10:00 – 10:40
Opening Video Networking Groups

10:40 – 10:45
Welcome and Introduction

Forum Chair
John Harrison
Adviser
Border to Coast Pensions Partnership


10:45 – 11:25
Panel: Implications of the New DB Funding Code for the Future of the Sector

The new DB Funding Code proposes a choice between a fast track approach to de-risking with lighter touch supervision and a bespoke route, allowing for a longer recovery plan and a higher risk investment strategy. To complicate the picture, both Covid-19 and the economic downturn have made many scheme funding targets harder to achieve. Meantime, open DB plans have been thrown a lifeline by a Lords amendment to the Pension Schemes Bill, allowing them different treatment from closed schemes. Our panel will debate the implications of these developments for the overall health of DB schemes and for investment strategy and asset allocation over the medium term.

Moderator
Jeff Houston
Head of Pensions
Local Government Association

Speakers
Neil Bull
Investment Consultant
The Pensions Regulator

John Chilman
Chief Executive
RPMI

Sarah Smart
Chair
Financial Times Pensions Governance Committee

11.25 – 11.30
Commercial Break

11:30 – 11:50
Presentation: The Central Role of Fixed Income Investments

Fixed income investments predominate in private DB plans, especially those that are fully funded or well advanced in their de-risking journey. For these plans, fixed income instruments can offer a combination of risk protection, liability and cash flow matching, liquidity provision, enhanced yield strategies and modest opportunities for capital growth. With interest rates and yields near historic lows, however, the overall asset class must be less attractive to open DB plans and to others requiring higher return targets. Our speaker will explore the outlook for fixed income markets and instruments globally in the context of the known funding needs and performance objectives for UK DB schemes.

Speaker
Jim Cielinski
Global Head of Fixed Income
Janus Henderson Investors

11.50 – 11.55
Commercial Break

11:55 – 12:15
Presentation: What to Expect from China

China is vital to the outlook for DB pensions for three reasons: the inward investment opportunities it offers; the effect on capital markets of its own outward investments; and its overall contribution to world economic growth and prosperity as a now vital player. Our speaker will discuss big picture themes in China around growth, US-China relations and long-term financial markets integration.

Speaker
Chris Kushlis
Fixed Income Sovereign Analyst, Asian Markets
T. Rowe Price

12.15 – 12.20
Commercial Break

12:20 – 13:00
Panel: Is Sustainable Investing Becoming Mainstream?

For many institutional investors, the traditional portfolio construction considerations of risk and return have been expanded to encompass ESG factors and sustainability considerations. As many pension plans are now formally incorporating ESG factors into their investment strategy and portfolio construction process, has sustainable investment finally moved into the mainstream? The panel will discuss the developing trends in sustainable investment and examine the factors driving that change.

Speakers
David Czupryna
Head of ESG Development
Candriam

Mitch Reznick
Head of Research & Sustainable Fixed Income, International
Federated Hermes

13.00 – 13.05
Commercial Break


13.05 – 13.40
Lunch at Home and Online Networking

13:40 – 14:00
Presentation: The Role of Currency Management in De-risking Strategies

Currency management has a clear role to play in hedging strategies across international portfolios. Our speakers will also demonstrate how active currency management can significantly enhance cash returns for DB funds at highly acceptable levels of risk.

Speakers
Dominik Mueller
Head of Currency Management Operations
Metzler Capital Markets

George Tsiourvas
Currency Management Advisor
Metzler Capital Markets

14.00 – 14.05
Commercial Break

14:05 – 14:45
Breakout Discussions: Governance and Consolidation Trends

We invite delegates to compare notes in online discussion groups on how they consider best practice governance and consolidation trends are evolving at DB schemes and whether the latter have accelerated as a result of the crisis.

Facilitator
Jeff Houston
Head of Pensions
Local Government Association

14:45 – 14:50
Screen Break

14:50 – 15:10
Presentation: Opportunities in Global Credit Investing

Despite a long term bull market in bonds and persistently low levels of interest rates, fixed income markets overall still offer value in light of continued central bank buying programmes, no immediate resurgence of inflation, and a mixed outlook for other asset classes. This is especially true for corporate bonds, where the crisis has thrown up multiple anomalies among the various country and industry sectors of the market. Our speaker will provide a guide to the most striking opportunities.

Speaker
Pilar Gomez-Bravo
Director, Fixed Income Europe
MFS Investment Management

15:10 – 15:15
Commercial Break

15.15 – 15.55
Panel: The Outlook for Private Markets

In many cases, private market investments promise returns and income in excess of those available in comparable listed markets, together with significant diversification benefits. These generally come at a cost of lower levels of liquidity and higher than average management and performance fees. The panel will explore the outlook for private equity and private debt in the current environment.

Speakers
Mark Hedges
Chief Investment Officer
Nationwide Pension Fund

Speaker to be confirmed
Partners Group

15:55 – 16:00
Commercial Break

16.00 – 16.20
Case Study: Approaching the Endgame – Lessons from BA Pensions

Our speaker will present how BA Pensions have moved to derisk and guarantee pensions liabilities over time, with reference to their two principal DB schemes.

Speaker
Fraser Smart
Chief Executive Officer
BA Pensions


16:20 – 17.00
Panel: Horses for Courses – The Merits of Competing Endgame Strategies

There are multiple endgame strategies available to DB plans: self-sufficiency, buy-in, buy-out (partial or otherwise), the PPF, and various consolidation solutions made possible by the interim regime for the superfunds this year. Our panel will evaluate their various merits and the conditions at particular DB schemes which make some preferable to others.

Speakers
Lucy Barron
Partner, Investment Consulting
Aon

Des Healy
DB Consolidation Lead
Department for Work and Pensions

Fraser Smart
Chief Executive Officer
BA Pensions

17.00 – 17.10
Devil’s Advocates Summary of the Forum


17.10 – 17.15
Closing Remarks


17.15 – 18.00
Re-join Networking Groups