Please note: programme is subject to change

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Registration
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Welcome and Opening Remarks
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Play Your Cards Right: How to Keep Optionality for Your Endgame

Regardless of the selected strategy, DB schemes must maintain agility in 2024 due to ongoing legislative changes. While the buy-in / buy-out market remains strong, the emergence of superfund transactions and other external capital options has broadened the landscape for schemes' endgame choices. Non-insurance alternatives may be more cost-effective and beneficial for members. With increased funding and minimal risk, run-on for schemes becomes more practical, with potential surplus returns to the sponsor. Regardless of the chosen path for your pension scheme, stay adaptable. Recent years have demonstrated the rapid evolution in the pension landscape, emphasising the importance of staying informed and seizing market opportunities.

This session will address:

  • How to get endgame ready
  • The pros and cons of various endgame options
  • How to fully consider all the options available and what is best for your scheme
Speaker
CEO
Brightwell
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Surplus Crossroads: What Are Your Options?

Economic conditions, and specifically market movements, have had a lasting impact on defined benefit (DB) funding levels. The Purple Book 2023 reported a surplus of £359bn in 2023, while the aggregate funding ratio increased to 134.3% from 113.1%, in 2022. But what does this mean for schemes in surplus today and achieving their member outcome objectives? This session will explore how best to put your surplus to work.

This session will address:

  • What to consider when thinking about self-sufficiency
  • The transfer from DB scheme surplus to DC schemes
  • The option of paying members back
  • Case study examples

Speaker
Head of BlackRock's UK Strategic Client Team
BlackRock
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Preparing for Buy-in: Managing Tricky Member Benefits and Options

With schemes getting closer to buy-out, many trustees are starting to get into the finer detail of how they should go about insuring the benefits in their scheme. Whilst insurers are flexible, there are certain design features or member options that insurers either aren’t able to provide, can’t easily administer or would be disproportionately expensive to insure.

This session will address:

  • What benefit design features and options can cause problems for insurers?
  • What are the options for dealing with them?
  • A case study for removing a Pension Increase Exchange option before buy-out
Speaker
Partner and Head of DB Endgame Consulting
Barnett Waddingham
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Networking Break
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Building a Bridge to Your Endgame Destination: Buyout, Run-on or Both

In this session LGIM will offer key insights into how schemes can bridge the gap to their preferred endgame destination. But with an extensive toolkit of options such as whether a scheme could achieve better results by running on while simultaneously fine-tuning alignment with buyout pricing, how to build in illiquid asset exposure, and the risks of missing a potentially ground-breaking opportunity to ‘set in stone’ today’s higher funding levels, the foundations for success will vary. Join Mat and his fellow financial engineer for what promises to be a highly constructive and insightful debate.

    Speaker
    Head of Insurance Solutions & Strategy
    Legal & General Investment Management
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    Is It Really a Game?

    It's definitely not the end, and it shouldn't be a game where your members end up.

    This session will address:

    • An alternative overview of the current endgame landscape
    • Whether all of the innovations truly deserve your attention
    Speaker
    Managing Director Head of Client Solutions
    Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management
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    The Illiquids Opportunity: Thinking Outside The Box
    Session synopsis TBC
    Speaker
    Managing Director Risk Solutions
    Cardano Advisory
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    Lunch
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    Decided on Your Endgame Solution: But What Can You Expect from A Bulk Annuity?

    Smaller schemes, now positioned to consider buyout for member benefits, have significantly increased in the past year. The growing number of schemes achieving full buyout funding will intensify competition in the de-risking market, emphasising the need for thorough preparations. However, smaller schemes may face challenges, as insurers tend to prioritise larger, commercially attractive transactions. With the presence of a deal-making superfund and a proposed public sector consolidator focusing on the smaller segment, smaller schemes must keep their foot down now to achieve endgame.

