Defined Contribution Conference

Evolving DC offerings to members

Professional Pensions Defined Contribution Conference will now take place virtually on Monday 19 & 26 October.

Evolving DC offerings to members Short-term actions are dominating the thinking of many defined contribution (DC) schemes as the coronavirus pandemic continues. However, ongoing effects of the pandemic have also provided schemes with a much-needed chance to re-evaluate approaches to administration and investment.

Professional Pensions presents our annual DC Conference as a two part virtual event taking place on the 19th and 26th October. We hope this event provides you with the opportunity to hear the latest updates in the DC market from our expert speakers, hear from your peers and network in our event chat and virtual exhibition hall.

While we’re still not able to have in person events we hope our online offering can help pension schemes stay informed and help Trustees with their CPD points. Plus you will also have the opportunity to tune in to any of the live sessions that you missed on demand after the event.

This event is working towards the International Standard ISO 20121 and follows guidance set out by the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA)

Time until the event

Who should attend?

Professional Pensions  welcomes delegates from the following job types:


Pension Scheme Managers

Pension Scheme Administrators

Pensions Communication Specialists

Chairs of Trustees

HR Directors/Managers


Financial Directors




    Chair’s opening remarks

    James Phillips, Deputy Editor, Professional Pensions

    Opening keynote: What TPR has seen during the pandemic and how we’re planning for the future

    Louise Sivyer, Policy Principal, The Pension Regulator’s Regulatory Policy Directorate

    Financial Connectivity

    The pieces of someone’s financial jigsaw have always been thought about in pots (saving for a kitchen), over timescales (short term cash, medium term savings, long term pensions), and through a risk lens. Connectivity, through technology, education and open banking is blowing this away. The next decade will afford people more and more opportunity to view, control and manage their financial world in one place. This will have profound impact on pension products of all flavours, including contract-based and master trust plans.

    Robert Cochran, Take To Market Specialist, Scottish Widows

    Live Q&A 14:45 – 14:55

    What can schemes really do to improve member outcomes?

    Steven will talk about why retirement targets are important not just for members, but also as a fundamental part of DC investment design. The session will share the new concept of Target Driven Investment Strategies showing how the next generation of DC investments can adapt to market movements to help keep members on track.

    Steven Leigh, Principal Consultant, Aon

    Live Q&A 15:10 – 15:20

    Networking break
    Please grab a drink, talk in the event chat and visit some of our sponsor booths
    Integrating ESG into a multi-asset portfolio

    Multi-asset strategies play a vital role in DC defaults; delivering long term returns while managing investment risk. As our understanding of the risks associated with ESG evolves, it is important that multi-asset solutions take account of these risks. However managing wide ranging ESG risks across multiple asset classes is challenging. In this session we will introduce the concept of a sustainability budget and explain how this can form part of the process to integrate ESG into a multi-asset portfolio.

    Tim Horne, Head of UK Institutional Defined Contribution, Schroders

    Live Q&A 15:50 – 16:00

    The Future of Digital Pensions

    DC members will likely have several different employers over their lifetime, with several different pension schemes. With many different pension schemes, not to mention personal finance such as bank accounts, mortgages, credit card debt, among others, it can be difficult to manage your finances. SEI’s open banking app solves this problem by bringing together all of these accounts, allowing members to see their aggregate net worth at once. This holistic view of their finances allows members to have better control of their finances and financial decisions.

    Steve Charlton, Head of DC and Solutions, SEI

    Sarika Narula, Communications Manager – Institutional Group, EMEA & Asia, SEI

    Live Q&A 16:15 – 16:25
    Accessing property market returns for DC schemes

    Only 30% of all DC pension schemes invest in property, compared to 63% for DB schemes. Tony Yu of Aegon Asset Management (formerly Kames Capital) will discuss the unique characteristics of commercial property investment and explain a new way in which DC pension schemes can access the asset class.

    Tony Yu, Fund Manager, Indirect Property, Aegon Asset Management

    Live Q&A 16:40 – 16:50

    Thematic Investment – the missing link to drive engagement?

    Using a thematic framework, we seek to navigate the key economic and social trends that are shaping the investment landscape, many of which have been accelerated, initiated or even ended by the coronavirus pandemic. Thematic investing strikes a chord with investors because themes are highly relatable. With this in mind, we explore whether thematic investment approaches can improve DC member engagement.

    Charlie French, Deputy chief investment officer, Head of Equity Opportunities team, Newton Investment Management

    Live Q&A 17:05 – 17:15
    Closing remarks from the chair
    Chairs welcome

    James Phillips, Deputy Editor, Professional Pensions

    Up your DC Game

    In July 2020, we ran our BlackRock DC Pulse Survey of 1,000 UK defined contribution (DC) partipants focusing on confidence, importance of retirement savings, planning, impact of COVID and views on ESG. In this session Alex Cave, Head UK DC, discusses the key themes, from the lack of confidence in financial futures (which spiked in 2020), the desire for an income replacement of around two-thirds of participants final salary but the inability to contribute more, to the desire for participants pensions schemes to offer access to ESG products. On reflection of these findings Alex will discuss how we can cater for today’s retirement needs and if participants need more from their pots, what are the things we can do as an industry to make the default work better for them.

