Getting the most out of your charity’s investment in pensions

Charities spend 6p on pensions for every £1 of voluntary income, and 6% of their total staff costs are pension-related, according to our study of the top 100 UK charities.

Market volatility and operational disruption are changing perceptions of pensions. Whether they participate in a multi-employer Defined Benefit scheme or run their own, charities have to weigh up the risks against the scheme benefits and their charitable aims.

As with all pension schemes, trustees in the charities sector have a statutory duty to monitor the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) characteristics of their investments. For charities, these ethical questions sit at the very heart of their mission.

How can First Actuarial help?

We provide specialist services across the full range of pension arrangements that charities have in place, with practical guidance based on experience of the sector.

Support for multi-employer schemes

Where charities participate in multi-employer schemes such as the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) or the Pensions Trust Growth Plan, we can:

  • Review your pension provision, and put in place alternative arrangements
  • Negotiate on funding, supporting your charity in discussions
  • Provide support for company accounting, and help with FRS 102
  • Communicate with scheme members, in ways that suit you and your employees
  • Set up a salary exchange arrangement, and communicate the benefits to staff
  • Help employees in higher tax bands, and set up policies where needed
  • Manage termination debts, with strategies to mitigate or avoid Section 75.

Support for individual Defined Benefit schemes

We provide services to help trustees and employers get maximum value from their own Defined Benefit scheme.

For the employer – Our services give employers peace of mind that they are fulfilling their pension responsibilities.
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For the trustee – we offer the full range of services to help trustees run a cost-efficient scheme and look after their members.
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Support for Defined Contribution schemes

We have a range of services to support your Defined Contribution schemes, helping you

  • Select and design a new scheme to suit you and your employees
  • Manage auto-enrolment and re-enrolment, guiding you through the complexities
  • Set up a salary exchange arrangement that is quick and cost-efficient.

Find out more

Investment consultancy

Charities require an average investment return of 3.9% to pay all pensions due, according to our 2017 survey. We offer a full service to help manage investments for a pension scheme or the charity’s own endowment funds.

We can

  • Help trustees make informed investment decisions, with investment strategy advice
  • Provide Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) expertise
  • Select the right fund manager, based on our rigorous, up-to-date research
  • Manage changes to investment strategy, with our transition services
  • Monitor investments and liabilities, and switch assets at the right time.

Escrow service for charities

We provide expertise on escrow accounts, where charities can set aside funding for pensions with the flexibility to withdraw that money for charitable purposes if it isn’t needed for pensions.

Why choose First Actuarial?

First Actuarial is unrivalled in providing specialist pensions advice within the trade union movement. Our team offers several decades of combined experience in this area.

We have longstanding relationships with many trade unions – including Unite, CWU, UCU and FBU – where we have provided negotiation and consultation support.

Our public service pension scheme expertise includes the NHS Pension Scheme, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, the Local Government Pension Scheme and the Civil Service Pension Scheme.

We are great communicators, and we strip away unnecessary jargon to clear the way through pension complexity. We care deeply about people and we work with trade unions to help them look after their members.

When we attend meetings or calls, we will give you our view rather than sitting on the fence. And we always work hard to find a pragmatic, workable solution to problems.

We provide Scheme Actuary, investment and pension scheme administration services to the trustees of a number of trade union staff pension schemes.

Get in touch

If you’re an employer or trustee in the charity sector, talk to us about how we can help you

“I would definitely recommend working with First Actuarial. Their consultants went over and above the call of duty to make sure the project progressed smoothly. In all areas – overall project and strategy scoping, defined contribution scheme and investment fund advice – the support has been exemplary.”

- Claire Beesley, Project Manager, RSPB

Read our Charity Study

Benchmark your charity’s pension provision with our study of the top 100 UK charities.

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First Actuarial case studies

RSPB

The RSPB was determined to minimise the impact of its new defined contribution scheme on employees, and appointed First Actuarial to support the transition and select a provider with strong ethical values.

“I would definitely recommend working with First Actuarial. Their consultants went over and above the call of duty to make sure the project progressed smoothly.”

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The Kennel Club

Concerned about the risk of an Employer contribution increase as a result of high liabilities, Trustees of the Kennel Club Pension Fund turned to First Actuarial.

“They’re extremely professional and helpful. Their input always seems sound, logical and well presented. First Actuarial handled the transition well, they provide us with helpful guidance, and have delivered what they promised when they pitched for the work.”

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Cheam School

With substantial increases in Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) contributions looming for independent schools, Cheam School looked to First Actuarial for specialist support.

“We had a very good experience working with First Actuarial. I felt that they were always on the end of the phone, available to help and respond to issues as they arose."

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