Please note: this programme is subject to change

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Registration
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Welcome and Opening Remarks
Speaker
Editor-in-Chief
Professional Pensions
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Empowering Customers to Make Good Choices: A Behavioural Science View on Personalised Guidance

Effective, timely and informed decisions about pensions are a huge challenge - an FCA report last year suggested that 33% of non-retired adults have never thought about their pension before. Taking a behavioural approach to this challenge can help. Thinks Applied Behavioural Science Team’s experiment conducted for the Association of British Insurers showed how a combination of personalisation and simple design and copy changes can dramatically improve financial decision making.

Thinks delivered an iterative mixed-methods intervention design and test (with COM-B) to produce evidence for the impact of personalised guidance on the quality of decision making around pensions for the Association of British Insurers (ABI). We created user journey maps to select appropriate pensions decisions, conducted qualitative research with people making those decisions and industry experts, co-designed personalised guidance options drawing on both the behavioural science literature and experts from the pensions industry and ran an online RCT to produce rigorous evidence of impact.

Carol McNaughton Nicholls will address:

  • This recent work (that fed into the Advice/Guidance Boundary Review and ‘targeted support’ system proposal from the FCA and HMT)
  • How taking a behavioural approach can improve outcomes for your customers
Speaker
Managing Partner
Thinks Insight & Strategy
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New World Disorder: Navigating the Return of History and Rising Multi-Dimensional Volatility

From geopolitics to technology, climate and energy, debt, demographics and the return of big government, global markets face simultaneous upheaval across multiple dimensions. After an atypical generation of falling inflation, rates and volatility, these tectonic shifts are likely to drive markets into a more volatile and inflation-prone era which will fundamentally challenge many of the assumptions which underpin popular portfolio strategies. This presentation will focus on how to navigate this more turbulent landscape, focusing on the importance of shifting cross-asset correlations and identifying a host of generational risks and opportunities now in play.

Speaker
Fund Manager
Ruffer
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A Cut Above the Rest: Increasing Portfolio Sophistication

Historically, most UK DC schemes favoured passive index strategies, with default strategies heavily inclined towards public markets. However, since the Global Financial Crisis, markets have experienced stable growth and low inflation, but the shift observed in 2022 indicates a new era of macroeconomic volatility, prompting DC schemes to adjust their default strategies accordingly. With changing macroeconomic conditions and a rising focus on sustainability, an increasing number of DC schemes are turning to private markets for better diversification and potentially higher risk-adjusted returns. It is imperative for trustees to diversify investment strategies to safeguard members' retirement incomes.

Speaker
Managing Director, Head of the UK DC Platforms and Retirement Solutions business
BlackRock
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Networking Break
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Disorder and Opportunity: Investing Through the Climate Transition

Foraging to farming. Farming to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels to renewables. This third great energy transition is being driven at pace by technology and policy. Add unprecedented change in our natural world with a dose of global politics, and you have a recipe for disorder. Above all, however, it is a once-in-a-generation structural shift, offering up a rich seam of opportunities for the long-term stock picker. Hear from us on navigating the challenges and, more importantly, identifying the investment winners.

Speaker
Director
Baillie Gifford
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Glass Half Full: Navigating The Future of Illiquids for DC Schemes

In the last decade, pension schemes of various structures have significantly increased allocations to illiquid assets. In contrast, UK DC schemes have been more cautious in entering the illiquid space. However, with the chancellor's Mansion House Compact, the stage is set for a substantial increase in illiquid assets. As this landscape evolves, what considerations should schemes bear in mind?

This session will address: 

  • Potential pitfalls and overlooked investment risks
  • Lessons learnt from the September 2022 Mini Budget
  • Strategies for DC schemes to adjust portfolios, optimising risk-adjusted returns and enhancing resilience
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Unlocking Opportunities: Exploring LTAFs for UK Pension Savers

LTAFs present British pension savers with a distinctive chance to invest in a vital asset class, delivering stable, diversified, and inflation-linked returns. Providing access to long-term investments in private markets, encompassing wind, solar, hydrogen, heating, and storage assets, LTAFs emerge as an enticing and diversifying addition to DC members' portfolios, offering exposure to renewable energy and the broader energy transition.