    Alexander Cave, Head UK Defined Contribution, BlackRock

    Live Q&A 09:20 – 09:30

    DC is a 'false' pension without a framework for members to draw their money

    Annuities, Drawdown and Cash all contain significant risks – what lessons can we learn and what should the UK be developing to help its DC members?

    Mark Futcher, Partner and Head of DC and Workplace Wealth, Barnett Waddingham

    Live Q&A 09:45 – 09:55

    Preparing for a comfortable retirement

    Some three-in-four staff are likely to miss out on a comfortable retirement – something that is causing increasing concern for employers and trustees. But what can they do to help DC members to address this lack of saving and improve outcomes? This session takes a look at how schemes can assess, communicate and guide their way to better member outcomes and improve the ROI of DC spend.

    Greer Flanagan, Actuary and Senior DC Consultant, Hymans Robertson

    Live Q&A 10:10 – 10:20

    Networking break

    Please grab a drink, have a look round the exhibition hall and contribute to the event chat.

    The good and “not so good” when transferring to a DC Master Trust

    A talk focussing on the good and “not so good” aspects we have seen in terms of the legal documentation and process when transferring a scheme to a DC Master Trust. Focussing on the aspects of the process and documentation negotiation etc. that could be streamlined, discussing the real areas of risk on which MTs and Trustees ought to be focussed and the areas that could be simplified or considered lower risk. The aim is to provide an insight into what we, in our experience, have seen work well on transfers to DC Master Trusts and those areas where both MTs and Trustees could benefit from some tweaks to process.

    Paul Lawrence, Managing Associate (Pensions), Linklaters LLP

    Live Q&A 10:50 – 11:00

    Making active equities work for DC savers

    DC savers are taking an increasing interest in how their money is invested, expecting their money to ‘do good’ as well as generate the returns they need. The UK DC charge cap of 75bps has driven most schemes to implement passive / smart beta strategies. Peter Rutter will talk about how an active investment process, active stewardship (voting, company engagement) and bespoke ESG analysis can be coupled with systematic implementation to deliver active solutions that improve performance and environmental, social and governance outcomes within the DC charge cap.

    Peter Rutter, Head of Equities, Royal London Asset Management

    How relevant and personalised communications are winning members hearts and minds

    With advances in technological capabilities, the ability to track member preferences, needs and wants has never been so sophisticated. So how do we turn this insight into action? Donna Walsh Head of Workplace Deployment will discuss how member segmentation and serving personalised and relevant communications can make a positive difference with engagement levels.

    Donna Walsh, Head of Proposition Deployment, Standard Life

    Live Q&A 11:40 – 11:50 

    DC panel: Costs, engagement and auto-enrolment
    This session will discuss whether the charge cap hinders schemes, and whether or not the charge cap should be extended. It will also consider the growing number of AE members and how we get from 100% inertia to becoming fully engaged.

    Renny Biggins, Head of Retirement, TISA
    Vincent Franklin, Co-Founder, Quietroom
    Kerry Jones, Senior Trustee Consultant, 2020 Trustees
    Jenny Davidson, Trustee Executive, BESTrustees

    Close of conference

    Please note: this programme is subject to change


    Head of Retirement
    Head UK Defined Contribution
    Head of DC and Solutions
    Take To Market Specialist
    Scottish Widows
    Trustee Executive
    Actuary and Senior DC Consultant
    Hymans Robertson
    Co-Founder and Creative Director
    Deputy chief investment officer Portfolio manager, Head of Equity Opportunities team,
    Newton Investment Management
    Partner and Head of DC and Workplace Wealth
    Barnett Waddingham
    Head of UK Institutional Defined Contribution
    Senior Trustee Consultant
    20-20 Trustees
    Managing Associate (Pensions)
    Linklaters LLP
    Principal Consultant
    Communications Manager – Institutional Group, EMEA & Asia,
    Head of Equities
    Royal London Asset Management
    Policy Principal
    The Pensions Regulator
    Head of Proposition Deployment
    Standard Life
    Fund manager, Indirect Property
    Aegon Asset Management


    For programme queries contact:
    Paige Reeves
    Conference Manager
    +44 (0)20 7484 9810
    For sponsorship queries contact:
    Liam Barrett
    Sales Director
    +44 (0)20 7484 9977
    For registration queries:
    Ellie Harris
    Marketing Executive
    +44 (0)20 7484 9713