The Finance and Investments team focuses on:
- the investment, actuarial and financial aspects of the Fund
- implementing and monitoring compliance with the Fund's Investment Strategy
- managing the triennial actuarial valuation and liaising with employers on actuarial issues and outsourcing of services
- managing the Fund's accounts
Finance and Investments documents
The following documents outline how the Fund operates:
The report includes the accounts for the year, changes to the LGPS together with details of membership and changes to basic scheme details that have either taken place during the year or are proposed for the future. In addition, the report includes the Actuarial Statement applicable for the year and a report on Investments and Investment performance for the year.
The report conforms broadly in content and in form with the requirements of the Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 1996 made under the Pensions Act 1995 and is compiled in line with the guidelines set out in the Statement of Recommended Practice, Financial Reports of Pension Schemes.
Each year the Avon Pension Fund Committee reports on its activities to Bath & North East Somerset Council. The report covers the scope of the work considered by the Committee during the year and the decisions taken as well as the training undertaken by the Committee members. It also highlights the future work programme of the current committee.
The Local Government Pension Scheme (Management and Investment of Funds) Regulations 2016 (Regulation 7) requires administering authorities to publish an Investment Strategy Statement from 1 April 2017. This statement replaces the Statement of Investment Principles and, among other things, details the policy on the suitability and risk attached to various types of investments. This document will be kept under review and revised from time-to-time and at least every three years.
The UK Corporate Governance Code (formerly the Combined Code) sets out standards of good practice in relation to board leadership and effectiveness, remuneration, accountability and relations with shareholders.
The UK Stewardship Code sets out good practice on engagement with investee companies to which the FRC believes institutional investors should aspire. A statement on the Fund's compliance with the FRC Stewardship Code provides a description of how the principles of the Stewardship Code have been applied by the Fund.
The FRC categorise signatories of the stewardship code based on the quality of their statement of compliance, the Avon Pension Fund has been awarded the highest Tier 1 assessment:
Tier 1 - Signatories provide a good quality and transparent description of their approach to stewardship and explanations of an alternative approach where necessary.
The Fund has a Responsible Investing (RI) Policy in place to address the impact of RI issues on the investments portfolio. The Committee have updated the policy (previously agreed in June 2012) to reflect the long term risks and opportunities arising from such issues. Key elements include:
- Re-defining the Fund’s RI principles as the foundation for the Fund’s approach
- Confirming that the identification and management of environmental social and governance (ESG) risks that may be financially material is consistent with the Fund’s fiduciary duty to members
- Clarifying how the Fund seeks to implement the RI policy, including additional detail on active ownership, reporting and stakeholder engagement, collaboration and advice
- Establishing strategic RI priorities and identifying action for the coming year, in particular:
- Undertaking carbon / climate change analysis on the investments portfolio
- Considering reducing carbon exposure and investing in sustainable opportunities in-line with the Fund’s investment objectives as part of the upcoming Investment Strategy Review
- Engaging via 3rd parties with investee companies and regulators on climate change resilience and corporate tax responsibility
The Committee spent several months reviewing its RI Policy, Mercer’s specialist Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) investment advisor advised throughout the review. The Committee also considered presentations from an investment manager, and a pension fund investor that has developed a best practice policy in addressing ESG issues within their asset portfolio.
Contacts for enquiries: Investments Team, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Funding Strategy Statement (FSS) is prepared in accordance with guidance issued by CIPFA's Pensions Panel and a draft is circulated to all the Fund's employing bodies for comment prior to approval by the Avon Pension Fund Committee.
The significance of the FSS is that the Fund's actuary. "must have regard to it as part of the fund valuation process. The FSS must be revised whenever there is a material change in the Fund's investment policy."
The Funding Strategy Statement - 2019 which was agreed by the Avon Pension Fund Committee at its meeting on 27th September 2019. It was acknowledged at that meeting that, although the substance of the Statement will not be changed, it will have to be updated prior to being finalised either to take into account changes in the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations which are introduced prior to 31 March 2020 or to reflect the fact that the anticipated changes have not been implemented by that date. The Statement will be finalised as soon as possible before 31 March 2020 and the final version will be substituted when it is available.
The Fund's actuary reviews and amends employer contribution rates every 3 years.
When the actuarial valuation has been completed, the actuary prepares a report. This analyses scheme membership by type, assesses the Fund's financial position, sets out the assumptions for future inflation and investment returns and then provides a schedule of the contribution rates for each of the Fund's employing bodies. These rates are set at a level sufficient to secure the ongoing viability of the Fund. Scheme members are reminded that their own contribution rates are fixed by statute and that it is the employing bodies who must make good any shortfall in Fund assets relative to liabilities.
Copies of the actuary's report will be circulated to all the Fund's employing bodies. The next valuation will be based on membership as at 31 March 2016 with new employer contribution rates coming into effect on 1 April 2017.