Memorandum from the Pensions Management
The PMI is the professional body for people
working in the pensions sector. The PMI's members work as pensions
managers, consultants and technical specialists in consultancies
and insurance companies. Many are also actuaries, pensions lawyers
or company secretaries. Their experience is therefore wide ranging
and has contributed to the thinking expressed in this response.
As we understand it, GAD was set up to provide
independent technical advice on the financing of social security.
Over the years its role has expanded and it has become well known
as an organisation which produces technical advice and research
as well as acting as a consultant to a number of occupational
pension schemes. The GAD report gives details of all the work
being undertaken by the department so we do not intend to repeat
it in this evidence.
The Department is required to give impartial
and practical advice to Government, sometimes on matters affecting
occupational pension schemes. As a result of its work, the GAD
has a very good understanding of the occupational pensions world
and uses this in its work with regulators and Government Departments.
This has proved to be a great help to both sides.
In order to maintain their knowledge and to
give their opinions credibly, the GAD should be able to carry
out traditional work such as pension scheme valuations so that
they maintain contact with the industry and see at first hand
the problems faced by occupational pension schemes.
When consultation documents are issued by Ministers
or Government Departments it is noticeable, from time to time,
that input has been provided by the Government Actuary's Department.
The input is of a high standard and can be wide ranging. If Government
Departments did not have access to the expertise in the GAD we
wonder how they would be able to source this information.
The GAD also undertakes a number of surveys
and reviews including an occupational pension scheme survey and
a Quinquennial Review of the National Insurance fund. Both these
publications are widely used by technical departments of companies
In recent years we are aware that GAD has helped
the Government set up the regulatory system, including OPRA and
FSA. In addition, we understand that it has also provided actuarial
input on cases being considered by both regulators and the Pensions
Ombudsman. This has proved to be a cost-effective way of providing
the information required.
The Government Actuary is a well-known and highly
regarded speaker at conferences and seminars. He willingly undertakes
engagements not only at prestigious national conferences but also
at events throughout the country as well as overseas. He is able
to draw upon a wealth of information within GAD to provide independent
and thought-provoking talks. We know that his presence at such
events is greatly appreciated.
The availability of a highly respected Government
Actuary backed up by an experienced and dedicated team in GAD
has, we believe, proved invaluable to the Government, Government
Departments and all of us who work in the pensions field. We believe
that there is a role for it going forward. Indeed, it is difficult
to see how a Government and its Departments could operate as effectively
without a Government Actuary's Department.
8 January 2001