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Don’t let a scammer enjoy your retirement

Scammers are targeting pension pots of all sizes – make sure you know how to spot the signs

Pension scammers are targeting people like you with the average victim losing £91,000 each. 

Scams are hard to spot and are often disguised with credible websites, testimonials and materials which make them look like the real thing.

To help you spot the signs and protect yourself from a scam, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Pensions Regulator suggest following four simple steps.

Brunel Pension Partnership Co-file a Shareholder Resolution at Barclays AGM

In January we published details of a landmark shareholder resolution co-filed by Brunel Pension Partnership calling on Barclays to set and disclose targets to phase out its financing of fossil fuel companies where they are not aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The outcome of the meeting has been hailed a success with Barclays’ own resolution winning majority support and committing them to becoming net carbon zero by 2050. The shareholder resolution won significant minority support in its own right, prompting the bank to consult with shareholders and explain the views received and actions taken publicly within six months.

The result is a great example of the power of Pooling and highlights now more than ever the value of shareholder engagement as the Fund seeks to deliver on its ambitious climate change objectives.

Further information relating to both resolutions can be found here: https://www.brunelpensionpartnership.org/2020/04/29/from-ambition-to-action-lpgs-investors-ask-barclays-to-firm-up-commitments-on-climate/

Brunel Pension Partnership’s official statement following the outcome of the Barclays AGM can be found here: https://www.brunelpensionpartnership.org/2020/05/07/barclays-climate-resolution-outcome/

Transforming our investment portfolio for a lower carbon world

We are all witnessing the impact of climate change on our lives and many of our employers have declared climate emergencies in recent months. The current global health crisis underscores the importance of mitigating such risks on a global scale. Climate change, in particular, represents a systemic risk to people, the planet, and to the investment returns which are necessary to enable payment of pensions. The need for action on the climate crisis is more critical now than ever before.

Avon Pension Fund, already recognised as a leader in Responsible Investment, has recently reviewed its investment strategy to support the transition to a greatly reduced carbon economy. The changes we have made will enable us to lower our carbon footprint and invest more capital in renewables, while preserving our ability to guarantee pension payments to beneficiaries.

The LGPS and stock markets

There has been a lot of disturbing news lately about the fall in stock markets and the potential resultant impact on pensions, however, we would like to reassure you that your LGPS defined benefit pension is not linked to stock market performance and the benefits are instead set out in statute. Our members can therefore be assured that both their contributions and their pension, whether in payment or built up to date, will be unaffected.  Please note that this statement does not apply to any in-house AVC contributions you may be paying to our in-house provider Aviva which may be impacted by the fall in stock markets.

Government announces changes to Lifetime Allowance and Tapered Annual Allowance from 6 April 2020

The annual allowance is the most you can save in your pension schemes each year with the benefit of tax relief. Tapering of the annual allowance is applied depending on your income within the tax year and applies to all pension savings that you make or that are made on your behalf. 

At Budget 2020, the government announced increases to the threshold income and adjusted income limits that you use to work out your tapered annual allowance. From 6 April 2020, the adjusted income limit will rise to £240,000 (increased from £150,000) and the threshold income limit will rise to £200,000 (increased from £110,000).

How safe is my pension?

I’ve heard about the fall in global stock market values and wondered if my pension is safe.

Yes, your local government pension is safe

You may have seen many articles in the media about the fall in share prices around the world, as companies struggle to cope with the impact of the coronavirus and wondered just how secure your pension from the Avon Pension Fund is.

The Avon Pension Fund is part of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The LGPS is a statutory defined benefit scheme which means that your pension will continue to be worked out using a set formula and it is guaranteed by Government. LGPS is funded by pension contributions from members and scheme employers

The Avon Pension Fund reduces risk by spreading its investments across a wide number of different types of assets all over the world, including shares or equities, property, government bonds and company bonds. This means that if the value of one type of asset should fall (such as some equities in the current market), then the other investments will protect the Fund.

The Fund has experienced economic downturns in the past and a long-term view must be taken of investment returns.

Despite the uncertainty you may hear from the media concerning global markets, you should not be unduly concerned about your local government pension from Avon Pension Fund.

It is as secure a pension as it’s possible to have.

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