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LGPS advisory board to focus on existing projects

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The oversight board for the Local Government Pensions Scheme (LGPS) in England and Wales will spend 2019 pursuing projects it has already begun, rather than embarking on new ones, its secretary has said.

Jeff Houston of the Scheme Advisory Board told the LGC Investment Seminar: “The work plan for the board this year is to pick up the stuff that’s already out there, but was started again last year, and then move forward with that.”

Among the focuses for the board is the governance project, launched with a consultation in February, to consider conflicts of interest within the scheme and how different employers’ interests are managed, particularly when they are not local authorities.

This picks up on a previously-shelved ‘separation project’, which examined greater independence for the administrative functions in the LGPS from local authorities, and was interrupted by pooling.

Mr Houston said that the LGPS “to a great extent works”, but said that there were times “when there isn’t any regulation or guidance” to back those running the scheme, and this would be addressed in the governance project.

It will also look at fiduciary duty, “which a lot of people get confused about”, he said.

In a separate move, the Scheme Advisory Board will look at putting a compliance system in place to enforce the LGPS transparency code for asset managers, which was published in May 2017.

“We always said we were going to do this. On the managers’ side we’re going to check they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Mr Houston said.

He also urged the LGPS to give feedback to further consultations on asset pooling guidance and the ‘fair deal’ pension protections for LGPS members being compulsorily transferred to work for an independent service provider.

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