I've worked with Terry both in his capacity as a trustee of a defined benefit scheme, and as an actuary and consultant. Terry brings rigour, organisation and professionalism to his assignments and looks to build open and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders and advisers to ensure projects are delivered in an efficient and timely manner.”
Paul Matthews, Osborne Clarke LLP
Independent, Professional Trustee Chair
Defined benefit scheme in the process of winding-up
When the Scheme sponsor's UK business operations were significantly downsized and the Sponsor, which is a multi-national company, set the objective of winding the Scheme up, it became desirable, from both cost and risk management perspectives, for the Sponsor to appoint an Independent, Professional Trustee to help manage the Scheme, which is valued at about £40m.
Within this role, in addition to the onerous Trustee responsibilities, we work with the German based client and co-lay Trustee, helping them understand the UK pension environment and hence manage the work to be undertaken. Together with the Scheme's advisers, over whom we have management oversight, we have undertaken scheme benefit and investment changes and de-risking exercises, including Enhanced Transfer Value (ETV) and Flexibility at Retirement (FaR) exercises, designed to balance and best meet to the needs of Scheme members and the Scheme Sponsor, while complying with all legislation and regulatory guidance. We continue to work to finalise the Scheme buy-out and wind-up during 2019 using project management tools and clear communications to all those involved, especially the scheme’s members.
Within this role we have responsibilities relating to Scheme expenses and budgeting and aspects of Pension Scheme Management. We have also facilitated the setting up of a new Defined Contribution Scheme and ongoing benefit provision through our trusted adviser network.
Investment Manager review
defined benefit scheme requiring investment manager
When the Trustees of a Pension Scheme decided they wished to explore the possibility of appointing a new Investment Manager, they asked us to manage and prepare all the work on their behalf. After learning about the Scheme and the Trustees’ and sponsor’s objectives, we prepared an Invitation to Tender (ITT) document for agreement and, working with all the parties involved, identified and agreed eight potential service providers.
Having worked with these potential service providers and reviewed their returned ITT submissions, we invited the four providers whom we believed provided the best proposals to present to the Trustees and Sponsor, after which the preferred provider was appointed.
Lindis Consulting then helped oversee and manage the transition from the old to the new Investment manager ultimately resulting in a significant reduction in Investment Manager expenses; clearer communications; much reduced Trustee and Sponsor time spent reviewing Investment issues and, most importantly, significantly reduced volatility of the Scheme's Funding and Accounting positions, all of which were objectives set for the review.
This work was undertaken for around half the cost of the main employee benefit consultancies and without conflict, because Lindis Consulting does not provide Investment Manager services.
Strategic Pension Scheme review
Work with Trustees and Sponsor on future plans
Within the scope of this project, we worked to understand the objectives and constraints of the Scheme’s Trustees and Sponsor and used this knowledge, along with our internal knowledge and expertise, to propose a strategic plan designed to best meet the business’ and Scheme’s needs and requirements. We used tested strategy tools and research to consider the Pension Scheme, and its members, many of whom are still employees, within the context of the Sponsor's overall business. In undertaking this task we worked with the Scheme Trustees, company directors and other advisers, to gain an understanding their objectives and concerns. Based on this understanding, further research and our extensive knowledge and experience of dealing with many Pension Schemes in many business areas over many years, proposals for managing the Scheme were clearly set out with proposed actions, a time line and the rationale discussed and improved upon. We are currently working to implement the plans agreed managing and reporting on progress, including working with the Trustees’ and Company’s external advisers.
The main benefits to the company of this approach are that it will provide clarity of purpose and save the director’s time, which is very limited, in a way in which they retain complete control of all aspects and without using consultants who are potentially conflicted due to the other services they provide and for whom this work would not be a priority.
Company Strategic Review
Work with company directors and advisers on plans
As with the Pension Scheme example, it was important in this case that company leaders keep an eye on and understand the future direction of their business and the environment in which it operates. In this case, the day to day pressures and workloads had resulted in the company losing market share in one of its major markets essentially through technological and supply chain advances they had not anticipated. This disruption resulted in increased competition and pressure on costs in a way that was difficult for the business to react to quickly, resulting in them losing significant contacts and revenue.
Lindis Consulting is working with this client and its other advisers to implement a strategic plan whereby the directors understand the business’ strengths and weaknesses and the wider business environment within which it operates, including the current and potential sources of competition. Armed with these insights we are working to implement a series of changes and improvements to the business’ operations and customer facing interfaces designed to first stabilise and then grow the business based on the insights gained from the strategic review.
