Agenda and decisions

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Contact: Julie Dean  Tel: 07393 001089; E-Mail:  julie.dean@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman for the 2019-20 Municipal Year

Decision:

Councillor Kevin Bulmer was elected Chairman for the 2019/20 municipal year.

2.

Election of Deputy Chairman for the 2019-20 Municipal Year

Decision:

Councillor Nicholas Field-Johnson was elected Deputy Chairman for the 2019/20 municipal year.

3.

Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments

Decision:

Councillor Mike Fox-Davies attended for Councillor Charles Mathew and Councillor Dr Suzanne Bartington for Councillor Ian Corkin.

4.

Declarations of Interest - see guidance note

Decision:

Councillor Ros Smith declared an interest on account of her being in receipt of an Oxford Brookes University pension.

5.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2019 (PF3) and to receive information arising from them.

Decision:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2019 were approved subject to the following amendment:

 

-       Minute 12/19 – page 6, sentence 2 to read ‘Over the Quarter, assets had depreciated by £190m, a drop of over 7% to £2.3m’ (amendment in bold italics).

6.

Petitions and Public Address

Decision:

·         Julia Spragg - on behalf of Fossil Free Oxfordshire – Agenda Item 13, Annex 2, The Investment Strategy Statement

·         Jess Mallaghan and Xanthe Wells – pupils of Gosford Hill School – Agenda Item 13, Annex 2, The Investment Strategy Statement

 

7.

Minutes of the Local Pension Board pdf icon PDF 155 KB

10:05

 

A copy of the unconfirmed Minutes of the Local Pension Board, which met on 26 April 2019 (PF7) is attached for information only (PF7).

 

Decision:

Noted.

8.

Report of the Local Pension Board pdf icon PDF 127 KB

10:10

 

In response to a request from the Chairman of Penson Fund Committee to have a dedicated item on each Committee agenda for the work of the Local Pension Board, attached at PF8 is the report by the Independent Chairman of the Local Pension Board. It invites the Committee to respond to the key issues raised by the Pension Board at its most recent meeting on 26 April January 2019.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:

 

(a)  note the comments of the Board in respect of the Improvement Plan, Annual Business Plan and Risk Register, and the subsequent changes made to these documents elsewhere on today’s agenda;

 

(b)  consider whether it is appropriate to mandate training at certain training events for Committee members; and

 

(c)  note the comments of the Board in respect of future responsible investment statements and the need to clarify that all engagement with companies is through third parties rather than directly by the Committee itself.

 

 

 

Decision:

(a)  noted;

(b)  addressed at Agenda Item 13; and

(c)  noted.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

9.

Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 165 KB

10:20

 

The report (PF9) updates the Committee on progress against the objectives and milestones set out in the Improvement Plan (PF9).

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the latest position with regard to the implementation of the Improvement Plan.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Noted.

 

The Committee thanked Becky Herman for the update.

 

Members of the Committee to be informed in the event that fines are issued to employers.

10.

Review of the Annual Business Plan 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 154 KB

10:45

 

This report sets out progress against the key objectives within the business plan for the pension fund for 2019/20 (PF10). At this stage of the new financial year, a detailed budget monitoring report is not included, but any key issues identified since the budget was agreed, are noted in the report and full detail will be included in future quarterly reports.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:

 

(a)  note the progress against the key service priorities included within the 2019/20 Business Plan; and

(b)   approve the amendment to the measures of success in respect of service Priority 5 – Improve Scheme Member Communications as set out in paragraph 19.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)  noted; and

(b)  approved.

11.

Risk Register pdf icon PDF 129 KB

11:00

 

The report presents the latest position on the Fund’s Risk Register, including any new risks identified since the report to the last meeting (PF11).

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the changes to the Risk Register and to offer any further comments.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)  noted; and

(b)  Sean Collins be asked to introduce an overview for each year, to re-introduce the directions of travel and rag rating.

 

 

12.

Administration Report pdf icon PDF 157 KB

11:10

 

A report is attached (PF12) which updates the Committee on those administration issues which are not covered under the Improvement Plan.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:

 

(a)   note the report;

(b)  agree the proposed temporary changes to the SLA targets; and

(c)  agree the proposed response to the Government Consultation on Changes to the Local Valuation Cycle and the Management of Employer Risk.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)  noted;

(b)  agreed; and

(c)  agreed, subject to additional wording on the equality implications given the majority of those scheme members impacted by the proposed  changes to the HE/FE employers are female.

13.

Annual Review of Pension Fund Policies pdf icon PDF 181 KB

11:20

 

This report provides an opportunity for the Committee to undertake a formal annual review of all its major policy documents, in line with the requirements under the Regulations (PF13). The Committee has previously agreed to review all such documents, on an annual basis (at a minimum), at its scheduled June meeting.

