Report – January 2021

Normally at the beginning of each year, the IGC is busy drafting the annual report. Due to a change in the IGC reporting timetable, our next full annual report will be available in the summer. However, there are some things we would like to tell you about now. Please read our 2021 Interim Report for more information.

IGC interim report 2021

Independent Governance Committee Members:

david hare
David joined the Standard Life IGC as Independent Chair in April 2019, and has been the Independent Chair of the Phoenix IGC since 2015.

He has over 30 years of experience in the UK insurance industry. He qualified as an actuary in 1988 and has held various actuarial, marketing and financial risk management roles in a number of life insurers, including five years as Chief Actuary, UK & Europe at Standard Life. From 2012 to 2017, he was a partner at Deloitte, specialising in actuarial audit and review work, including providing Independent Expert reports to the Court on the policyholder impact of five different inter-company transfers of insurance business. Having returned from Deloitte, he now holds a number of non-executive roles with UK insurance companies.

David was President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) from June 2013 to June 2014. Prior to becoming the President-Elect of the IFoA in June 2012, he was a non-executive member of the then Board of Actuarial Standards of the Financial Reporting Council (from January 2010). He was a member of the Independent Project Board that oversaw the ABI’s audit of the legacy pension schemes identified by the OFT in 2013 as being at risk of being poor value for money, whose December 2014 report included a number of recommendations for IGCs to follow.

Rona Cameron
Rona joined the IGC as a Company Representative in June 2020. Rona is a lawyer and joined Standard Life in 2009 after a period in private practice and in-house roles. Rona spent nine years working in Standard Life's Risk and Compliance function, leading an advisory team which supported business decisions, particularly in relation to regulatory change.

Rona currently has responsibility for governance frameworks that promote good customer outcomes and support the management of conduct risk across open and heritage businesses. Rona also has oversight of the proposition and development and management processes, as well as elements of our relationship with Standard Life Aberdeen.

Venetia Trayhurn
Venetia is a professional independent trustee and a Director of the The Law Debenture Pension Trust Corporation plc. She sits on a variety of pension boards.

Before becoming an independent trustee, she worked as an ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service, specialising in resolving members' complaints about problems they had experienced with pension products or about financial advice they had received. Prior to that, she spent ten years as a lawyer working with pension scheme boards, employers and pension providers.

She is passionate about helping members and employers understand the value of pensions savings, and making good decisions about contributions, investments and accessing money from pensions savings in retirement.

Sheila Gunn
Sheila joined the Standard Life IGC as an Independent Member in April 2019, and has been an Independent Member of the Phoenix IGC since 2015.

She is an experienced independent non-executive director. Sheila left private legal practice in 2009 to pursue a management career in industry and undertake non-executive appointments. Her first assignment was with Ignis Asset Management, to work on the merger of two asset management businesses within the Phoenix Group.

Sheila is currently Group Vice-Chair of the Wheatley Group and Chair of Wheatley Solutions. Her other non-executive appointments include the Accounts Commission, Scottish Building Society, Council of the Chartered Banker Institute and Lowther Homes Limited.

Ingrid Kirby
Ingrid has been an Independent Member of the Standard Life IGC since 2015, and joined the Phoenix IGC as Independent Member in April 2019.

She is an independent professional trustee and investment specialist with Capital Cranfield Pension Trustee Ltd, after 30 years’ experience of pension fund investment, including 25 years working at Hermes Investment Management for the BT Pension Scheme and other third party clients. She now has a portfolio of trustee roles, acting as Sole Trustee, Chair of Trustees, and Co-Trustee encompassing large and small DB/DC arrangements in both commercial and not-for-profit organisations, bringing extensive and in-depth investment expertise to trustee boards and their Investment and DC sub-committees.

Ingrid is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and a member of the Associate of Professional Pension Trustees.

Mike Pennell
Mike joined the Standard Life IGC as an Employee Member in April 2019, and has been an Employee Member of the Phoenix IGC since 2015.

He is a qualified actuary who has been with the Phoenix Group for almost 30 years, having originally joined Britannic Assurance. His current role is focused on strategy and planning within the life companies of the Group and supporting various projects including those related to integrating businesses acquired by the Group.

Mike previously worked in Finance and was responsible for financial planning and forecasting. He also has experience in product development and a variety of projects including some of the Group’s early acquisitions and restricting and activities and therefore has a broad experience across the business.

Zahir Fazal, Bestrustees
Zahir is a Chartered Accountant and a Director of BESTrustees plc. His current appointments cover a wide range of pension schemes, both defined benefit and defined contribution, and diverse industry sectors.

He has several appointments as Chair of Trustees and also chairs two Governance Committees for contract based pension arrangements. Prior to joining BESTrustees in June 2008, Zahir was a partner in a major accountancy practice, where he established their highly successful Pensions Group.

A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, he is the immediate past Chairman of the Institute’s Pensions Sub-Committee and has recently acted as Chairman of the Pensions Research Accountants Group. In these capacities, he has regular contact with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Pensions Regulator on regulatory developments.

Workplace pensions

Trustees of specific defined contribution (DC) occupational pension schemes, have to meet requirements on governance standards, charge controls and communications on pension flexibilities.

The requirements are detailed below:

  • Appointing a chair of trustees who will sign an annual Chair’s statement
  • Meeting certain governance standards and explaining this in the Chair’s statement, specifically:
    1. That core financial transactions are processed promptly and accurately
    2. That the value of charges and transaction costs borne by scheme members is reasonable
    3. That any default arrangements are designed in members’ interests and reviewed regularly
    4. That the Trustee board has the necessary knowledge and understanding to run the scheme properly
  • Informing members about the increased range of options they have at retirement

ReAssure has two trustee boards, which you can read about below.

G Trustees Limited was established in 1986 and has been acting as trustee to a number of pension schemes administered by ReAssure since then.  There are two directors who act solely in the interests of members, with any potential conflicts of interest considered in accordance with the Conflict of Interest policy, to ensure they can act independently of ReAssure.  They look after;

  • The ReAssure Number Three Executive Pension plan (with effect from 27 March 2018).

Trustees:

Paul has worked in Management and Executive positions within the Operations (Customer Services and Information Technology) Division of ReAssure for the past 30 years. During that time he has contributed towards the implementation of the key business administration and system strategies of the Company and played a key operational role in all Business Acquisitions and Migrations. Within Business Solutions, the focus is to guide the development of future strategies, systems and processes to support growth within the business and provide strong Customer outcomes.

Paul has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Accountancy from the University of Southampton.

Mike Woodcock is the UK Chief Financial Officer of ReAssure.  He joined the company on 30 July 2012.

Mike is a CIMA-qualified accountant, with over 26-years’ experience in the financial services industry.  His past experience includes financial consolidation, external/financial reporting, management accounting, business partnering, mergers and sales.

He was previously with Aviva plc holding a variety of senior roles, most recently Group Consolidation and Reporting Director responsible for leading the Financial Consolidation and Reporting Services team for the plc Group.

Mike has also held senior finance roles in India, Europe and the UK.

Assurance Reports for Occupational Scheme Trustees

Legal & General Investment Management produce several assurance reports on internal controls (AAF 01/06) which can be used by trustees of former Legal & General Occupational Schemes. The report describes the control environment and control objectives with regard to the management and administration of pooled investment funds, and sets out the control procedures established to meet those objectives. The Pooled Funds report is available from the link below and we can also provide copies of the Segregated Funds and Property Funds reports if required. Trustees can use the contact us form to request copies of these reports.

Current documents

LGIM AAF Pooled Funds Report 2019