With this article, we aim to delve behind the scenes into how exactly we keep the wheels of the Fund turning to ensure we meet our primary goal of successfully paying pensions to our members, both now and in the future.
The Fund has a Pensions Committee and Pension Board who actively help make decisions and manage the organisation, as well as its own internal staff:
While day-to-day administration of the Pension Funds is the duty of Pension Fund staff, decision making, and overall responsibility has been delegated to the Pensions Committee by Aberdeen City Council.
The Pensions Committee carries out a role like that of trustees of a pension Scheme. It is the key decision maker for all matters under LGPS Regulations including benefit administration and investment management. For example, the Pensions Committee will have to approve staffing decisions or new investments.
The Committee meets on a quarterly basis to address matters such as risk management, administration, funding, investment strategy and performance.
The Committee is comprised of nine elected members of Aberdeen City Council each with equal voting rights.
In line with Scheme regulations, the Funds established a Pension Board in 2015/16 with the responsibility of assisting the Scheme Manager (Aberdeen City Council) to ensure we comply with Scheme regulations and the requirements of the Pensions Regulator. Board membership consists of equal numbers of trade union representatives and employer representatives.
The Pensions Board can also choose to report the Fund to the Pensions Regulator.
The NESPF is comprised of over 40 members of staff split into 6 teams who deal with the day-to-day running of the Fund. Each team is its own dedicated function responsible for dealing with a specific area of pensions administration.
Many of our staff roles are centred on communicating and assisting with queries from the Fund’s stakeholders however there are a lot of other elements that go into supporting the successful running of the Fund.
A brief break down of what each team is involved in can be found below:
The Benefit’s Administration team deals with the processing of pensions, retirals and payments. So whether you are looking retire and enjoy your golden years, or transfer your pension to new job, the Benefits Team is on the case. This team is also our main point of contact for members.
This team is responsible for the data received from our employers in respect of active members. They support the employer organisations enrolled in the Fund and are the first port of call for employer queries and employer communications.
The Governance team is comprised of three areas; Governance; Communications; and Training and Development. The Governance team deals with governing the Fund, in a nutshell, ensuring we are adhering to policies and regulations.
The Training and Development team caters to the training needs of the Fund’s staff members ensuring staff are up-to-date in their pensions knowledge, meanwhile the Communications team is responsible for delivering Fund communications to our 72,000+ members.
This team makes sure all our IT systems and programmes are running smoothly, primarily our pensions database but also other technology we require. The Systems team also organises and delivers testing and implements any new developments.
Our teams of Assistants ensures that all the Fund’s administrative needs are catered to.
The Investment team is responsible for dealing with the Fund’s various investment assets including equities, bonds and property, a big task given our almost £6bn value. The Investment team deals directly with the NESPF’s Fund Managers and actively seek responsible investment engagements.
The Accounting team deals with the administration of accounts and the processing of invoices and payments the Fund receives. They are also responsible for the reconciliation of all money in and out of the Fund, which is a huge undertaking considering the value of the Fund.
As you can see each team focuses on its own specialism. It might seem like the role of each team is very defined however every day different teams will be collaborating to complete tasks. There are also major projects that require full team input and see all staff joining forces.
This article offers just brief insight of who we are and what we do, however if you are interested in more information you can view the Annual Report on our website which explores some of the projects different teams have undertaken.