Devils Advocates Panel – Morning Session
John Nestor, Member of the Independent Governance Committee, Prudential
Sarah Smart, Chair of the Audit Committee, The Pensions Regulator
Peter Wallach, Director of Pensions, Merseyside Pension Fund

08:30 – 09:00
Coffee and registration in the Sandringham Suite

09:00 – 09:05
Welcome & Opening Remarks
John Harrison, Adviser, Border to Coast


09:05 – 09:35
Panel: The Evolving Industry Landscape
Jonathan Libre, Principal – EMEA Insights, Broadridge Financial Solutions
Magnus Spence, Managing Director – Global Distribution Solutions, Broadridge Financial Solutions

The received wisdom is that the DB sector is in decline, the DC sector is growing strongly, with the LGPS sector following a more stable trend. But what are the realities and what do they mean for pensions practitioners? Broadridge will present key data and analysis on the asset size, structure and evolution of the three main sectors of UK pensions – LGPS, DB and DC – and the flows between them, together with projections for the future. The audience will debate the implications for managing pensions across the industry, and the investment strategies likely to be of greatest prominence in delivering optimal member outcomes.


09:35 – 09:55
Presentation: The Economic State of the World
Quentin Fitzsimmons, Senior Portfolio Manager, T. Rowe Price

Is global growth catching a cold? After years of positive economic data thanks to generous liquidity actions by central banks and stimulative fiscal packages by governments, such as the U.S. and China, most countries are now experiencing a slowdown. But does this mean that investors should be preparing for a recession? Our speaker will discuss the realities of the economic outlook and what the implications are for fixed income in particular.


09:55 – 10:35
Roundtable Discussions: Industry Challenges – What Can We Learn From Each Other?
Facilitator: Jeff Houston, Head of Pensions, Local Government Association

In significant ways, the three main sectors of the UK pension industry have evolved independently, developing their own approaches to governance, investment strategy, consolidation and member engagement, among other key criteria. In this session, we will combine delegates from LGPS, DB and DC plans so that we can compare notes on the challenges we face, identify issues common to us all, discuss what’s working well in our respective fields and highlight areas of greater future cooperation.

Roundtable Moderators
Howard Bluston, Independent Adviser, London Borough of Harrow
Martin Kellaway, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Chartered Management Institute
Nigel Keogh, Independent Adviser, Surrey Pension Fund
John Lovell, Group Pensions Director, Coats Group
Joana Marfoh, Head of Treasury & Pensions, Islington Council
Claire McCormick, Board Trustee, Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank Group
Mark Norris, Chair, Wales Pension Partnership
Anthony Parnell, Pension Investments Manager, Carmarthenshire County Council
Martine Trouard-Riolle, Chair of Trustees, E.ON Pension Scheme
John Wood, Chair of Trustees, ExxonMobil UK & Ireland Pension Scheme


10:35 – 10:55
Presentation: What the Global Bond Markets are Telling Us About the Future
Gary Kirk, Partner, TwentyFour Asset Management

The last presentation examined the state of the world based upon macroeconomic data and analysis. In this presentation our speaker, a veteran trader, will explore what the markets are telling us in response to the same questions about the overall state of the global economy and the outlook for fixed income in major countries, since this asset class is so core to the fortunes of UK pension plans.

10:55 – 11:20
Coffee in the Sandringham Suite

11:20 – 11:40
Presentation: The Globalisation of Real Assets
Sorca Kelly-Scholte, Head of EMEA Pensions Solutions & Advisory, J.P. Morgan Investment Management

Historically investors have retained a strong domestic bias in their portfolios of real assets. This has been especially true when investing in real estate. In this session, our speaker will set out how real asset portfolios are to become more global, drawing parallels with the globalisation of equity portfolios. She will also discuss how the opportunity set has evolved and the ways in which some of the historical barriers to international investing are being overcome.


11:40 – 12:20
Panel: Retirement Solutions After the Pension Freedoms
Moderator: Henry Tapper, Founder & Editor, Pension PlayPen
Panelists: Rob O’Carroll, Head of Automatic Enrolment Policy Team, Department for Work and Pensions
Graeme Riddoch, Director, HUB Pension Solutions
Fraser Smart, Chief Executive Officer, BA Pensions

The introduction of the pensions freedoms and associated legislation has sparked a revolution in how pension savers plan for retirement. Purchasing an annuity is no longer a requirement for workplace pensions. However, DC providers, almost without exception, are not offering decumulation solutions within their plan. Despite this, over £35 billion has been voluntarily transferred from DB into DC and other savings vehicles over a 12-month period. Trustees are challenged to help their members understand their up-to-date benefits and the alternative options available to them at retirement. Meantime, many DB schemes continue to pursue a de-risking solution, with buyout or superfund consolidation as the endgame. The panel will explore the range of retirement solutions across the industry, including how investment strategies are evolving to meet them.


12:20 – 12:40
Presentation: The Implications of Brexit for UK Pensions
Steven Bell, Chief Economist, BMO Global Asset Management

Our speaker will discuss the prospects, political and economic, for the UK and the rest of the EU following whatever shape Brexit takes over the coming months. He will focus on the UK’s future trading relationships and consider the implications for interest rates, sterling and the stock market.


