Members of our Pension Board play a vital role supporting the Pensions Committee. They bring insight and governance to legislation and regulations, to represent the best interests of the members and employer bodies in the pension funds.
Darren May from Scottish Water takes some to talk about the experience he’s gained as a member of the LPF Pension Board and opportunity to learn.
We have vacancies on our board. Get in touch at email@example.com if you’re interested in gaining board experience in an ever-growing pension fund or click for the role specification and application form.
Darren May | Reward, Policy & Employee Relations General Manager, Scottish Water
As an employer member of the Pension Board, I thoroughly enjoy being part of the governance structure at Lothian Pension Fund, the second largest Local Government Pension Fund by asset value in Scotland (around £9.7bn). The Board is a huge learning opportunity as knowledge is accumulated both formally and informally through training sessions, conferences and discussion of pension papers and topics. And not only is it an opportunity to pick up some pension savvy, but I’ve gained experience of working on a board with members from different backgrounds and interests – although all are focussed on helping the fund deliver secure pensions for members at good value for employers.
The fund is run by a professional and award-winning fund management team, with City of Edinburgh Council holding responsibility as administering authority. The council is one of around 62 employers in the multi-employer scheme and while it is the largest single entity, the majority of contributions into the scheme each year come from a combination of the other organisations whose employee’s pensions are managed by LPF. As a result, good governance is paramount. Most decisions on the running of the pension fund are devolved from City of Edinburgh Council to the Pensions Committee, which is made up of mainly elected councillor members, but also contains an employer and employee member (the latter provided by the trades unions).
My role on the Pension Board is one of oversight. Our primary responsibility is to assist the Pensions Committee and the fund manager in ensuring all necessary rules are adhered to, monitoring of performance takes place, and decisions are reached having considered all relevant information. The Pension Board consists of equal numbers of employer members like myself, and employee representatives from the trade unions. It has been my experience that in the world of pensions, all board member intentions and expectations are closely aligned.
The variety of experience on offer is also wide, from learning about valuations from the fund actuaries to discussions on investment markets with internal fund managers, to understanding the complexity of pensions administration, the range is substantial. And pension laws and regulations are often changing, so there is always something new to get your teeth into. I’d recommend applying for a pension board position to anyone looking for a personal challenge – it will also strengthen any CV and could stand you in good stead in your future career.