Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80-94)



  80.  So they were not part of this?
  (Mr Tiner) No.
  (Mr Daykin) We transferred 20 people, of whom 15 were actuarial staff and three trainees, I think.

  81.  How many of them are still with you?
  (Mr Hewitson) I think, only one has left; the turnover has been quite low.
  (Mr Daykin) Several left us before the transfer took place, but I think the ones who did not want to go to the FSA went earlier. If I could just add that the difference is that we are mainly trying to recruit actuaries with pensions experience, whereas, primarily, the FSA have been looking for people with insurance, and particularly life insurance, experience; and pensions actuaries are in greater demand at the moment.


  82.  So you are fishing in different pools?
  (Mr Daykin) Yes.

  83.  The final query on Resource Accounts is to do with premises. In the Accounts, you are renting a building at £410,000 a year, but you refer to a commitment to take a new building at a rental that rises to £1,300,000, something called Tooke's Court. Could you explain that; how do we jump from £410,000 a year to £1.365 million?
  (Mr Daykin) We do not know what the rental would have been at our present accommodation, but, effectively, we are being forced out of that accommodation, so we have had to seek other accommodation. It is part of a general reorganisation of Government Departments, which involves the Customs & Excise and Treasury and Inland Revenue and us and the Department of Health, all sort of moving around, and, basically, the Department of Health, I think, primarily, will save a lot of money by moving into our accommodation, and, therefore, it was felt to be good value overall for us to move into this new building.

  84.  It was felt to be good value overall, but your rent is trebling?
  (Mr Daykin) The business case is being looked at in the whole, for all of the Departments that are involved in this move.

  85.  What, across Whitehall, do you mean, or across the Treasury?
  (Mr Daykin) Across all the Departments I mentioned, Treasury, Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue, Government Actuary's Department and the Department of Health.

  86.  But you are the foregoer, your rental is going up three-fold?
  (Mr Daykin) This is part of the current Spending Review, and this general assessment of the value for money of this whole rearrangement. This is a building which was built for Government, and, in fact, from our point of view, it results in quite a satisfactory rental position, because we have a more or less guaranteed rental stream over the next 20 years, which we do not have at the moment; we are going to be able to sub-let some of the building, in order to offset that cost.

  87.  Where is Tooke's Court?
  (Mr Daykin) It is just off High Holborn, near the Prudential building.

  88.  And £1.3 million a year is reasonable, is it?
  (Mr Daykin) Yes.

  89.  What proportion will you let to somebody else?
  (Mr Daykin) Probably, two floors, out of six, including the basement.

Mr Cousins

  90.  A very brief question. I have noticed, in the Report that we got yesterday, your survey of occupational pension schemes, that the responses are very slow in coming in, and that there is going to be some delay in publishing the results of that survey?
  (Mr Daykin) Rather the contrary; there is no delay, we are actually going to publish the results, I think, at the end of this month.

  91.  It does say: "Responses were received only fairly slowly over the following months"?
  (Mr Daykin) Yes. We were expecting responses to be all in by the end of last year, and because they were coming in slowly we instituted a number of follow-up efforts to increase the response rate, and that resulted in us getting an adequate response, which we have now analysed, and we are in the process of producing a document which will be published at the end of this month.

  92.  And that review, which, of course, is an extremely important public document, will be published in the normal way, with the full quality of information, at the normal time?
  (Mr Daykin) The intention is to publish a 20-page document at the end of this month, in order to get the information into the public arena as quickly as possible. We will produce, in due course, a full volume of information, as we have in previous times; but what we intend to do this time is make available, from later in the year, the database of information on our website, which will enable people, effectively, to interrogate the database and pull out whatever tables they are interested in from the information we have.

  93.  I see; but, of course, that information, in the autumn of this year, will refer to the situation as it was over a year earlier?
  (Mr Daykin) Yes; well that is inevitable, I am afraid, because we have to write to companies, after the closure of the year in question, and get them to complete information. It will review the position as at the year 2000.

  94.  The year 2000; so it will not provide us with proper, up-to-date reporting on the state of occupational pension schemes?
  (Mr Daykin) It is, if you like, a mark in the ground. We cannot always be up-to-date, because there is always this lag in getting the information, and we are trying to produce information not just about a few schemes but about the whole cross-section of schemes in the industry, which requires us to use the General Household Survey and the information from the Registry of Pension Schemes, in order to go to schemes and get information from them. It is not something that can be done on an instantaneous basis; and this is a much faster timetable than has been achieved previously.

  Chairman: We are going to leave it there. Mr Daykin, Mr Tiner, thank you and your colleagues very much indeed.

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