12:40 – 13:00
Interview: Intangible Assets and the Technology Megatrend
Daniel Nicholas, Client Portfolio Manager, Harris Associates

The last tech bubble led to a resounding bust two decades ago. Now we have a new tech megatrend in process of a seemingly far more robust nature, led by the FAANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google). Our speaker will discuss how value investing has evolved and the methods that have been developed to evaluate the worth of these intangible assets, principally represented by the brand names and customer bases of these companies. The bottom line: is this new tech wave one that UK pension investors can ride to the distinct benefit of their members?

13:00 – 14:15
Lunch in the Brasserie Restaurant

Devils Advocates Panel – Afternoon Session
Chris Parrott, Head of Pensions, Heathrow Airport Holdings
Mark Thompson, Chief Investment Officer, HSBC Bank Pension Trust
Dawn Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Brunel Pension Partnership

14:15 – 14:35
Interview: The Global Equity Shortage
Interviewer: John Harrison, Adviser, Border to Coast
Interviewee: François Bourdon, Global Chief Investment Officer, Fiera Capital

Equity markets worldwide are slowly shrinking. Net equity supply turned negative in 2016 for the first time ever. This trend slightly reversed in 2017, before resuming again. In essence, not enough shares are being issued to offset those being withdrawn from circulation. Therefore, assuming stable demand for equity investments in the future, the supply picture means more money in aggregate will be chasing every public share. In addition, the prevalence of buybacks, cash-funded mergers and acquisitions and company de-listings deplete the universe of investable equity still further. Our speaker will explore the significance of these trends, and the opportunities and challenges they present to UK institutional investors.


14:35 – 14:55
Presentation: Fixed Income: Investing in the Latter Stages of the Economic Cycle
Paul Skinner, Investment Director, Wellington Management

Fixed income assets are a core allocation of most pension schemes’ strategy. In an environment of falling yields and tightening spreads, these allocations have provided schemes with the benefits of return, cashflow and liability hedging. As many believe we are in the latter stages of the economic cycle, our speaker will explore the options for delivering these benefits in more challenging environments. He will assess the opportunities in the credit markets and how to access them, consider whether it is now appropriate to take some market risk off the table, and explore how schemes can get good value when purchasing longer-dated assets to match liabilities.


14:55 – 15:35
Panel: How Can Policy and Regulation Support Better Pension Outcomes?
Moderator: Robert Laslett, Member of the Independent Governance Committee, Zurich Insurance
Panellists: David Fairs, Executive Director, Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice, The Pensions Regulator
Tony Filbin, Chairman, Capital Cranfield Trustees
Pritheeva Rasaratnam, Head of Pensions and Funds Policy, Financial Conduct Authority
Gareth Thomas, Head of DB Pensions Policy, Department for Work and Pensions

Speakers from the DWP, TPR and the FCA will discuss how they see their role in creating a strong and healthy pensions industry, the initiatives they are pursuing, and the challenges these present, with commentary from a leading market practitioner and the audience on the practicalities of these initiatives.


15:35 – 15:55
Presentation: Equity Hedging Decisions: Maximising Risk/Return Outcomes for UK Pension Schemes
Alex Zweber, Institutional Portfolio Manager, Parametric (An Eaton Vance Company)

Strong equity markets, along with a recovery in funding levels have led to a greater interest in equity hedging programmes, mostly based on the purchase of index options to protect against market declines. But is hedging always the best solution for UK pension schemes with a longer-term investment horizon? Are there complementary approaches that should be considered to address some of the practical challenges associated with equity hedging? In this session, our speaker will consider the design and implementation of traditional equity hedging programmes and will outline an approach which could be a powerful complement or alternative to hedging.

15:55 – 16:25
Coffee in the Sandringham Suite

16:25 – 16:45
Presentation: A Great Win-Win – Social Housing
Stuart Fiertz, President, Cheyne Capital

Among the key challenges that UK pension schemes are seeking to address are the movement from LDI to CDI, the increased use of illiquid assets in DC funds, and how to invest with impact without either sacrificing return potential or increasing risk. Our speaker will explore how the long-term, inflation-linked cashflow streams from investing in UK social property can help meet these challenges. Further, he will explain how an appropriate governance structure and a transparent investment approach can both drive up returns and accelerate deployment of investors’ capital.


16:45 – 17:25
Panel: The New Big Challenge – Member Engagement
Moderator: Sarah Smart, Chair of the Audit Committee, The Pensions Regulator
Panellists: Anna Bradley, Chair, Zurich IGC
Robert Branagh, Managing Director, London Pension Fund Authority
Glyn Jenkins, Head of Pensions, UNISON

In the wake of the pension freedoms and with 10 million more Britons saving towards a pension as a result of auto-enrolment, engaging and communicating effectively with members has become a sine qua non for all providers. Key questions surround what members really want from their pensions, defining best practice in member engagement across LGPS, DB and DC sectors, and the consequences of greater member involvement for governance and investment strategies.


