richard balfe

Judge’s comment -  “Richard has been an outstanding and outspoken supporter of pensions funds and the pensions industry, not only in his capacity as chairman of the MEPs fund, and more recently as a director of the CERN fund, but all through his political career, especially as an MEP. This is something he will continue in his new role in the House of Lords”

A dedicated public servant
Now a member of the UK’s House of Lords and one of the UK’s representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee, Richard Balfe’s pedigree in pension scheme management and investments is second to none. He remains chairman of the fully funded Luxembourg-based European Parliament Members Pension Fund and is one of two specialist external directors of the Geneva-based inter-governmental pension scheme, CERN’s Pension Fund Governing Board.

In addition he is a trustee of the UK’s Royal Statistical Society Pension Fund. Balfe is a keen promoter of the principles of strengthening pension scheme governance and investments.

Balfe has an equally long and distinguished political career, which has contributed to his influence and commitment to the pensions industry. In addition to being an MP at some time for both main UK political parties, Labour and the Conservatives, he enjoyed a long career as an MEP, having first been elected to the European parliament in 1979 until finally stepping down in 2004. In the second half of 2013, he became a life peer in the UK, taking the title Lord Balfe of Dulwich, a suburb in south London.

ipe outstanding industry contribution 2013 - shortlisted

As a trained mediator, Balfe remains active in pensions, commercial and general mediation work. As part of this, Balfe was instrumental in the UK’s public sector pension scheme reforms that will be implemented from 2015. The UK government had commissioned a report in part to adapt the culture of public sector pensions to be more in line with the private sector. The bill for funding public pensions was expected to double by 2015 to £9bn (€10.7bn) if allowed to grow at the previous contribution rate and level of expected benefit increases.

Appointed by the UK government as its representative to improve relations with trades unions and consider different scenarios to providing a solution to the issue, Balfe’s recommendations concluded that public sector workers could continue to enjoy the same level of generous pensions benefit but they would need to accept changes to working conditions in other areas to compensate, essentially an increase in the age at which UK public sector workers can retire with a full defined benefit pension. Moreover, Balfe argued that only a modest increase in the level of the employees’ contributions could effectively maintain the same level of retirement income they expected.

As a specialist external director of the CERN Pension Fund, Balfe has contributed to the scheme undertaking an extensive investment and risk management review in recent years that has turned the intergovernmental arrangement into an award-winning fund. Following the first steps in its overhaul, CERN has turned its fortunes around considerably by adopting a sophisticated risk management framework to monitor and implement its revamped dynamic actively diversified investment strategy that replaces a quasi- static policy that was failing to keep the scheme funded.