Halcrow Pensioners Association

Newsletter No. 32

 HALCROW PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION 

 Newsletter No. 32 : April 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.

The 2018 Annual General Meeting
In accordance with HPA's constitution, an Annual General Meeting shall take place in April. The AGM has now commenced in a sub-forum of the HPA forum to which only paid-up members of HPA are given access. 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. The meeting is the member's annual opportunity to contribute to the direction and operation of HPA. The AGM is now open and the schedule is:

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

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.

General Data Protection Regulation 2018
The General Data Protection Regulation will come into force on 25 May 2018.To ensure that HPA is compliant with the new requirements, all those in HPA's database will need to opt-in to remaining on the database. This will be done via a specific email which will be sent out in the near future. A further reminder will be sent nearer the deadline after which those who have not opted in will be deleted from HPA's records and will no longer receive newsletters or other communications. HPA would stress that it does not share its database with third parties.

Petition Relating to Pre-1997 Pension Increases
HPA received from the Occupational Pensioners Alliance a link to a petition to Parliament for "All company pensions should have annual index-linked increase, including those for pensioners that earned their benefits prior to 1997." It's a subject close to Halcrow Pensioners' hearts given that we used to have these increases. You may therefore want to support the petition which is here.

White Paper on Pensions

Due to the evolving pensions landscape, the Government has recently published a White Paper entitled "Protecting defined benefit pension schemes" setting out their approach towards the future of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes. Whilst they have concluded that the system is generally working well, there are improvements to be made: 

  • Rules and expectations are to be clarified including an enforceable Defined Benefit Funding Code with tougher, clearer and quicker Regulatory action where needed,
  • Where employers do evade responsibilities, the Regulator will be provided with tougher more proactive powers whilst retaining membership and benefits protection,
  • Benefits of scale will be possible by allowing consolidation of smaller pension schemes and over the coming months the Government will be consulting on the best way forward whilst ensuring members benefits are well protected.

A full chapter was given over to the British Steel Pension Scheme and Tata Steel UK pension issues which have been dominant during the review and development of the White Paper findings. HPS went through a very similar process. Regulated Apportionment Arrangements (RAA), which until recently, were a little used mechanism that in select circumstances provide a solution to protect pensioners to some extent and separate the employer from the pension liability when the employer is subject to impending insolvency. Of note, the White Paper concludes that the RAA process in select circumstances is helpful to both the employer and the pension scheme and wishes to identify improvements without increasing any risk to pension members. Further work is to be carried out on this.

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