Latest news & announcements

Christmas and New Year office opening times

The Avon Pension Fund office opening times over the Christmas and New Year holidays are as follows:

  • Thurs 24th December (Christmas Eve) Closed
  • Fri 25th December (Christmas Day) Closed
  • Mon 28th December (Boxing Day Bank Holiday) Closed
  • Tues 29th December Open 9am–4pm
  • Wed 30th December Open 9am–4pm
  • Thurs 31st December (New Year's Eve) Open 9am–4pm
  • Fri 1st January 2021 (New Year's Day) Closed
  • Mon 4th January Normal opening hours resume (9am–4pm)

Our telephone service will be operating as per the above times.

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.

Public sector exit cap introduced

The Government has introduced a cap on the amount of money a public sector employer can pay when an employee leaves their employment. It is called the public sector exit cap, or £95k cap. It applies to employees leaving public sector employments from 4th November 2020.

The exit cap is most likely to affect you if you are a public sector employee aged 55 or over and you are made redundant or you leave your employment due to business efficiency. This is because the amount your employer pays to the pension fund so that you can receive your pension early is included in the exit cap calculation.

The Local Government Association have published LGPS member FAQs on the exit cap, which are available at the following location: https://lgpsmember.org/news/story/exitcap_qanda.php

Responsible Investment Annual Report 2019/20

The Avon Pension Fund has published its eighth Responsible Investment Annual Report. The report underlines the Funds recognition that transparency and disclosure of its Responsible Investing Policy and the related activities is an important element of being a responsible investor.

The report details the activities undertaken during 2019/20 by the Fund, our managers and our partners to deliver and support our Responsible Investing Policy.

This year’s key achievements include the doubling of our commitment to renewable infrastructure and increasing our assets allocated to sustainable equities from 3.5% to 10% of all assets.

As we recognise the importance of investor collaboration, another key development we were pleased to make was joining the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). This presents us with the opportunity to participate in policy advocacy and portfolio implementation work alongside many like-minded investors and will help us ensure we continue as a leader in the field of responsible investment.

Our Responsible Investment priorities remain unchanged for the coming year as does our commitment to create value for our beneficiaries and at the same time make a positive environmental and social impact.

PDF iconResponsible Investing Annual Report 2019/20

Investment Strategy Statement

Our Investment Strategy Statement (ISS) has now been published after the stakeholder consultation process has been completed.

The ISS is a technical document that is produced to comply with LGPS regulations and guidance. It 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 and recognising our role as a responsible investor and the contribution we can make in addressing environmental, social and governance related issues while ensuring affordability for our 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.

PDF iconInvestment Strategy Statement - September 2020

Money and Pension Service launches Money Navigator tool

The Money and Pension Service has launched a new online tool to help people navigate their finances in the wake of the coronavirus. The Money Navigator tool, available on the Money Advice Service website, asks people a short series of questions about their financial situation, before providing guidance which is personalised according to their needs. It will highlight areas where they should consider taking action most urgently to avoid money problems later on.

As well as helping people who are looking for support in a specific area, the tool will also help those who might be in a better financial position due to COVID-19 and want to know what to do with any savings they may have built up. The Money Navigator tool is available at the following location: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool

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:

Local Government Association (LGA) publish McCloud member FAQs

When the Government reformed public service pension schemes in 2014 and 2015 they introduced protections for older members. In December 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that younger members of the Judges' and Firefighters' Pension schemes had been discriminated against because the protections did not also apply to them.

The Government has confirmed that there will be changes to all main public sector schemes, including the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), to remove this age discrimination. This ruling is often referred to as the 'McCloud judgment' after a member of the Judges' Pension Scheme involved in the case.

The changes will apply to members who were in the scheme on 31 March 2012 and also have membership after 31 March 2014 (without a break of more than five years in any public service pension scheme).

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