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.

ReAssure established an Independent Governance Committee (IGC) 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 ReAssure 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.

Related documents

ReAssure

IGC Terms of Reference

IGC Annual Report

Contact the IGC

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

 

ReAssure Independent Governance Committee Members:

Zahir Fazal, Bestrustees
Zahir Fazal is a Chartered Accountant and a Director of BESTrustees plc.  His current appointments cover a wide range of pension schemes and diverse industry sectors. He has several appointments as Chair of Trustees.

Zahir takes a particular interest in governance and investment issues. Zahir is also experienced in negotiating with employers on funding and other issues and with his background is quick to understand and appreciate a company’s financial position and corporate objectives.

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 currently Chairman of the Institute’s Pensions Sub-Committee and immediate past Chairman of the Pensions Research Accountants Group where he remains on the Board.  In these capacities he has regular contact with the DWP and the Pensions Regulator on regulatory developments.

Giles Payne
Giles has over 25 years' experience in pensions, having worked for consultancies, an insurance company, an asset manager and now as an Independent Trustee.

Giles chairs 5 schemes and works with another four Investment Sub-committees.

Before joining HR Trustees, he worked for 10 years for Legal & General Investment Management as a client manager, looking after a range of schemes, covering various investment mandates including both defined benefits and defined contribution. He was involved in the design and implementation of strategies including liability driven investment solutions and multiple managers.

Before moving into investment management, Giles gained experience within pensions including administration, legal documentation, technical training and consultancy covering both defined benefit and defined contribution arrangements.

Venetia Trayhurn
Venetia is an experienced professional trustee, with a broad portfolio of pension schemes ranging in asset size from £100m to £6bn, and covering occupational defined benefit, hybrid and defined contribution schemes. She also works with a master trust and two independent governance committees overseeing workplace personal pensions.

An experienced pensions lawyer and ombudsman before joining LawDeb, Venetia’s particular areas of expertise are:

  • Working with trustees to improve board effectiveness and better use of advisers
  • Negotiating and project-managing complex transactions involving multiple parties and competing interests
  • All aspects of governance, and the legal, regulatory and tax framework for operating occupational and personal pension schemes
  • Member engagement and effective communication, to improve retirement outcomes
  • Dispute resolution, ombudsman processes, litigation and court procedures, involving members, trustees, employers and/or professional advisers

Business members

Paul Parsons
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.

Simon Tomlinon
Simon joined the company in 2006 with the acquisition of the GE Life group of companies, and was appointed Actuarial Function Holder of ReAssure in 2010.

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.