This session will delve into:

  • How using an LTAF to access energy transition assets can add material value to a DC member’s outcome
  • Managing a semi-liquid portfolio in a DC context
  • How do we think about UK investments
Speaker
Partner
Schroders Greencoat
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Lunch
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Changes ahead: Focusing on Decumulation and Small Pots

What are the key legal duties and regulatory constraints which Trustees will need to observe, and which will inform their approach as they navigate their way through the proposed DC decumulation and small pots changes coming for DC pension schemes?

Speakers
Pensions, Managing Associate
Linklaters
Pensions Partner
Linklaters
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Fixed Income Investing in The New Regime

The old model for credit investing is broken. A new economic era is emerging from the pieces, and we believe that active security selection will be the key to exploiting the dispersion ubiquitous in this new environment. We discuss the opportunity set for a global solution investing across the credit spectrum and how investors can look to their managers to take advantage and avoid the pitfalls in the market today.

Speaker
Investment Director
Wellington Management
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Unlocking Value: The Real Estate Revolution in DC
In this session we’ll explore the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating real estate into DC and Master Trusts portfolios. Addressing the hurdles, we’ll highlight the historical inaccessibility of real estate for individual investors and emphasise the quest for optimal investment outcomes akin to Australia's successful model. Additionally, we’ll consider how real estate can provide a Defined Benefit-like experience and the evolving landscape of Long-Term Asset Funds (LTAFs).

But why consider real estate now? The opportunities are compelling. A globally diversified approach unlocks the potential for both independent allocation and a multi-alternative strategy. We’ll tackle operational challenges head-on and present the performance of real estate assets through illustrative case studies, demonstrating the tangible benefits of this strategic investment shift.
Speaker
Managing Director and Head of DC & Wealth
Invesco Real Estate
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Networking Break
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Decumulation Decoded: Supporting Members Through Retirement

The proposed architectural changes to decumulation is gathering considerable traction. Trustees will be legally obliged to provide decumulation services to members, either within the scheme or in collaboration with an external provider. Government survey results indicate that only 28% of individuals aged 55 to 59 have a clear retirement plan, with 17% unaware of their available choices. The surge in the 'baby-boomers' population means that nearly a million DC members enter pre-retirement each year, necessitating greater sophistication in managing the growing number of members and assets.

This session will address:

  • How can schemes offer a more streamlined retirement process when members wish to access their pension?
  • What does a decumulation strategy look like?
  • Investment portfolio construction in decumulation
Speaker
DC Director
TPT Retirement Solutions
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Policy Misdirection? Putting Society’s Needs Back into Retirement Saving

Workplace pensions are increasingly a focus for policymakers keen to fix the UK economy. Although said policymakers are ambitious, what’s been proposed so far is unlikely to benefit current or future retirees. SEI will explain why, and argue that societal needs be placed at the heart of retirement saving.

Speaker
Managing Director Defined Contribution
SEI
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Dot the I's and Cross the T's: A Closing Address from The Pensions Regulator

Join us for the grand finale of the Professional Pensions Defined Contribution Conference as we unveil our closing keynote session featuring Louise Davey from The Pensions Regulator. TPR has recently revealed its highly anticipated general code of practice, enabling governing bodies to align their schemes with TPR's governance standards, benefiting both regulators and savers. As the pensions industry prepares for substantial challenges in 2024 due to impending changes in government legislation, regulations, and policies, this session provides a direct update from TPR.

This session will address:

  • TPR's latest updates
  • Industry expectations for the future
  • Addressing concerns and questions regarding upcoming regulations
Speaker
Interim Director of Regulatory Policy
The Pensions Regulator
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Closing Remarks
Speaker
Editor-in-Chief
Professional Pensions