Agenda and draft minutes

Cumbria Pensions Committee - Tuesday, 8th June, 2021 9.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - County Offices, Kendal, LA9 4RQ

Contact: Nicola Harrison  Email: nicola.harrison@cumbria.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

158.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the first Cumbria Pensions Committee meeting to be held in a public venue since the beginning of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

 

Apologies were received from Mr P Thornton.

159.

Terms of Reference and Membership

To note the Terms of Reference of the Committee and any changes to membership.

Minutes:

The Committee’s Terms of Reference and membership was noted.

 

Mr N Hughes had replaced Mr P Thornton as a member of the Committee for this meeting only.

 

Mrs P Duke was welcomed to the meeting in an observing capacity only. She had recently been appointed as Cumbria County Council’s Director of Finance (S151 Officer) commencing in post on 1 July 2021.

 

Mrs J Crellin, Cumbria County Council’s previous Director of Finance (S151 Officer) had now left the authority. Mrs Crellin was thanked for her leadership and dedicated support to Chair and members of the Cumbria Pensions Committee.

160.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

Members are invited to disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises

 

1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for       profit or gain.

 

2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992).

 

3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority

 

(a)       Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be           executed; and

 

            (b)       Which has not been fully discharged.

 

4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 

 

5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 

 

6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)

 

            (a)       The landlord is the authority; and

 

            (b)       The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial                                                     interest.

 

7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where

 

(a)       That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the          area of the authority; and

 

 

(b)       Either –

 

(i)      The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one        hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or

 

(ii)     If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.

 

Note

 

A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest made.

161.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider whether there are any items on the agenda for which the press and public should be excluded.

Minutes:

RESOLVED,that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following reports as they contain exempt information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972;

 

Item 9 – Border to Coast Pensions Partnership Ltd – Shareholder Resolution.

162.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 356 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the Cumbria Pensions Committee held on 16 March 2021

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2021 be approved as a correct record.

163.

REPRESENTATION FROM NON COUNTY COUNCIL EMPLOYERS AND DISTRICT COUNCILS

This is a standing item. To receive concerns, queries and comments from non-County Council employers and individual members of the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme

Minutes:

There were no representations made at this meeting of the Cumbria Pensions Committee.

164.

SCHEDULE OF FUTURE MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To receive for information a schedule of future meetings of the Cumbria Pensions Committee

Minutes:

The schedule of future meetings that had been published with the Agenda was noted.

 

The Chair announced that the September meeting of the Committee usually held in Edinburgh would this year be held in Carlisle.

165.

DRAFT UNAUDITED ACCOUNTS TO 31 MARCH 2021 pdf icon PDF 376 KB

To consider a report from the Director of Finance

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report was considered from the Director of Finance (S151 Officer) regarding the Draft Unaudited Accounts to 31 March 2021. The report presented to Members the draft (subject to audit) Accounts of the Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme 2020/21. The report included a recommendation to submit the Accounts (subject to any final Audit amendments) to the Audit and Assurance Committee for approval on behalf of the Council.

 

An update was circulated electronically to members before the meeting and a hard copy was circulated at the meeting. The update replaced pages 101-106 in the Agenda pack. This document detailed the updated statement by the consulting Actuary of the actuarial valuation results.

 

The Finance Manager - Pensions Investments and Governance presented the draft unaudited accounts. The Constitutional requirements of the Committee to present the draft unaudited accounts to the Audit and Assurance Committee was explained. Members’ attention was drawn to the change in publication deadline for 2020/21 and 2021/22 and it was highlighted that the final audited accounts were expected to be published on or before 30 September 2021.

 

Members were informed that after publication of the Agenda, the Audit Plan had been received from Grant Thornton. The response to the Auditor’s questions relating to the use of estimates had been submitted to Grant Thornton on 26 May 2021 and this information would be reported to the Audit and Assurance Committee at its June meeting.

 

The Committee was informed that Appendix 1 to the report was subject to amendment during the auditing period.

 

The Finance Manager - Pensions Investments and Governance talked members through the accounts’ publication dates and noted that officers would continue to consider whether any reportable events needed to be included in the narrative. Members would be notified of any amendments to the draft accounts.

 

The Committee was provided with a summary of performance of the Fund to 31 March 2021. It was noted that the excellent performance of the Fund was to be considered in the context of the effect the global COVID 19 pandemic had on performance in the final quarter of 2019/2020. It was pleasing to note the increase in the Fund’s assets which had been due to having a long term approach and a diverse portfolio. The key messages and details of performance were reported to members. Members were also provided with an overview of Fund activities in the year.

 

It was confirmed by the Finance Manager - Pensions Investments and Governance that officers were working on the Annual Report which would be presented to the Committee at its September 2021 meeting.

 

A member referred to increased focus and scrutiny which was expected to be applied during the 2020/21 Cumbria LGPS Audit and asked whether this would hinder the management of the Fund or would it be advantageous to officers. The member highlighted the number of external risks to the Fund (such as the COVID 19, BREXIT and the Exit Cost Cap) and asked if taking increased investment risk was appropriate.

 

The same member asked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 165.

166.

BORDER TO COAST PENSIONS PARTNERSHIP LTD - SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTION

To consider a report from the Director of Finance

 

Minutes:

A report was considered from the Director of Finance (S151 Officer) regarding the Border to Coast Pensions Partnership Ltd - Shareholder Resolution. The report sought the Committee’s approval for the Chair of the Pensions Committee, in his capacity as the Council’s Shareholder representative for the Company, to authorise the vote to approve the Shareholder Resolution for the additional budget of £0.250m per year required to support the increase in partner fund commitments for Series 1 of the Alternatives programme.

The Senior Manager - Pensions and Financial Services presented the report to members. The Committee asked questions on future risk and pension draw downs. Members and the Investment Advisors commented on the pooling process, due diligence and liquid investments.

 

A member noted that the request for additional budget was a positive one as it arose from a significant increase in commitments to the programme which meant that partner funds, including Cumbria would be able to access opportunities that would have previously been out of reach due to their scale.

 

The Chair proposed acceptance of the recommendations as set out in the report to the Committee. As there was no dissent, it was,

 

RESOLVED that, Members support the Chair of the Pensions Committee, in his capacity as the Council’s Shareholder representative for the Company, to authorise the vote to approve the Shareholder Resolution for the additional budget of £0.250m per year above the previously agreed Strategic Plan 2021-24 to support the increase in partner fund commitments for Series 1 of the Alternatives programme.

167.

VERBAL UPDATE - EMERGING ISSUES

To receive a verbal update on emerging issues

Minutes:

The Chair gave a verbal update on the pay settlement for officers at BCPP.

 

The Chair would be attending a BCPP workshop on climate change on 13 July 2021.

168.

Closing Comments

To receive closing comments from the Chair

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed that ‘in person’ meetings had recommenced.