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: A DC update from The Pensions Regulator

    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


    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.


    An alternative approach

    Defined benefit schemes have long taken advantage of investing in illiquid and alternative assets, but DC schemes have often lagged in their adoption of these asset classes. However, the addition of illiquid investments to DC portfolios could help improve member outcomes and offer better return potential to members over the long term. We will discuss current challenges to inclusion and how these could be overcome.

    Thematic investments

    Thematic funds struck a chord with European investors last year, pulling in significant sums of money. To a large extent, their popularity can be attributed to the simple fact that they invest in accordance with themes that the general public understand and relate to. With this in mind, could thematic investment approaches improve DC member engagement?

    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 master trust advantage

    Employers are increasingly turning towards DC master trusts as a way in which to reduce the burden of running schemes as well as minimising costs and out-of-market exposures. This session looks at some of the benefits of a flexible master trust approach and assesses approaches to default investment design both to and through into retirement as well as different glide path designs and the benefits of passive or active investing.

    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

    DC panel: Costs, engagement and auto-enrolment
    Close of conference

    Please note: this programme is subject to change


    Head UK Defined Contribution
    Take To Market Specialist
    Scottish Widows
    Actuary and Senior DC Consultant
    Hymans Robertson
    Partner and Head of DC and Workplace Wealth
    Barnett Waddingham
    Head of UK Institutional Defined Contribution
    Principal Consultant
    Policy Principal
    The Pensions Regulator


    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