The UK’s Local Government Pensions Scheme (LGPS) consultation did not deliver the clarity pension schemes were hoping for, according to Neil Mason, assistant director and LGPS senior officer at Surrey County Council and chair of the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Authority (PLSA) local authority committee.

Speaking at the PLSA annual conference in Manchester this week, Mason said the UK pensions sector has been waiting for the LGPS consultation “for a very long time”.

He highlighted that in 2017 the government gave LGPS instructions to consolidate and as a result, schemes consolidated into eight investment pools of “various sizes and geographical locations”.

He added that schemes were looking for “clarity” from the government about what pooling should look like, however this didn’t materialise. Instead, the government instructed LGPS funds to “consolidate faster” and at the same time asked the schemes to look at different ways of investing and training their committees, while taking more responsibility away from them.

Mason said that “as a wild card” government threw in LGPS’s relationship with investment consultants into the mix.

“It’s a real potpourri,” Mason said, adding: “The government wants us to accelerate and then collaborate and ultimately we then consolidate. That’s the message we’re getting.”

LGPS consultation

At the beginning of July, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, outlined government plans to unlock up to £75bn of additional investment from defined contribution (DC) and LGPS funds to help grow the UK economy.

This included a deadline of March 2025 for all LGPS funds to transfer their assets into LGPS investment pools, suggesting that each pool should exceed £50bn and increase investment in private equity to 10% of their assets.

Read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine