Select Committee on Treasury Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 1

Memorandum from the Pensions Management Institute

  The PMI is the professional body for people working in the pensions sector. The PMI's members work as pensions managers, consultants and technical specialists in consultancies and insurance companies. Many are also actuaries, pensions lawyers or company secretaries. Their experience is therefore wide ranging and has contributed to the thinking expressed in this response.

  As we understand it, GAD was set up to provide independent technical advice on the financing of social security. Over the years its role has expanded and it has become well known as an organisation which produces technical advice and research as well as acting as a consultant to a number of occupational pension schemes. The GAD report gives details of all the work being undertaken by the department so we do not intend to repeat it in this evidence.

  The Department is required to give impartial and practical advice to Government, sometimes on matters affecting occupational pension schemes. As a result of its work, the GAD has a very good understanding of the occupational pensions world and uses this in its work with regulators and Government Departments. This has proved to be a great help to both sides.

  In order to maintain their knowledge and to give their opinions credibly, the GAD should be able to carry out traditional work such as pension scheme valuations so that they maintain contact with the industry and see at first hand the problems faced by occupational pension schemes.

  When consultation documents are issued by Ministers or Government Departments it is noticeable, from time to time, that input has been provided by the Government Actuary's Department. The input is of a high standard and can be wide ranging. If Government Departments did not have access to the expertise in the GAD we wonder how they would be able to source this information.

  The GAD also undertakes a number of surveys and reviews including an occupational pension scheme survey and a Quinquennial Review of the National Insurance fund. Both these publications are widely used by technical departments of companies and firms.

  In recent years we are aware that GAD has helped the Government set up the regulatory system, including OPRA and FSA. In addition, we understand that it has also provided actuarial input on cases being considered by both regulators and the Pensions Ombudsman. This has proved to be a cost-effective way of providing the information required.

  The Government Actuary is a well-known and highly regarded speaker at conferences and seminars. He willingly undertakes engagements not only at prestigious national conferences but also at events throughout the country as well as overseas. He is able to draw upon a wealth of information within GAD to provide independent and thought-provoking talks. We know that his presence at such events is greatly appreciated.

IN SUMMARY

  The availability of a highly respected Government Actuary backed up by an experienced and dedicated team in GAD has, we believe, proved invaluable to the Government, Government Departments and all of us who work in the pensions field. We believe that there is a role for it going forward. Indeed, it is difficult to see how a Government and its Departments could operate as effectively without a Government Actuary's Department.

8 January 2001


 
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