The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on defined contribution schemes – with plans facing not only significant falls in equity values but also the knock-on impact on member decision making.
The issues have been compounded as the majority of default funds are still predominantly invested in global passive equities – leading some to question how well they have protected members from market downturns such as those experienced over recent months.
Do such investment strategies still, for instance, provide good value for money for members? And have the investment strategies of increasingly important master trusts fared well in these markets? Also, how is risk being managed?
In addition to this, while sustainable investing is high on the agendas of both members and schemes, and many schemes are looking to incorporate an ESG focus into their default strategies at some point in the future, this is only something only a small number of schemes have currently implemented. Is now the right time for schemes to consider such an option?
This roundtable looks at how DC schemes are coping with the investment volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and assess any actions they should consider now to protect members.
It will also assess the extent to which the volatility has affected some members more than others and if any particular action is required for those members approaching or considering retirement.
It will additionally ask whether DC default designs need overhauling in light of the coronavirus crisis and discuss whether this is the time for more schemes to incorporate ESG factors into defaults.
Editor-in-chief, Professional PensionsView presenter info
Jonathan is editor of Professional Pensions and has been reporting on UK occupational pensions since 2001. He has won a number of awards during his career, most recently the SPP Trade Journalist of the Year Award in 2019. He is also holder of the PMI's Retirement Provision Certificate.
Client Relationship Director at Columbia Threadneedle InvestmentsView presenter info
Maria Nazarova-Doyle, CFA
Head of Pension Investments at Scottish WidowsView presenter info
At Scottish Widows, Maria is responsible for defining the investment offering across workplace savings, individual and longstanding customer segments and for incorporating sustainability in the investment design. She has previously held senior DC investment roles at Mercer and JLT. She is a spokesperson on investment matters, a regular contributor to DC industry events and a professional awards judge.
Head of DC
Lane Clark & Peacock
Laura is a Partner and the Head of DC at LCP, leading the consulting and investment teams which together advise over £20 billion of assets across 120 clients. Using her in-depth understanding of the market, Laura helps her clients cut through the complexity when it comes to the full range of DC issues; from establishing appropriate investment strategies, to extracting best value for money. Her leadership and passion is reflected every day by her ambitious and growing team, as she inspires them to develop innovative solutions for clients that improve the financial wellbeing of their savers.
Laura is an industry influencer, always on hand to offer her view of how the DC savings landscape is evolving and how employers, trustees and providers should react. As well as chairing LCP’s market-leading annual DC Conference and spearheading the firm’s thought leadership on shaping pensions that are fit for the future, Laura is the Chair of the PLSA’s DC policy committee and a member of its Policy Board. .
Head of DC and Financial Wellbeing, ReingtonView presenter info
Lydia joined Redington in 2015 as the Head of DC and Financial Wellbeing with the goal of playing a part in helping to secure the financial futures of 100m people. Redington work with a range of clients across the whole DC spectrum, from scheme design, communications and governance, through to investments and bespoke market-leading projects.
Lydia joined from the Barclays CE&S team where she was responsible for creating solutions and leading DC advice to pension scheme trustees and sponsors. Prior to Barclays, Lydia worked at LCP and Aon Hewitt, where she specialised in investment strategy and advice.
Professional Trustee at Capital CranfieldView presenter info
A highly respected and energetic investment and pension specialist with a proven history in relationship management and a reputation for delivering in challenging environments. Combines good strategic vision with hands on involvement to achieve the right results and build a strong business.
John has wide experience working with both Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution benefit structures. His DC experience includes:
- Chair’s statements,
- Platform provider change
- Member engagement including communication reviews and member roadshows
- Chairing and sitting on DC committees for hybrid schemes
- Rationalising investment options, in one case from over 100 to 30.
- Reviewing default funds
- Transaction cost reviews
- Wind Up
- Transition to Master Trust