Outline of scheme
The Pension and Assurance Scheme for Non-Academic Staff (PASNAS) is an in house Defined Benefit pension scheme, set up in 1967, available to specific levels of non-academic staff of the University. The scheme was closed to new entrants with effect from 1st January 2019 but members of the scheme, active at that point, can continue to accrue benefits as long as they maintain continual membership of the scheme.
Total membership of the scheme was c. 5,370 as at 31/7/22 of which 1,120 are active members, 2,600 deferred members and 1,650 pensioners in payment. The scheme is well-funded with assets under management by the scheme Trustees in the region of £284m.
The University of Southampton is the Primary employer for the scheme, but there are also two participating employers to the scheme with nominal member numbers and no active presence on the Trustee board.
Following the latest valuation process, as at 31st July 2021, members pay contributions at a rate of 7.2% with employers paying 15.6% of member salaries.
The Trustee board maintain responsibility for managing the scheme with support from investment and legal consultants and the scheme actuaries, with the University pensions team administering the scheme on a day-to-day basis. The Trustee board currently requires a minimum of 7 Trustees of which 3 are member nominated and the remainder appointed by the primary employer, including an independent chair.
This is an unsalaried Pro Bono position
Outline of Board Activity
- The Trustee board meets formally four times a year, usually in February, May, July and November for full Trustee meetings At full Trustee meetings information provided by the scheme investment advisors and actuaries helps to inform the decision-making process for the Trustees. Each full trustee meeting is be preceded by a pre-meet, to agree the final agenda and running order of the meeting which is attended by the Chair, second independent trustee, Executive Director of Finance (as a University Trustee) and the Clerk to the Trustees. An annual training/development day usually takes place in July, these are optional, but Trustees are encouraged to attend if possible Fund Manager review meetings take place two or three times a year. These are not decision-making meetings and are attended by an ad hoc sub-group of the board. The Chair is not required to attend these meetings but is welcome to do so. Informal ad hoc meetings may also be necessary at times of high volatility in the markets or should action need to be taken or decisions made urgently, between main Trustee meetings, there would be an expectation that the Chair would attend any meetings of this nature. Most meetings are held on a virtual basis, via MS Teams, however it is intended that, where there is a demonstrable benefit, occasional meetings may be held on campus on a face-to-face basis. The Trustee board is supported by the Clerk to the Trustees.
- The chair’s primary role is to guide the Trustee board and ensure the effective management of the scheme. There is an expectation that the Chair will have good overall technical knowledge of pensions, but it isn’t expected that they should be an expert in all areas of the pensions field. The Chair will lead and manage any full Trustee board meeting, ensuring that all participants are able to contribute and that any necessary decisions are taken. Where the Trustee board is unable to reach a majority decision on any necessary actions, the Chair will have the deciding vote. The Chair will be involved in agreeing the agenda prior to any full Trustee meeting and effectively managing time to meet the requirements of the agenda within the time constraints of each meeting. Whilst all the Trustees are equally responsible and accountable for the effective governance and management of the scheme, the Chair will be required to sign on behalf of the scheme for certain legislative and regulatory returns. With support from the scheme advisors, pensions team and Clerk to the Trustees, the Chair is expected to familiarise themselves with the trust deed & rules and regulatory requirements of the scheme to ensure they can effectively facilitate informed discussion and decision making by the Trustee board. The Trustee board are responsible for the effective and appropriate management of the Scheme’s assets and investments, acting in the best interests of scheme members, taking any necessary actions in consultation with the scheme actuaries and investment consultants. Responsibilities will include management of risk levels, hedging requirements within the LDI (Liability Driven Investment) portfolio and consideration of how these aspects will need to change as the scheme matures. The Chair will need to ensure that scheme members are given adequate opportunity to express their opinions prior to any changes to the scheme deeds and rules, in line with The Pension Regulator requirements.
The Chair of the PASNAS Trustee Board will need:
- to have good overall technical knowledge of pensions. to be an individual with the resilience to meet the increasing challenges and complexities involved in the management of a Defined Benefit pension scheme. To be an individual with the ability to work with a broad range of trustees who will have various levels of experience and knowledge in the pensions field. the capability to encourage all members of the board to contribute to discussions and the decision-making process. the ability to clarify issues and work collaboratively. to be a calm and flexible person, able to keep the bigger picture in view whilst also understanding the ongoing practical challenges facing the scheme. to have sufficient time to commit to the role and a sense of humour would be helpful.
Expressions of interest in this post should be sent to the Clerk to the PASNAS Trustees, by e-mail to email@example.com by 19th May 2023 for consideration.