Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Khalid Ahmed  Tel: 07990 368048; Email:  khalid.ahmed@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Link: video link to meeting

Items
No. Item

32/21

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted by Alistair Bastin.

33/21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2021 and to receive information arising from them.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2021 were approved.

34/21

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Pension Fund Committee - 10 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 428 KB

Minutes:

The meeting had before it the draft minutes of the last Pension Fund Committee meeting of 10 September 2021 for consideration. The draft Minutes were noted.

35/21

Governance Review pdf icon PDF 234 KB

The Board is invited to consider the response to the 10 recommendations made within the Independent Governance Review undertaken by Hymans Robertson, as considered by the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board was invited to consider the response to the 10 recommendations made within the Independent Governance Review undertaken by Hymans Robertson, as considered by the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021.

 

The Board was informed that one of the recommendations was in relation to the Constitution of the Committee which was to ensure wider representation of the scheme employers within the Fund, and this was taken forward at the March meeting before the May 2021 elections.

 

Reference was made to the development of a fund specific conflicts of interest policy. The main issue behind this recommendation was the potential conflicts of interest between the County Council’s role as the Administering Authority and its role as a scheme employer, including the potential conflict of interest for County Council officers, in particular the Section 151 Officer. There was also a concern about the potential conflict of interest between the role of the County Council as a Shareholder of Brunel and its client role.

 

The Board was informed that this recommendation was adopted by the Pension Fund Committee so that this conflict of interest policy applied to both Committee and Board Members.

 

Discussion took place on this recommendation and the Board asked whether its Members should be registering their interests in the register of interests which Councillors sign. This would be investigated.

 

Reference was made to whether the conflicts of interest policy covered political pressures/ philosophies or was it just financial. It was agreed that this would be raised with the Pension Fund Committee. The Board accepted that there was no conflict arising from political and philosophical positions, but did want to add the conflict between their employer’s position and those of employers as a whole.

 

In relation to the recommendation on reviewing the Terms of Reference for the Pension Fund Committee and Pension Board, to clarify roles and improve communication between the two bodies. The Board was informed that communication had been improved with both bodies receiving draft minutes of each other’s meetings, and the Chair of the Pension Fund Committee attending meetings of the Board, with Board Members invited to observe Pension Fund Committee meetings.

 

Another recommendation related to the establishment of a Governance Officer role to support the Service Manager (Pensions) and service delivery of the Fund. This would reduce key person risk and support the findings of the Good Governance Project. The Pension Fund Committee agreed this recommendation, and this was supported by the Board.

 

In relation to the recommendation relating to reviewing the agenda content for the Pension Fund Committee and Pension Board, the Board was informed that it was the aim of officers to ensure that reports which were presented to future meetings of the Pension Fund Committee were tied into the strategic roles and responsibilities.

 

The aim was to reduce reports which were simply just for noting and the recommendations should reflect the regulatory roles and responsibilities of the Committee. Recommendations should be clear to ensure better focus on debate.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35/21

36/21

Climate Change Report pdf icon PDF 204 KB

The Board are invited to review the Fund’s first report produced in accordance with the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures template as presented to the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021.  The report se The Board are invited to review the Fund’s first report produced in accordance with the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures template as presented to the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021.  The report sets out the Fund’s approach to meeting the climate related objectives as set out in the Funds Investment Strategy Statement, and the Board are invited to provide any comments to the Pension Fund Committee.

 

The Board will also receive a verbal update on the latest position following the decision of the Pension Fund Committee to switch the whole of its passive equity allocation (15% of the Fund) to the new Paris Aligned Benchmark Fund developed by Brunel alongside FTSE Russell.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board was invited to review the Fund’s first report produced in accordance with the Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures template as presented to the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021.

 

The report set out the Fund’s approach to meeting the climate related objectives as set out in the Funds Investment Strategy Statement.

 

The Board received an oral update on the latest position following the decision

of the Pension Fund Committee to switch the whole of its passive equity allocation (15% of the Fund) to the new Paris Aligned Benchmark Fund developed by Brunel alongside FTSE Russell.

 

The Board noted the report and congratulated officers on the report.

37/21

Review of the Annual Business Plan pdf icon PDF 407 KB

The Board are invited to review the latest position against the Annual Business Plan for 2021/22 as considered by the Pension Fund Committee at their meeting on 10 September 2021, and to offer any comments to the Committee.

Minutes:

The Board was invited to review the latest position against the Annual Business Plan for 2021/22 as considered by the Pension Fund Committee at their meeting on 10 September 2021, and to offer any comments to the Committee.

 

Regarding delivering further improvements to the governance arrangements of the Fund, reference was made to the initial skills and knowledge assessment around Board Members, particularly as there were two new Board Members who did not have the necessary full range of skills and knowledge at this stage. It was agreed that this be added as a new risk to the Risk Register.

 

In relation to further improvement of the data management arrangements between the Fund and both scheme employers and scheme members, reference was made to the impact of the McCloud judgement. The Board was informed that it was anticipated that this affected around 13,000 employees which would require a review.

 

The Board noted the report.

38/21

Risk Register pdf icon PDF 204 KB

This is the latest risk register as considered by the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021.  The Board are invited to review the report and offer any further views back to the Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board was asked to review the risk register report and offer any further views back to the Pension Fund Committee.

 

As per the discussion on the previous agenda item (Review of the Annual Business Plan), it was requested that Pension Fund Committee be asked to consider adding Knowledge and Skills on Local Pension Board Members to the Risk Register.

 

In relation to the McCloud issue, the Board was informed that it was difficult to fully understand the implications of the age discrimination issues identified in the court case due to the lack of guidance. The Board was informed that all employers would be written to on the numbers this would affect.

 

The Board noted the report, and it was agreed that the Pension Fund Committee be asked to consider adding Knowledge and Skills on Local Pension Board Members to the Risk Register.  

 

39/21

Administration Report pdf icon PDF 431 KB

The Board is invited to review the latest Administration Report as presented to the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021, including the latest performance statistics for the Service. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board was asked to review the latest Administration Report as presented to the Pension Fund Committee on 10 September 2021, including the latest performance statistics for the Service.

 

The Board was informed that i-connect had now been implemented for all scheme employers with the exception of Oxford Brookes and OCC.

 

Reference was made checks were built into the software which would prevent erroneous data being uploaded to pension records.

 

Reference was made to the reduced SLA which the team had been working to since March and an update on this would be reported to December’s Pension Fund Committee. It was noted that there had not been an adverse impact on the service because of the staffing issues which was evidenced by the lack of negative feedback in the customer survey.

 

The report was noted.

 

  

 

 

40/21

Items to Include in Report to the Pension Fund Committee

The Board is invited to confirm the issues they wish to include in their latest report to the Committee.

Minutes:

The Board discussed items to be included in the report to the Pension Fund

Committee and the following was agreed:-

 

·       Conflicts of Interest Policy - Can the policy be reviewed to be explicit on the potential political conflict of the Council as an employer and the Admin Authority.

·       Annual Business Plan – That Local Pension Board Members observe the process

·       Risk Register – To consider adding Knowledge and Skills on Local Pension Board Members to the Risk Register.