The company directors in this case benefit from our knowledge and experience, especially through Terry’s MBA and associated network, and from our work with other businesses which enable us to consider solutions the directors had not previously explored.
Supporting Pension Scheme Sponsor
Defined benefit scheme within Small organisation
For this client we support the Finance Director and part-time internal pension manager support, to help them better manage the Scheme in ways we jointly determine will be most beneficial. This work can also extend to Trustee roles and responsibilities if appropriate and agreed.
Examples of the work undertaken are a review and redrafting of the Scheme’s membership booklet; considering member communications more generally, specifically annual newsletters and the provision of an intranet site; Secretarial services including meeting planning and minute taking; liaison with the company’s and Trustees’ other advisers ensuring their work is understood and on track.
By working in this way the Finance Director is essentially able to delegate jobs to Lindis Consulting, confident that work to be progressed without drawing on their own limited resource and hence ultimately enabling the organisation to achieve more work, more efficiently and cost effectively and in such a way that the organisation does not become overly reliant on and has independent, unconflicted oversight over its other outsource partners.
Trustees and sponsor unhappy with service providers
Lindis Consulting was introduced to this client by another adviser within our network because the Defined Benefit Pension Scheme Trustees and Sponsor were not satisfied with and had essentially lost trust in some of the Scheme’s advisers, notably the Independent Trustee and Administrator. I worked with the client to understand their concerns and thereafter make proposals to them about how they could consider regaining effective control (largely through better cost management, communication and contractual terms); seek to regain effective working relationships and, if change were required how we believed the organisation and Trustees could most optimally manage change in terms of timing and process and in such a way that they were able to retain control and manage risk.
Key personnel transition
NEW FINance director and trustees appointed
In these cases we work as appropriate with the incumbent and new position holders to help them become familiar and confident in taking on their new responsibilities and managing the effective transition of those responsibilities. This work is likely to involve elements of education, including, but not limited to, considering the Pension Regulator’s codes of practice (see https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/codes-of-practice ) and for Trustees working through the Trustee Toolkit training; considering all the other parties involved in Scheme management and working through the current list of jobs to be done and considering how these can best be progressed.
The benefits of this approach are that the new position holders feel reassured and supported through the change and that necessary work continues to be undertaken and progressed with minimal delays, thus reducing both costs, risks, stress and frustration.
Work with company directors in funding negotiation
In this case we were approach by the directors of an organisation which supports a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme because they were concerned with the way the triennial valuation funding negotiations were being managed and the potential implications on the organisation and its business objectives.
We were able to use our expertise and experience as both Trustee and Scheme Actuary to help bridge the knowledge, trust and understanding gaps that had developed between the various parties involved and hence explain to others the objectives and concerns of the other parties in ways that each party could appreciate. Thereafter we suggested some proposals, many previously unconsidered and again drawing on our experience, designed to meet these various objectives as efficiently and effectively as possible, while still ensuring all parties were comfortable.
Our involvement in this case saved time, money and considerable frustration by helping others to understand different perspectives and possibilities in ways that is only possible with experience, knowledge and communication skills developed over many years.
Private Equity Investigations
Due diligence assistance
We have helped employers of and advisers to overseas businesses which are considering the purchase of UK companies with Defined Benefit Pension Schemes to better understand the nature of the liabilities and UK regulatory environment. In so doing, we help clients gain sufficient knowledge far more quickly, efficiently and hence cost-effectively than would be possible through independent research, the time aspect in particular being of paramount importance given the nature of the investigations and the inability to seek answers directly from the target company.
Through this focused interaction clients are able to make decisions about how to progress any negotiations and where specifically to focus any future investigations about the Pension Scheme and potential transaction enabling them to mitigate their risks in a more informed way. We are naturally available to help manage such future work as appropriate and requested.
Presentations and training
training, conference and member presentations
Terry has spoken at several conferences, including events run by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (see: https://www.actuaries.org.uk/ ); provided lectures to students about actuarial work to undergraduates at Exeter University and designed and presented to many business leaders, trustee boards, scheme members and company directors on matters ranging from general financial and pension education and awareness to more complex and specific actuarial techniques.
If you, your colleagues, your employees or your business partners could benefit from such a presentation or training, please contact us.