 

Please find attached at PF13 the following policy documents:

 

Annex 1 – The Funding Strategy Statement

Annex 2 – The Investment Strategy Statement

Annex 2(b) – Addressing Climate Change Position Statement

Annex 3 – Governance Policy and Governance Compliance Statements

Annex 4 – Communications Policy

Annex 5 – Early Release of Benefits Policy

Annex 6 – Pension Fund Scheme of Delegation

Annex 7 – Administration Strategy

Annex 8 – Procedure for Reporting Breaches of Law to the Pension Regulator

Annex 9 – Administering Authority Discretions

 

In relation to Annex 2 ‘The Investment Strategy Statement’, Councillor John Sanders has put forward the following motion for this Committee to consider:

 

‘In the light of the recent Motion in Full Council on 2 April 2019 to acknowledge a climate emergency, the Pension Fund Committee is called upon to instruct officers to investigate the best possible way it can divest itself of all fossil fuel investments (ie. the equity or bond of any company which derives more than 50% of its total turnover from the extraction and production of fossil fuels) as soon as is reasonably practicable whilst mitigating any impact on the value of the fund’.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:

 

(a)          approve the revised policy documents as set out in Annexes 1, 4, 5 and 7, noting the changes in the documents as discussed above;

 

(b)           approve the revised Investment Strategy Statement as set out in Annex 2, noting the changes as discussed in the report and

 

 

                                                i.        re-confirm its position that a blanket divestment policy is not an appropriate approach for the Pension Fund, nor to address the risks associated with climate change; and

                                              ii.        endorse the current approach and direction of travel set out in the Addressing Climate Change Position Statement, and ask Officers to fully engage in the process for developing the full Climate Change Policy document and to report back to the Committee on a timely basis;

 

(c)          re-state its approval in principle to the changes set out in Annex 3 to the Governance Policy and Governance Compliance Statement and RECOMMEND to Council via the Audit and Governance Committee the corresponding changes to the Terms of Reference and Constitution of the Pension Fund Committee;

 

(d)          agree the delegation to the Services Manager (Pensions) the responsibility for exercising the new discretionary decisions as set out in paragraph 47 above, and the subsequent changes in the scheme of delegation to ensure it is consistent with the schedule of Administering Authority Discretions; and

 

(e)          note that no new changes have been made to the Scheme of Delegation and the Procedure for Reporting Breaches of Law to the Pension Regulator.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)  Approved;

 

(b)  Following discussion at the pre-meeting with the Chairman, Deputy - Chairman and Opposition Spokesperson Officers were asked to draft an amended recommendation (b) in respect of the Investment Strategy Statement.  The subsequent decisions made at Committee were as follows:

 

To approve the revised Investment Strategy Statement as set out in Annex 2, noting the changes as discussed in the report and

 

(i)            endorse the current approach and direction of travel as set out in the Addressing Climate Change Position Statement, including:

·         the integration of consideration of environmental and social risks, as well as good governance and stewardship into all decision-making processes

·         contributing to a more sustainable and resilient financial system in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

·         ensuring all portfolios across all asset classes are carbon and climate aware

·         decarbonising the listed portfolios, and developing measurable objectives and targets

·         accessing positive climate impact investment opportunities. such as the 35% investment in renewable energy funds within the infrastructure portfolio 

·         active engagement with the underlying companies through asset managers, engagement and voting specialists and collaborative forums with other investors

·         improving the transparency of reporting including carbon footprinting and fossil fuel exposure and the impacts of our engagements

 

(ii)          ask Officers to set up a Climate Change Workshop in the Autumn to define timescales, milestones and reporting mechanisms for the above approach and to contribute to the Climate Change Policy being developed by Brunel, seeking participation from a wide range of stakeholders to ensure a balanced discussion; and

 

(iii)         note the view of Brunel that in light of the above approach, they do not consider a top down approach to divestment to be an appropriate strategy for its clients.

 

(c)  to refer these changes to the next meeting of Committee in September following further work;

 

(d)  agreed; and

 

(e)  noted.

 

14.

Overview of Past and Current Investment Position pdf icon PDF 71 KB

12:05

 

Tables 1 to 4 are compiled from the custodian's records. The custodian is the Pension Fund's prime record keeper. He accrues for dividends and recoverable overseas tax within his valuation figures and may also use different exchange rates and pricing sources compared with the fund managers. The custodian also treats dividend scrip issues as purchases which the fund managers may not do. This may mean that there are minor differences between the tabled figures and those supplied by the managers.

 

The Independent Financial Adviser will review the investment activity during the past quarter and present an overview of the Fund’s position as at 31 March 2019 using the following tables:

 

Table 1

provides a consolidated valuation of the Pension Fund at 31 March 2019

Table 2

shows movements in market value during the quarter

Table 3

provides investment performance for the consolidated Pension Fund for the quarter ended 31 March 2019

Table 4

provide details of the Pension Fund’s top holdings

 

In addition to the above tables, the performance of the Fund Manager has been produced graphically as follows:

 

Graph 1 – Market value of the Fund over the last three years

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to receive the tables and graphs, and that the information contained in them be borne in mind, insofar as they relate to items 16, 17, 18 and 19 on the agenda.

 

Decision:

Received.

15.

