This week saw the publication of our 2019/2020 Unaudited Annual Report and Accounts.
In the document, our Chief Executive Officer Doug Heron speaks of his pride to serve the Fund’s keyworker members:
“Our vision and purpose is to deliver a valued retirement savings product for our members. Our 90,000 members all share a single common link: in their working lives, they serve or have served the public and we’re incredibly proud of their work and their contribution to communities.
“In our active membership we have 122 school crossing guards, 101 occupational therapists, 166 waste operatives and 558 social workers and we’re working hard to provide them with a secure retirement. During the year we paid £252.4m in pensions to 31,500 pensioner members, or their dependants. We welcomed 7,489 new members and handled 60,000 enquiries with a 96% member satisfaction score.”
Doug also warned of the growing complexity in the LGPS with the age discrimination remedy likely to significantly increase workload and present members with multiple benefit scenarios: “We await an agreed remedy from HM Government but this is likely to see us collate additional data on individual circumstances, generate tens of thousands of calculations and supply parallel benefit schedules to members each year. Readying for this we’ve closely examined our resourcing levels and started the process to train additional administrators.”
Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, 2019 / 20 was a year of significant progress for Lothian Pension Fund. Doug explains: “Against the difficult backdrop of COVID-19, there were many notable highlights for LPF in 2019/2020. We built a team to manage our directly held property assets internally, resulting in significant cost savings and increasing our level of control on how that strategy is executed. We also extended our investment partnerships with other LGPS funds and broadened the scope of the FCA authorisation for our investment firm, LPFI, establishing the potential for us to move beyond strategic advisory services to investment management.
“On technology, we implemented an entirely paperless HR operating system, launched a new suite of websites, implemented member functionality to upload the documents we need, and delivered an industry-leading investment order management system to streamline how our investment strategies are implemented. There’s more to come here but I’m pleased with the momentum in our digital strategy.
“But one of the things I’m most proud of in the last financial year is the resolve and fortitude of our team. They have continued to serve and support our members and employers during these difficult times whilst working remotely and facing their own personal challenges.”