Meeting documents

SCC Somerset Pensions Board
Friday, 8th April, 2022 10.00 am

  • Meeting of Somerset Pensions Board, Friday 8th April 2022 10.00 am (Item 114.)

To consider this report from the Funds & Investments Manager.


Mr Sweet stated that the Pensions Committee business plan is rather empty at the moment due to uncertainty over Councillor members being re-elected and/or re-appointed to the Pensions Committee.  He said there will be a skills gap audit and training towards the end of the year, and someone external may come in to do it; under the regulations, there are specific knowledge and skills requirements for the Board but not for the Committee.  The scheme advisory board’s good governance review has been done, but they are awaiting the white paper from the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC); this is supposed to arrive in summer, but it may be September.  It is expected that the paper will wrap up the review and state what may be put into guidance regarding the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), carbon disclosures, and local investment; it will be a somewhat unfocused white paper that covers quite a lot. 


The Chair asked if RESD is still needed in June; Mr Sweet responded that it is, in order to discuss what is now in place; pending receipt of the white paper, Brunel may simply use best practice.  An audit will be carried out, and the training will be based on that.  Historically, take-up has been muted, so attendance will not be rationed; he is happy to book the Chair and Mr Bryant on the conference, as the cost will not be excessive.


ESG is in the business plan for summer, with the annual report due in October.  The Chair noted with respect to ESG that she works with Nikki Brain, Resilience Officer from Frome Town Council, and asked if she could be invited to the July meeting of the Board; Mr Sweet said that he could discuss it with the SCC Resilience Officer, as it may be best to restrict participation to County and/or District Resilience Officers.  The Chair advised that she would still like to invite Ms Brain.


With respect to the resources review, much is formulated around best practice; Mr Sweet refers to it as a financial forecast rather than a budget and reviews it quarterly, with recurring pensions being the easiest part to forecast.  The fund should continue to be cash positive next year, contributions should increase more than payments, and deficit reduction payments will increase in line with the plan to be deficit-free by 2038.


Regarding cash management strategy, which refers to where cash is placed, this is externally managed, with it being asked every year if this continues to be favoured as a matter of good governance.  A treasury management strategy is approved by full Council every year; this is the equivalent for the Pension Fund and is a transparency issue.


The Chair noted regarding TORs that a few tweaks are needed with respect to quorate meetings and elected vs co-opted members.


The Board noted the update.


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