Latest news & announcements

Your Annual Pension Benefit Statement 2020 is on its way

If you are paying into the local government pension scheme (LGPS) you will receive an Annual Pension Benefit Statement from the Avon Pension Fund by the end of August.

It shows the pension you have built up to 31 March 2020 as well as a future projection of your benefits if you remain paying into the scheme to your Normal Pension Age (NPA). This is the age you would retire and take your benefits without any reduction to your pension.

The statements will be posted out to you from mid to late August.

Focus on Investments: Sustainability and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The economic and societal impact of Covid-19 is now becoming more apparent and poses many additional challenges for companies, consumers, governments and investors alike. In our last newsletter we communicated our plans to directly address the risks posed by climate change. As we start to adjust to the ‘new normal’ it is important we redouble our efforts to transform our portfolio for a lower carbon world.

Amidst the unprecedented market volatility in March, companies responding positively to the challenges of climate change, environmental sustainability and social well-being were able to demonstrate their value. Over the first three months of the year, the Fund’s low carbon global equities outperformed the mainstream equity market and our sustainable equity portfolio experienced roughly half of the severe declines suffered by its benchmark.

We continue to make progress in the following areas, which remain critical if we are to achieve our ambitious climate change goals:

Update for members - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What we are doing

As with many organisations, due to the current COVID-19 health crisis, we have had to close our office and our staff are now homeworking.

Therefore, we will be responding to, and dealing with, urgent enquiries and cases as our priority. Our focus will be the payment of all pension benefits to our members and their dependants.

Read our FAQs

In conjunction with the Local Government Association we have produced a set of Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for scheme members.

The FAQs covers subjects such as the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, ‘Emergency Volunteer Leave’ and can be access from the members website at the following location:

www.avonpensionfund.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-faqs-for-lgps-members

How you can help

Please help us by wherever possible getting in touch by email. If you have an enquiry, please email: avonpensionfund@bathnes.gov.uk  

You can also use the ‘Contact us’ facility on our website, to send your enquiry with your contact details by visiting the following webpage:

www.avonpensionfund.org.uk/contact-us  

You can also access your pension account using our secure self-service website my pension online. Where you can view your pension details, access your annual benefit statement, perform estimates and update your expression of wish nominations and contact details.

If you haven’t registered for my pension online already, it’s a simple process, visit the registration webpage https://myaccount.avonpensionfund.org.uk/ with your National Insurance number, click on ‘Register’ and follow the instructions.

As we currently have very limited access to both our building and incoming post, we have introduced a secure service by which you can receive and return your documents digitally.

Full details on our electronic processing service and identity checking is available here:

PDF iconCOVID-19 Update – New Administrative Procedures

Full details on how to use the SecureShare portal software is available here:

PDF iconSecureShare Guide for Scheme Members

If you are not able to communicate digitally you can send documents to the Avon Pension Fund at the usual address, however, incoming post is currently retrieved on a limited basis, and we must therefore make you aware that this may change as the situation with COVID-19 continues to unfold, and as such there may be a significant delay in our ability to retrieve your documents for action.

You can still contact us by telephone if your enquiry is urgent, please call 01225 395100. Our telephone service is operating weekdays, between 9am and 4pm.

We’ll keep updating our website regularly as the situation changes.

We appreciate your understanding and support during this difficult time.

Preparing for retirement

Preparing for retirement

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis the Affinity Connect pre-retirement workshops have been temporarily replaced by a dedicated 2-hour Pre-Retirement Online Course.

If you have booked to attend the upcoming July workshop, Affinity will contact you to invite you to join this Online Course.

Brunel Partnership wins two prestigious environmental finance awards

Brunel Pension Partnership has been named the Pension fund of the year by Environmental Finance. It also picked up another award for ESG Initiative of the Year.

Environmental Finance (EF) is an online news and analysis service set up over 20 years ago to report on sustainable investment, green finance and the people and companies active in environmental markets. Its Sustainable Investment Awards seek to recognise those asset managers, analysts and data providers that incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in their investments.

In awarding Brunel Pension Partnership with the prestigious Pension fund of the year EF praised Brunel for its clear and broad climate policy, active engagement, and ongoing push for disclosure improvements.

The second award ESG Initiative of the Year recognises the work Brunel carried out in conjunction with consultancy Chronos Sustainability. Where they developed a climate change framework designed to achieve investment returns whilst being in alignment with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Draft Investment Strategy Statement

We are currently consulting on our draft Investment Strategy Statement (ISS) with stakeholders.  It is a technical document that is drafted to comply with LGPS regulations and guidance.

The ISS sets out how the Fund will achieve its primary strategic objective of paying the pensions due over time.  This entails balancing the risk within the portfolio between generating returns and protecting capital, recognising our responsibility as a shareholder/investor and how the Fund can contribute to resolving materially financial global issues and at the same time ensuring it maintains affordability for employers. We acknowledge it is difficult to achieve all the differing aspirations and objectives of our stakeholders; our strategy includes those that are aligned with the primary objective and where they do not increase the financial risk to the Fund and our ability to pay pensions.

This Statement incorporates changes resulting from the Fund’s most recent investment strategy review including changes to the asset allocation and the setting of climate change objectives. The setting of explicit climate objectives reflects the Fund’s belief that climate change presents a material financial risk to our assets and managing this risk is consistent with our over-arching fiduciary duty to the scheme members.

Feedback on the ISS from scheme members will be considered alongside comments from other key stakeholders such as the Pension Board, employers and trade unions ahead of the document being finalised in September.

Please submit comments by 12 August 2020 to AvonPF_Investments@bathnes.gov.uk

PDF iconDraft Investment Strategy Statement

Brunel Pension Partnership - 2020 Responsible Investment and Stewardship Outcomes Report

Brunel Pension Partnership, today issued their 2020 Responsible Investment and Stewardship Outcomes Report, acknowledging the significant contribution made by Avon alongside all of the Brunel client funds. The report gives an account of how Brunel have delivered against our joint strategic responsible investment priorities through the year.

https://www.brunelpensionpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Brunel-2020-Responsible-Investment-and-Stewardship-Outcomes-Report.pdf

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