Halcrow Pensioners Association

Newsletter No. 30

 HALCROW PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION 

 Newsletter No. 30 : March 2018

This is a newsletter of the Halcrow Pensioners Association. More details of HPA's objectives, organisation and its activities are here. You have been sent this newsletter because you may be a member of the Halcrow Pension Scheme or its successor, HPS2. Membership of HPA is open to all interested HPS / HPS2 members and currently costs £10/year.  If you are not a member then please use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email to remove your name from the mailing list or email the webmaster to remove your name.

Notice of 2018 Annual General Meeting
In accordance with HPA's constitution, an Annual General Meeting shall take place in April. It is proposed to adopt the format used previously of a virtual meeting in a sub-forum of the HPA forum to which only paid-up members of HPA will be given access. The meeting will be the member's annual opportunity to contribute to the direction and operation of HPA. The 2018 AGM will be held in the HPA forum between 21st and 30th April. The proposed schedule, which has been stretched based on the pace of previous AGMs, for the meeting is:

Stage Date
Commencement of AGM  21 - 22 April
Discussion  23 - 27 April
Voting  28 - 30 April

The agenda is here and the minutes of the 2017 AGM are here. Nominations or proposed items to be discussed at the AGM can be posted in the 2018 AGM forum to provide opportunity for others to view and, if appropriate, comment on them. Alternatively, please email them (also any apologies) to the secretary. An updated agenda will be issued before the meeting. The AGM is the opportunity for the members to provide their views on the direction and strategy of HPA.

Volunteers for HPA Committee
The HPA committee is very keen to add new members, particularly those who are deferred pensioner scheme members. If you are interested to help or would like to improve your understanding of pensions-related issues then please contact the HPA secretary who can also provide additional information about the committee activities. Distance is not a problem as most of the committee discussion takes place using the internet.

2018 Subscriptions
For those who haven't already paid, the HPA treasurer looks forward to receiving your 2018 subscription. It remains at £10 as agreed at the 2017 AGM. Payment by bank transfer is preferred because there are no transaction charges although you can also pay by credit card through our PayPal portal. Details of the payment methods are here. Access to the 2018 AGM will be restricted to those who have paid their 2018 subscription. If you have paid your subscription then please check that you have access to the forum. If you haven't registered then please do so or if you have forgotten your forum registration details then please email the webmaster.

Disputes Referred to the Pensions Ombudsman
Since the previous newsletter several of the HPS members who had referred disputes to the Pensions Ombudsman received what appeared to be a standard response stating that the Ombudsman proposed to close their cases. However, replies have been sent to the Ombudsman requesting specific responses to the individual issues raised. One point mentioned by the Ombudsman is that it is not within their powers to review whether the the Pensions Regulator has properly exercised its statutory functions.

Discount on Fred Olsen Cruises
The 10% discount which HPA previously negotiated with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is still valid. More details about the available cruises are here and you can find out here how to obtain your discount.

The Future of HPA
The need for HPA continues and among the possible ongoing tasks are:
1.    To closely monitor HPS2 and watch out for Jacobs trying to reduce pensions further or claim back contributions on the grounds of the scheme being over-funded (a few years of higher inflation could create this situation).
2.    To examine or comment on proposals for changes to pension-related laws or regulations.
3.    Take opportunities to press for better supervision of pension schemes and their sponsoring companies.
4.    To share the experience of HPA with the wider community of defined benefit pension scheme members whose pensions are threatened due to underfunding.

Previous Newsletters
If you haven't been with HPA from the start or want to remind yourself of previous events then you can browse through the previous newsletters for which there is a full list here.