08:45 – 08:55
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Stephen Glover, Programme Director, DB Strategic Investment Forum


08:55 – 09:20
Keynote Presentation: The Outlook for DB Funds
Ronan O’Connor, Deputy Director, Private Pensions Policy,
Department for Work and Pensions


09:20 – 10:00
Panel: The Greatest Challenges in DB Pensions


10:00 – 10:25
Presentation: The Economic State of the World
Topics

  • The ongoing Brexit saga
  • The Trump Factor – all change on geopolitics and trade policy.
  • Interest rates inching up – some relief for DB funds?
  • The fortunes of emerging and frontier markets.
  • The investment strategies and products that will help DB plans thrive under the new economic conditions?

10:25 – 10:50
Coffee

10:50 – 11:10
Presentation: Planning for the Next Market Crisis


11:10 – 11:50
Panel: How Funding Shortfalls Map onto Investment Strategy
Topics

  • The biggest challenge in DB pensions is not finding the right investments, it’s creating the conditions in which the best investment decisions can be made.
  • Deficits measured by Gilt yields place huge pressure on plans to use leverage to buy expensive government bonds.
  • Everyone knows that Gilts will not be the best performing asset in the long run. So why not buy something else?
  • What needs to change for this to happen to a greater extent?

11:50 – 12:10
Presentation: Maximising Performance Under Negative Cash Flows
Topics

  • Many plans now find themselves in a negative cash flow situation.
  • Maintaining liquidity is potentially another drag on performance. How do you avoid this?
  • What does best practice look like in this situation?
  • Who is doing it well and what instruments and strategies are they using?

12:10 – 12:50
Panel: The Great Win-Win – Assuming More Risk and Doing More With It
Topics

  • Funding methodologies have the effect of weighting investment strategies towards conservatism.
  • It’s an axiom of investing that you cannot achieve higher return without assuming more risk.
  • How often will consultants and actuaries will advise plans to do so?
  • Does “re-risking” really reduce risk?
  • If plans assume more risk, based upon more realistic forecasts of expected return, what would the resulting asset mix look like?
  • How would this affect member outcomes?

12:50 – 14:00
Lunch

14:00 – 14:20
Presentation: Planning for the Next Market Crisis


14:20 – 15:00
Panel: Member Engagement & Communication in the Wake of the Pension Freedoms
Topics

  • One tends to think more about DC when considering the pension freedoms.
  • The great volume of transfers from DB funds suggest members have woken up to the possibilities.
  • While transfers take risk off the table, they create a number of knotty problems for investment policy.
  • This all throws the spotlight on the question of what members really want in retirement and how investment strategies must adapt.

15:00 – 15:20
Presentation: Making the Most of Responsible Investing
Topics

  • RI and ESG have been adopted almost universally, though approaches vary.
  • What are the costs to the plan of various RI strategies?
  • Does a proactive ESG approach produces better member outcomes than a passive one?

15:20 – 16:00
Panel: What’s Best in a Recovery Situation – Self-Sufficiency, the PPF, Buy-Ins or Outs, or the Super Fund Solution?

Topics

  • Removing the entire pension liability from the books is very tempting for sponsors.
  • But it can be very expensive.
  • Do insurance solutions offer the best outcome for members?
  • If a plan does choose the de-risking route, do Super Funds offer a better option?
  • Would not a more innovative and return-seeking investment strategy be preferable?
  • Is the PPF too cautious?

16:00 – 16:30
Coffee

16:30 – 17:05
Roundtable Discussions: Self-Sufficiency or Liability Transfer – What’s Best for Members?


17:05 – 17:25
Presentation: To be decided

17:25 – 17:30
Closing Remarks


17:30 – 19:00
Drinks Reception


19.00 – 22:00
Dinner

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