The trustees of the New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS), the pension fund for the airliner British Airways (BA), has retained LCP for actuarial services and has extended the appointment to include investment and strategic de-risking advice.

LCP’s appointment comes after an extensive selection process, which recognised the firm’s expertise and experience in pensions funding, investment, de-risking and journey planning advisory services, it was announced.

“Since LCP started working with us in 2018, they have always felt like an extension of our team,” said Vinny Ehzuvan, chief executive officer of BA Pensions.

During the recent actuarial valuation, LCP used a collaborative and flexible approach to working with key stakeholders, supported by advice that innovatively integrated their Visualise technology platform and the trustees’ outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) investment model with BlackRock, he said.

“This helped to deliver a holistic solution to manage the multiple challenges of the global pandemic, geopolitical disruption, and investment market turmoil. We look forward to working closely with their wider team to focus on what is important to us and to develop and implement a market-leading, fully joined-up funding and investment strategy to achieve the best outcomes for our members,” Ehzuvan added.

Aaron Punwani, scheme actuary of NAPS and CEO of LCP, said: “The last few years have been incredibly rewarding, as we have worked closely with NAPS to reach favourable outcomes from their previous two actuarial valuations in wildly different circumstances.”

As part of the appointment, LCP will work closely with the BA Pensions executive, the trustee directors of NAPS and BlackRock to evolve the scheme’s customised investment strategy to meet its funding requirements and de-risking objectives.

BlackRock gest FCA green light on long-term asset fund

BlackRock has received regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to launch a long-term asset fund (LTAF), adding to its existing range of innovative defined contribution (DC) retirement solutions.

BlackRock Diversified Alternative Strategies LTAF will offer DC schemes a broader set of opportunities by blending multiple private market asset classes, such as infrastructure, private credit, private equity and real estate.

The regulated, open-ended investment vehicle will help UK savers access the benefits of multi-alternative strategies to target increased risk-adjusted returns, greater diversification, and inflation protection, whilst providing clients exposure to sustainable investment themes.

The LTAF will invest in alternative strategies that have sustainability characteristics, such as those which will have a social impact and those supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

“Extending private markets access to DC members is a natural extension of BlackRock’s commitment to building better, more resilient investment portfolios and is aligned with the firm’s purpose to help more and more people achieve financial well-being,” it stated.

BlackRock manages over £176bn on behalf of UK DC clients.

Broadstone launches specialist admin service

Consultancy Broadstone has created SM&RT Admin – a new proposition combining the firm’s administration services while leveraging its SM&RT Insure expertise to create a dedicated admin offering that prepares pension schemes for buyout processes.

SM&RT Admin has been designed to support pension schemes throughout five stages of the de-risking journey from preparing data to attract insurers through to finalising the deal, providing certainty for trustees via fixed costs and efficient processes to ensure the scheme is ready when the insurers are ready.

Broadstone advises over 400 trustee boards, including their pension schemes and sponsors, ranging in size from fewer than 100 members to over 20,000. 

Gavin Giles, head of pensions administration at Broadstone, said: “The journey to end-game is a priority for many pension schemes following the uplift in funding levels of the past 18 months. However, competition is red-hot and so schemes, particularly those at the smaller end of the market need to ensure that they are thoroughly prepared ahead of starting to engage with insurers.

“Whatever the size of the scheme, SM&RT Admin offers the best administration possible through what will be arguably the most critically important period of a scheme’s journey.”

FRC consults on revision to actuarial standards

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has today published a consultation to revise Technical Actuarial Standard 300 (TAS 300) and introduce Technical Actuarial Standard 310 (TAS 310), aimed at ensuring the actuarial standards in relation to pensions remain relevant and reflect developments in the pension industry.
The proposed amendments to TAS 300 include requirements for providing advice on setting actuarial factors and for bulk transfer exercises including buyout transactions with an insurer and transfers to a pension superfund.

In addition, the FRC has proposed to introduce TAS 310, which sets out the standards for actuarial work in relation to collective money purchase pension schemes to reflect the framework for this new type of pension scheme which has been introduced through legislation.
Mark Babington, FRC’s executive director of regulatory standards, said: “The proposed revisions to TAS 300 and the introduction of TAS 310 will ensure that our standards remain up-to-date and relevant to industry developments. In particular, with bulk purchase annuities now within reach for far more schemes and potentially increased activity in this market, it is important to ensure the standards promote high quality of actuarial work in this area.”

The consultation will be open until 4 August and the FRC encourages stakeholders to provide their feedback and comments on the proposed revisions and new standard.

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