17:25 – 17:30
Closing Remarks

17:30 – 19:00
Drinks in the Sandringham Suite


19:00 – 21:30
Dinner in the Library

Featured Address
The Role that Good Governance Will Play in UK Pensions Outcomes
Professor Gordon Clark
Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
Oxford University

Devils Advocates Panel – Morning Session
Angela Docherty, Acting CIO, Nesta Trust
Tony Filbin, Chairman, Capital Cranfield Trustees
Fraser Smart, Chief Executive Officer, British Airways Pensions

09:00 – 09:05
Opening Remarks

09:05 – 09:45
Panel: Sustainable Investing Across UK Pensions
Moderator: Dawn Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Brunel Pension Partnership

Panellists:
Anthony Fletcher, Senior Adviser, MJ Hudson Allenbridge
Michael Marshall, Director of Responsible Investment, LGPS Central
Peter Michaelis, Head of Sustainable Investment, Liontrust Asset Management
Mark Thompson, Chief Investment Officer, HSBC Bank Pension Trust

The panel will discuss the overriding importance of sustainable investing to LGPS, DB and DC plans alike, the challenges and benefits of implementation, and the consequences for social good, investment performance and member outcomes over time.


09:45 – 10:05
Presentation: Integrating ESG Delivers Alpha
Abbie Llewellyn-Waters, Fund Manager, Global Equities, Jupiter Asset Management

Our speaker will illustrate the relationship between strategic ESG considerations and alpha. She will explain how these insights can be embedded as an investment tool rather than a screen, in order to identify the highest quality companies who are managing their businesses for the long term in economic, environmental and social terms. In doing so, she will draw upon a profound understanding of those metrics that are most material and relevant to these issues.


10:05 – 10:40
Roundtable Discussions: Value for Money In UK Pensions – Is There a Common Standard of Best Practice?
Facilitator: Jeff Houston, Head of Pensions, Local Government Association

Achieving value for money is central to achieving best outcomes for pension plan members. Delegates will compare notes on how they are approaching this vital issue across LGPS, DB and DC plans. The emphasis will be on what’s working in the different sectors and what delegates can learn from other approaches.

Roundtable Moderators
Anna Bradley, Chair, Zurich IGC
Paul Brine, Chair of the Investment Committee, Metal Box Pension Scheme
Anthony Fletcher, Independent Investment Adviser, Derbyshire & Surrey Pension Fund
Kim Gubler, Chair, The Pensions Administration Standards Association
Jim Haynes, Chair of Trustees, J.P. Morgan Chase Pension Plans
Ola Owolabi, Head of Pensions, East Sussex County Council
Chris Parrott, Head of Pensions, Heathrow Airport Holdings
Ben Piggott, DC Plan Secretary, Royal Mail Pension Trustees
Chris Pond, Chair, Lending Standards Board
Henry Tapper, Founder & Editor, Pension Playpen


10:40 – 11:00
Interview: Emerging vs Developed Markets – The Story of the Next 30 Years
Interviewer: John Harrison, Adviser, Border to Coast
Interviewee: Yerlan Syzdykov, Global Head of Emerging Markets, Amundi Asset Management

Our speaker will provide privileged insights into the long term outlook for the emerging markets, both fixed income and equities, and the role they can play in enhancing the performance of UK pension schemes.

11:00 – 11:25
Coffee in the Sandringham Suite

11:25 – 12:00
Panel: Listed vs Unlisted Infrastructure Strategies
Moderator: William Bourne, Independent Adviser, Nottinghamshire Pension Fund Committee
Panellists Simon Eaves, Head of Clean Energy Infrastructure, Europe, Capital Dynamics
Charles Kirwan-Taylor, Chairman, ATLAS Infrastructure

Traditionally investors have used LP (Limited Partnership) structures to invest in infrastructure. Investors receive regular income over a long period, which they can use to match long duration liabilities. In principle investors are locked into the vehicle until it matures. More recently, a range of listed specialist investment trusts have grown which invest in similar assets. Compared with LPs, investors gain instant exposure to the assets and at least in theory have more liquidity. Further along the liquidity spectrum are portfolio managers offering specialist expertise in publicly quoted infrastructure companies as a standalone strategy. The panel will debate the pros and cons of these approaches to infrastructure investing.


12:00 – 12:35
Panel: The View From Parliament
Moderator: Laurie Edmans, Chair, Reach PLC Pension Plan
Panellists:
Chris Pond, Chair, Lending Standards Board
Lord Hodgson, House of Lords

A panel, including a Member of the House of Lords engaged in pensions issues, will discuss their view of the challenges in UK pensions and what politicians can do to resolve them.


12:35 – 12:55
Interview: Meeting the Pensions Promise
Interviewer: John Harrison, Adviser, Border to Coast
Interviewee: Bill Galvin, Chief Executive Officer, Universities Superannuation Scheme

A leading industry figure will make the case for how to achieve a healthy pension system in the UK by the year 2050, stimulating a discussion throughout the room on this overarching issue.


12:55 – 13:00
Closing Remarks

13:00
Lunch in the Sandringham Suite with the Lords & Ladies