Branch Motion to Local Government Conference – Pension Pooling and Investments

Published February 1, 2017 at 12:37

The government consulted on a new set of investment regulations to support the pooling initiative. The regulations include unprecedented powers of intervention for  the Government into the investment policies of the scheme’s funds.

UNISON is clear that funds’ investment policies should be guided by what is the ‘best interest’ of scheme members – as required by law- and not by government. We believe the UK government is denying the scheme members of the LGPS their statutory right to have their pension funds invested in their best interest.

The government wants to get pools investing more in infrastructure. And is requiring the pools to state how they will do this. Government included in the autumn 2015 budget statement the creation of a single infrastructure platform for LGPS funds.

UNISON does not oppose investment in infrastructure (such as roads, railways , airports) for pension funds. However it must be in the interest of scheme members – not in interests of government policy or local politicians wanting something built in their area. Infrastructure investment is for the long term and pension funds need long term investments but they have to be the right investments.

The Branch agreed at its Committee Meeting held on 31st January 2017 to put a motion to the Local Government Conference In June :

‘Conference notes that the Government is proposing new Local Government Pension Scheme investment regulations and asset pooling. Whilst there could be advantages in the pooling of LGPS funds, should this go forward, the proposal also gives new power to the government to decide where council pension funds make its investments.

As such, Conference fully endorses UNISON’S national campaigning activities calling for it to be written into UK law that council pension funds, not the government, decide where to make investments.

Conference also welcomes UNISON’S position that employed representatives be included in any investment and new governance arrangements.

This arrangement should also include retired members representation who are also current beneficiaries of local government pension schemes.

Conference believes that any union representation at the governance table needs to include both employed and retired members.

Conference therefore calls on the National Local Government Committee to make representations to the National Executive Council to work towards achieving this.’

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