Latest news & announcements

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.

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

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