Raising the bar in pensions

penny green

Judge’s comment: “Penny has been a stalwart in UK pensions for many years and will be missed for her highly engaged and committed approach.”

With over 20 years in the pensions industry, Penny Green has devoted herself not only to streamlining and improving the Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London (SAUL), the €2.4bn multi-employer plan established in 1976 for non-academic employees at the extensive network of institutions comprising the University of London, but also to the wider pensions industry in the UK.

Green joined SAUL as its chief executive in 1998 and retired in the autumn of 2104. Probably the most important legacy she leaves behind is SAUL Pension Services (SPS), the fund’s specialist dedicated pensions administration company which Green created in 2002 and of which she was managing director. The concept behind SPS is to meet the demand for high-quality administration at a fair price. SPS’s affiliation with SAUL means it provides defined benefit expertise, technology, business efficiencies and risk and quality controls to clients. The costs the participating employers incur are also lower than the industry average thanks to the economies of scale this close and aligned relationship creates. Under Green, SPS has grown to provide an extensive set of services to SAUL’s clients. This includes:

ipe pension fund personality of the year 2014 - contenders

• Pensions administration. Within a fixed fee structure, SPS’s teams are committed to excellence in administration, providing members with a highly comprehensive, accurate and responsive service through accurate calculations, automated processes and direct contact. Pensions administration also includes the development of technology solutions to support the skills and experience of pensions teams as well as member and client online facilities and monthly, quarterly and annual reports to help the trustee boards with scheme governance.

• Communications. SPS is dedicated to excellence in communications, using plain language, a variety of media and measurable member feedback for clients. It produces standard benefit statements tailored for each scheme within SAUL. Each year, the communications team surveys all SAUL’s clients’ members to find out how well they understand their benefits and how engaged they are with their scheme. SPS also sends each client an administration report.

• Payroll and accounts. SPS is dedicated to ensuring SAUL pays the right pension to the right person at the right time. Its payroll and accounts team also provides cash flow services, measuring the financial strength of each individual client’s business or scheme. It also offers services to the clients so that they keep up to date with money coming in and money going out.

• Knowledge. With Green’s long-standing determination to improve understanding and awareness for members of pension schemes, SPS remains committed to providing timely and professional technical support on pension matters to its clients as well as imparting its extensive knowledge to the schemes comprising SAUL’s clients. This includes advice and communication about regular and often complex changes to pensions legislation. SPS runs regular trustee training services that are award-winning and designed to meet the UK Pensions Regulator’s trustee knowledge and understanding (TKU) requirements. This is supplemented by ad hoc training on regulatory issues and new legislation and any scheme specific needs any of SAUL’s clients might have.

• Trustee services. SPS is dedicated to delivering a professional and supportive trustee secretarial service to ensure board meetings are effective and productive. Its trustee services team are on hand to offer advice. SPS can also provide a committee secretary to work with the chairperson to ensure trustee board meetings run efficiently and smoothly, covering all the topics they need to discuss. The secretary will then draft the minutes of each meeting.