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In light of the Climate Emergency, there is growing pressure on countries and organisations alike to publicise what they are doing to address and tackle the issue. As your Pension Fund, we know it is our responsibility to be transparent and to explain our actions in the matter, especially when it comes to investment. We’re pleased to have a new tool in our box to help us keep that promise, that we’d like to share with you.

2020 Annual Review: Avon Pension Fund Engagement Highlights

Our ESG engagement/stewardship annual review of 2020 is here. This report outlines the engagement activity carried out by EOS Federated Hermes on behalf of Avon Pension Fund – and aims to highlight and quantify all the ESG engagement/stewardship activities carried out throughout 2020.

657 companies were engaged with across 2,419 environmental, social, governance, strategy, risk and communications issues and objectives. The impressive figures held in the report highlight how much of an impact we can have, both for the UK and world beyond.

Public sector exit cap no longer applies

The Government has confirmed that the public sector exit cap will not apply to exits from 12 February 2021.

The exit cap applied to employees leaving public sector employments from 4 November 2020 - it limited the amount of money a public sector employer could pay when an employee left their employment to £95,000.

Guidance issued by the Government states any employees who left employment between 4 November 2020 and 11 February 2021, who are directly affected by the cap should contact their previous employer. The Government expects employers to now pay any additional sums that would have been paid, if the cap had not applied. The additional sums could be payable to you as an employee or to your pension fund to pay towards to the cost of you receiving your pension early. Check with your employer if you think this applies to you.

The Government remains committed to tackling unjustified exit payments and will bring forward proposals to do this shortly. It is likely that the exit cap could be introduced again later this year.

HSBC shareholder resolution update

Intensive engagement by Brunel and the coalition of investors that filed a climate change resolution at HSBC, calling on them to publish a strategy to reduce exposure to fossil fuel assets on a timeline consistent with the Paris climate goals, has led to the withdrawal of the shareholder resolution. This is in exchange for HSBC’s own board-backed resolution.

Government updates Brexit pension guidance

The Government has updated the Brexit pension guidance to reflect that the State Pension will continue to be increased while the person is resident in the EU and that the transition period has ended. The guidance explains the rights of UK nationals in the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland to benefits and pensions now that the UK has left the EU. The Government Brexit pension guidance can be found at the follwoing location: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/benefits-and-pensions-for-uk-nationals-in-the-eea-or-switzerland

Pensions Increase

Pension increase

Government announces public service pensions which have been in payment for a year will be increased by 0.5% from 12 April 2021 in line with the September-to-September increase in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). 

Any pension which has been in payment for less than a year will be increased by a proportionate amount depending upon the number of months it has been in payment.

Brunel announce intention to back a shareholder resolution calling on HSBC to publish a strategy and targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets

Fifteen institutional investors with a combined US$ 2.4 trillion in assets under management have filed a climate change resolution at HSBC, alongside 117 individual shareholders. The resolution, co-ordinated by responsible investment NGO ShareAction, calls on HSBC to publish a strategy and targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets, starting with coal, on a timeline consistent with the Paris climate goals.

If the resolution receives more than 75% of the votes at HSBC’s AGM in April 2021, it would require the bank to publish a strategy and short-, medium- and long-term targets to reduce its exposure to fossil fuel assets on a timeline aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement

This resolution is consistent with Brunel’s previous engagement work on fossil fuel financing and follows the shareholder resolution that was co-filed by Brunel at Barclays last year.

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