EXEMPT ITEMS

The Committee is RECOMMENDED that the public be excluded for the duration of items 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 in the Agenda since it is likely that if they were present during those items there would be disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and specified in relation to the respective items in the Agenda and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of each case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

THE REPORTS RELATING TO THE EXEMPT ITEMS HAVE NOT BEEN MADE PUBLIC AND SHOULD BE REGARDED AS STRICTLY PRIVATE TO MEMBERS AND OFFICERS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THEM.

 

NOTE: In the case of item 18, there are no reports circulated with the Agenda. Any exempt information will be reported orally.

Decision:

Agreed.

16.

Exempt Minute - Local Pension Board - 26 April 2019

12:10

 

To note the exempt Minute of the Local Pension Board meeting held on 26 April 2019 (PF16).

 

The public should be excluded during this item because its discussion in public would be likely to lead to the disclosure to members of the public present of information in the following prescribed category:

 

3.         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, in that such disclosure would distort the proper process of free negotiations with another party.

 

 

 

 

 

Decision:

Noted.

17.

Overview and Outlook for Investment Markets pdf icon PDF 331 KB

12:10

 

Report of the Independent Financial Adviser (PF17).

 

The report sets out an overview of the current and future investment scene and market developments across various regions and sectors. The report itself does not contain exempt information and is available to the public. The Independent Financial Adviser will also report orally and any information reported orally will be exempt information.

 

The public should be excluded during this item because its discussion in public would be likely to lead to the disclosure to members of the public present of information in the following prescribed category:

 

3.         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, in that such disclosure would prejudice the trading activities of the fund managers involved and would prejudice the position of the authority's investments in funding the Pension Fund.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to receive the report, tables and graphs, to receive the oral report, to consider any further action arising on them and to bear the Independent Financial Adviser’s conclusions in mind when considering the Fund Managers’ reports.

Decision:

Received.

18.

Insight

12:15

 

(1)          The Independent Financial Adviser will report orally on the performance and strategy of Insight drawing on the tables at Agenda Items 14 and 17.

 

(2)          The representatives (Sherilee Mace and Matt Merritt) of the Fund Manager will:

 

(a)       report and review the present investments of their part of the Fund and their strategy against the background of the current investment scene for the period which ended on 31 March 2019;

 

(b)       give their views on the future investment scene.

 

In support of the above is their report for the period to 31 March 2019.

 

At the end of the presentation, members are invited to question and comment and the Fund Managers to respond.

 

The public should be excluded during this item because its discussion in public would be likely to lead to the disclosure to members of the public present of information in the following prescribed category:

 

3.         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, in that such disclosure would prejudice the trading activities of the fund managers involved and would prejudice the position of the authority's investments in funding the Pension Fund.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the main issues arising from the presentation and to take any necessary action, if required.

Decision:

Noted.

19.

Report of Main Issues arising from Reports of the Fund Managers not represented at this meeting

12:55

 

The Independent Financial Adviser will report verbally on the officer meeting with Legal & General in conjunction with information contained in the tables (Agenda Item 14) and the latest position on investments with Brunel.

 

The public should be excluded during this item because its discussion in public would be likely to lead to the disclosure to members of the public present of information in the following prescribed category:

 

3.         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, in that such disclosure would prejudice the trading activities of the fund managers involved and would prejudice the position of the authority's investments in funding the Pension Fund.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the main issues arising from the reports and to take any necessary action, if required.

Decision:

Noted.

20.

Summary by the Independent Financial Adviser

13:00

 

The Independent Financial Adviser will, if necessary, summarise the foregoing reports of the Fund Managers and answer any questions from members.

 

The public should be excluded during this item because its discussion in public would be likely to lead to the disclosure to members of the public present of information in the following prescribed category:

 

3.         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, in that such disclosure would prejudice the trading activities of the fund managers involved and would prejudice the position of the authority's investments in funding the Pension Fund. 

Decision:

No further summary required.

21.

Applications for Payment of Pension Benefits

13:05

 

This report details requests for payment of pensions received (PF21).

 

The public should be excluded during this item because its discussion in public would be likely to lead to the disclosure to members of the public present of information in the following prescribed category:

 

3.         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and since it is considered that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to decide the recommendations contained in the report PF21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decision:

(a)  noted and to authorise the Service Manager for Pensions to make a decision should reports be received between meetings, following consultation with the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and the Opposition Spokesperson;

(b)  authorise payment of the pension to the person specified in the report, for the period 2018 - 2021; and

(c)  noted.

22.

Corporate Governance and Socially Responsible Investment pdf icon PDF 704 KB

13:15

 

This item provides the opportunity to raise any issues concerning Corporate Governance and Socially Responsible Investment which need to be brought to the attention of the Committee.

 

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) report to the quarter January to March 2019 is attached at PF22 for information.

 

Decision:

No further items.

23.

Annual Pension Forum

13:20

 

The officers will report on any issues relating to the next Annual Pension Forum.

 

Decision:

To note that the next Annual Forum would be held in November 2019 on a date to be decided. The focus would be on the triennial valuation.

 

Members of the Committee were asked to let Sally Fox know of any items which they considered would interest school employers for the Forum. Agenda.