Mon, 19 March, 2018

Trustee changes – AMP response

Posted: December 12th, 2017

October’s trustees’ annual newsletter – Pensions News – carried an article on page three headlined “Trustee constituencies”, which outlined a review of and possible changes to the Trustee Board’s constitution “to ensure it continues to be ‘fit for purpose’ for the next phase of the Scheme’s life”. (The article is reproduced in full below.)

On behalf of this Association, secretary Gerald Mowbray has sent a formal response to David Astley, Trinity Mirror’s Group Pensions Manager. (David Astley is also the MGN Pensions Trustee Board Secretary and an “A” Trustee Director on the same Trustee Board). The AMP response was also copied to independent trustees’ chairman Joanna Matthews.

There are four main areas of concern, and these are the AMP’s proposals:
Trustee Board Size: Accept present 10 Trustees plus Independent Chairman.
Constituencies: Accept merger of “B” and “C” categories into one overall category of member voting. However, strongly request that the present constituencies remain with the following trustee membership – London 3, English Print Sites 1, Scotland 1. Should no candidate be nominated for a specific constituency vacancy at the first call for nominations, the vacancy then to be open to all members.
Trustee Term of Office: Return to the long-established (until 2010) up to three-year term of office, and staggered so that only a certain number of directors are elected in a given year. Amend 2018 elections to between 2-4 years to restore staggered term-of-office expiry dates of Member-Nominated Trustees .
Trustee Board Secretary: Return to the long-established, separate and non-trustee role for this position – and for the incumbent not also to be an “A” Trustee.

AMP members, and indeed any members of the MGN Pension Scheme (the New Scheme), are invited to send their own observations on the Trustee Board’s plans to: David Astley, Secretary, MGN Pension Trustees Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP.

From Pensions News, October 2017: The Trustee recently invited members of the Scottish ‘deferred members’ population to nominate a successor to Andrew Watson, who was no longer eligible to stand in that constituency. Unfortunately, despite extending the invitation to that constituency twice, we had no nominations to succeed Andrew. This, together with the completion of the merger of the MGPS and MGPSPS into the MGN Pension Scheme, prompted the Trustee Board to review its constitution to ensure it continues to be ‘fit for purpose’ for the next phase of the Scheme’s life .
The Trustee Board is still considering the detailed structure for our Scheme, which needs to recognise that: ■ less than 7.5% of members still work for the Company, ■ members stopped building up additional pension benefits over seven years ago, and ■ as the Scheme remains in deficit, the Trustee Board remains mindful of the running costs .
However, there are two areas of change that the Trustee Board wishes to bring to members’ attention .
Currently a ‘B’ Trustee is nominated by and elected from deferred members of the Scheme in the constituencies shown in the table on page 4. A ‘C’ Trustee on the other hand is nominated by and elected from the UK resident pensioner (excluding dependent pensioner) members of the Scheme. From 1 January 2018, the Trustee Board is considering the removal of the distinction between ‘B’ Trustees and ‘C’ Trustees, and the geographical constituencies. Therefore, the proposal is that from 1 January 2018, all UK resident members (excluding dependent pensioner members) of the Scheme will be eligible to be nominated as a Member Nominated Trustee .
In the event that an election is needed, all members (excluding dependent pensioner members) will be eligible to vote to appoint a Member Nominated Trustee .
The Trustee Board is hoping these proposed changes will encourage more members to put themselves forward to become a Trustee of the MGN Pension Scheme .
The Trustee Board is currently operating with a “casual vacancy” for a ‘B’ Trustee Director following the retirement of Andrew Watson. To maintain the balance of the Trustee Board, Charles Collier-Wright, one of the employer appointed ‘A’ Trustee Directors, has retired. From 1 January 2018, that casual vacancy will be formalised and the Company will not appoint a replacement for Charles. Thereafter, the Trustee Board will operate with 11 Trustee Directors made up of an Independent Chairman, 5 Employer Appointed Trustee Directors and 5 Member Nominated Trustee Directors .
The terms of office of 3 of the 5 current Member Nominated Trustee Directors are due to expire in early 2018. The Trustee Board will seek nominations, and if necessary hold an election, in line with the changes outlined above.

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