The Halcrow Pension Scheme
The Halcrow Pension Scheme
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The Halcrow Pension Scheme (HPS) is a defined benefit pension scheme established in 1989 with members being transferred from the preceding Halcrow Staff Pension Scheme (HSPS) which had been established in 1972. Details are documented in these announcements to scheme members and described in the scheme handbook. It is believed that the company created the new scheme in the belief that there were more funds in HSPS than were needed by HPS and the surplus would be returned to the company and used towards the extension of the Burderop Park office. In the event, the actuarial review showed there was no surplus. However, at that time the scheme was well-funded and members had a contributions holiday between January 1987 and July 1990. Initially there was an Interim Deed for HPS which was replaced in 1992 by the Definitive Deed and Rules. There is a further Deed of Amendment with updated rules dated February 2010.
In 1997 the government changed the rules relating to the taxation of pension funds which reduced their investment income. The impact of this tax changed was mentioned in this Notice to Halcrow staff dated February 1999.
Key events for HPS was the closure to new members effective 1st February 2001 and the scheme was closed for further accruals to existing members on 1st January 2008 with the exception of those members who had been transferred in from public sector schemes, for whom HPS is still open. Also in 2001 members were offered the option to pay lower contributions and defer their retirement dage beyond 60 (to a maximum of 65) as part of the company initiate to raise the retirement age. In October 2008 the trustees announced that the early and late retirement factors would be changed.
The original trustees were company nominated. However, this was changed because the 2004 Pensions Act required at least one-third of the trustees to be nominated by scheme members (see this typical announcement). However, there has been no process of election by the broad membership and the member-nominated trustees have been people effectively selected by the existing trustees (many of whom are scheme members and therefore able to make nominations).
In May 2016 it was announced that a corporate trustee "Halcrow Pension Trustees Ltd" had been established and the existing trustees have become directors. It was stated that this will improve efficiency.
There are two primary sources of information about HPS: An incomplete collection of scheme reports to members, actuarial reports and other announcements; and the annual reports of the sponsoring company (Halcrow Holdings) which are available for the period 1986 to 2014. These documents are listed here.