    This session will address:

    • Is the market coping with increased demand as 2024 is predicted to be another bumper year
    • How processes may differ for large and small schemes
    • Exploring hurdles and how to manage them
    Speaker
    Head of DB sales
    Just Group
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    Seal the Deal: Getting Your Admin and Data Buyout Ready
    The recent uptick in interest rates and last year's Mini Budget crisis has significantly improved funding levels of numerous schemes. Many are now on the brink of endgame, eyeing buyout or buy-in transactions within the next five years.
    While failure to keep track of members has been somewhat previously overlooked, it has a profound effect on defined benefit schemes looking to de-risk through buy-in or buyout transactions. Inaccuracies in fund record-keeping during de-risking could inflate liabilities, leading to unnecessarily high insurance premiums and substantial long-term costs. Ensuring a seamless endgame demands meticulous attention to member data accuracy and comprehensive record maintenance.
    This session will address:
    • How can schemes ensure they have the best delivery model for their needs?
    • How can schemes ensure their administration supports their derisking plans?
    • What does it look like in practice for administration and data to be "buyout ready"?
    • What key changes to administration delivery and member experience will there be after a buy-in/buyout
    Speakers
    Business Development Director
    Heywood Pension Technologies
    Head of Data Services
    Heywood Pension Technologies
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    The Incredible Bulk: Smashing Your Way to The Bulk Annuity Market In 2024
    The bulk annuity market is poised for another remarkable year of buy-in and buyout transactions, along with potential newcomers entering the UK market. Projected market volumes for 2024 range from £50 billion to £65 billion, fuelled by a surge in deals exceeding £1 billion. Insurers are reporting substantial pipelines of larger transactions, contributing to the market's overall momentum. The heightened activity has attracted interest from capital providers, including both UK and overseas entities, as well as investors seeking opportunities within the expanding UK buy-in and buyout market. Despite insurers facing challenges in sourcing bulk assets amid a market characterised by higher interest rates, there are expectations of attractive pricing opportunities for schemes employing an effective insurer process.
    This session will address:
    • How has the Mansion House reforms increased debate on schemes' endgame plans?
    • What can we expect from the bulk annuity market this year?
    • How are resourcing issues affecting schemes plans to buy-in/buyout?
    • What key factors are insurers looking for when deciding to quote a case?
    • Does the buy-in/buyout process vary with scheme/transaction size, and if so, how?
    Speakers
    Associate Partner
    Aon
    Senior Consultant
    Aon
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    Networking Break
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    What Goes Around Comes Around: Is DB Gone for Good?

    DB sector members argue against classifying DB pensions as a success story, despite a 90% average funding on a buyout basis, a significant increase from 70% five years ago. Despite improved funding, expanded endgame opportunities, and political recognition for their significance to UK growth, the industry largely questions whether DB pensions can be deemed a success. However, this raises the question: Is DB truly dead?

    This session will address:

    • Is DB dead?
    • What will the anticipated outcome be for the DB schemes that are underfunded?
    • What could the future of DB look like?
    • Is it time for DB schemes to come back?
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    Different Strokes for Different Folks: Alternative Endgame Options for Schemes

    Last year, the overarching view was that achieving a buyout of a pension scheme's liabilities through an insurance company was a common objective for many trustees and sponsors. Given the current high activity in the bulk annuity market, the continued popularity of an insurance buyout is not surprising. While there are evident advantages when considering buyout as an option, it's crucial to acknowledge potential risks and recognise that this approach may not be universally suitable for all schemes. Hence, exploring alternative options that may have been overlooked in the past becomes essential.

    This session will address:

    • What alternative options are available for schemes?
    • A comparative analysis of these alternatives, and their respective advantages and disadvantages
    • The types of schemes and sponsors for which each option might be most appropriate
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    Aligning Sustainability Expectations in The Bulk Annuity Process

    The majority of occupational defined benefit pension schemes in the UK are closed, with many maturing on a path which considers transacting with a pension insurer. These schemes are likely to have made sustainability-related commitments on behalf of their members, for example setting a net zero target, and want to know the extent to which the sustainability characteristics of a bulk annuity transaction will align with these commitments, both at the point of transaction and in the future.

    This session will address:

    • Key principles that help align expectations around sustainability before, during and after a buy-in or buy-out transaction
    • How to use the recently launched Sustainability Principles Charter for the bulk annuity process in action
    • What other schemes are doing in this space?
    Speakers
    Director of Capital Markets
    Accounting for Sustainability (A4S)
    Deputy Chief Responsible Investment Officer
    Church of England Pensions Board
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    Closing Remarks