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CR Smith (1989) Retirement Benefit Scheme

Annual statement by the chair of the trustee for the year to 5th April 2023

What is this Statement for?

It is important that you, as a member of the Scheme, can feel confident that your savings in The CR Smith (1989) Retirement Benefits Scheme (“the Scheme”) are being looked after and give good value.

Under legislation, certain governance requirements apply to defined contribution pension arrangements i.e., the requirement to prepare a yearly statement which describes how these governance requirements are met. This Statement sets out how we, the Trustees, have managed the Scheme in the last year and what we aim to do in the coming year.

What’s in this Statement?

We have included information on the following areas in this Statement:

    1. How we manage your Scheme – what guides our decision making;
    2. Investment options – what we have done to check the performance and suitability of the Scheme’s investment options, especially those used by members who don’t want to make an investment choice (known as the “default arrangement”);
    3. Investment performance – what returns have the investment options given over the last year;
    4. Cost and charges – what costs and charges you have paid in the last year and how these might impact the size of a typical member’s savings in the Scheme over time;
    5. Value for Members – the quality of the Scheme’s services (including the investment returns on your savings) which you pay for;
    6. Administration – how well the Scheme has been administered, including how promptly and accurately key transactions (such as the investment of your contributions) have been processed;
    7. Trustee knowledge – what we as the Trustee Directors have done to maintain our level of knowledge and obtain the professional advice we need to look after the Scheme for you;
    8. Our key actions last year and the Scheme’s for the next year – what key actions we took in the last year and what we aim to do in the coming year to continue to improve the Scheme for all our members.

What were the highlights from the last 12 months?

We can confirm to you that:

1.  How we manage your Scheme

The Trustee of the Scheme is C R Smith Glaziers (Dunfermline) Limited, the sponsoring employer of the Scheme, responsible for appointing and removing trustees.  The directors are GJP Eadie and HC Eadie.

The Scheme is a wholly insured Scheme through Royal London offering with profits policies to each member.  The insurer manages the Scheme on a day-to-day basis and attends to investment and administration of the Scheme’s benefits.

The Scheme design does not include “online” services, information or daily investment analysis of the Scheme’s with profits policies.

There were no changes in the Scheme in the last 12 months.

2.  Investment options

Whilst we did not conduct a review of the investment options during the year, we remain satisfied that the default arrangement and investment options has performed in line with our objectives.

There have been no changes to the investment options in the last year.

3.  Investment Performance

The investment returns produced by the funds were generally in line with the Scheme’s objectives.  Royal London is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and obliged to treat the members of the Scheme fairly.

4.  Cost and charges

The insurer’s costs in delivering the Scheme’s investment and administration are met by the insurer’s adjustment of the monies allocated to you by way of bonus and policy charges.  Royal London is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and obliged to treat the members of the Scheme fairly.

The Trustees have been unable to obtain a meaningful explanation of those charges.

The Employer pays the cost of the Scheme’s other administration, governance, and communications.

5.  Value for Members

Each year we look at the costs and charges you pay as well as the range and quality of the services you pay for and see how they compare with the options made available by the Employer sponsoring the Scheme.

Royal London is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and obliged to treat the members of the Scheme fairly and adhere to their Principles and Practice and with profits governance.

We found that the Scheme gave value in the last year.   Although there are no additional services similar to those available through pension providers such as NEST (which the sponsoring firm uses for new employees), the costs of provision of the With Profits pension scheme appear to us to be in line with other With Profits pension schemes.

6.  Administration

We check that the administration of the Scheme has run smoothly over the year. During the period covered by this Statement:

  • Employer payments were made on time to the Scheme, no other payments are due to the Scheme;
  • The insurer responded to checks and challenges on the timely application of those payments made by the employer; and
  • The wider administration of the Scheme was completed within the service standards set by the with profits insurer.

7.  Trustee’s knowledge

It is important that we as the Trustees keep our knowledge of pension and investment matters up to date and have access to sound professional advice.

Overall, we believe that we have the right skills and expertise together with access to good quality professional advice so that we can provide appropriate oversight of the management of your Scheme properly.

8.  Our key actions last year and the Scheme’s for the next year

During the last year we:

  • Conducted the annual Value for Members assessment of the services for which members bear or share charges and costs;
  • Assessed the Scheme for the value offered, see section 9;
  • Arranged for the publication of the Scheme’s Chair’s Statement in a publicly searchable location on the internet with a note of this location in the annual benefit statements.

During the next year we aim to:

  • Continue to monitor the administration of the Scheme; and
  • Continue to work in conjunction with the Employer to provide information to members for whom payments are made to the Scheme to facilitate their assessment of the appropriateness of the Scheme.

9. Assessment of the Scheme – Our assessment 5 April 2023

The Scheme gave average Value for Members in the year ended 5 April 2023. The rating criteria used in the assessment were:

 

RatingDefinition
ExcellentThe Trustee considers the Scheme offers excellent value for members, providing services within a top 20% quality/cost range compared with typical options for similar schemes.
GoodThe Trustee considers the Scheme offers good value for members, providing services at better quality/cost compared with typical options for similar schemes.
AverageThe Trustee considers the Scheme offers average value for members, providing similar services at similar quality/cost compared with typical options for similar schemes.
Below averageThe Trustee considers the Scheme offers below average value for members, providing similar services at higher cost or more limited services for similar cost compared with typical options for similar schemes.
PoorThe Trustee considers the Scheme offers below average value for members, providing similar services at higher cost or more limited services for similar cost compared with typical options for similar schemes.

The rationale for the rating of each service was in outline because the Scheme is designed to provide with profits investment returns only, with limited designed features for other related services.

1. Administration

Royal London administers the scheme’s investments, and provision of pension benefits and statements for Scheme on our behalf.

Core financial transactions

It is a legal requirement that we must monitor the Scheme’s core financial transactions during the last Scheme year which includes the following:

  • The receipt and investment of contributions (including inward transfers of funds); and
  • Payments of benefits (including retirements and outward transfers of funds).

Service levels

We have no service level agreement in place with the with profits provider.

This scheme predates the administrative concept of service level agreements that insurers would agree to.  Such agreements tend to include the accuracy and timeliness of all administration work such as:

  • The investment of contributions;
  • Switching investment options
  • Payments of benefits;
  • Contribution refunds; and
  • Transfers and switch requests.

The Trustees utilise the sponsoring Employer’s finance team to liaise with Royal London to ascertain that service standards are at least adequate.

Cyber Security

We are conscious of the growing threat of cyber-attacks on pension scheme information.

We expect that the pension provider will report any security breach immediately and ensure that members are notified as soon as possible as it is required to as it is registered with the Information Commission’s Office in relation to holding person data.

Overall

We are satisfied that during the year:

  • Core financial transactions were processed;
  • The Employer’s finance team has picked up all discrepancies as those have been resolved by the Pension Provider;
  • There have been no material administration errors in relation to processing core financial transactions; and
  • The wider administration of the Scheme achieved the agreed service standards.

Security of assets

The situation regarding the security of where pension contributions are invested is complex. It can vary from scheme to scheme and from fund to fund within each scheme. To date there have only been a few instances where members of schemes such as ours have seen their benefits reduced due to financial failure of a provider or fund manager.

We have faith in the With Profits Pension Provider adhering to its statutory obligations.

2. Trustee knowledge

The Trustee’s have identified the need to keep up to date with their pension training and have put monitoring processes in place to identify any areas that need improving over time. More information on the additional training the Trustees receive in the coming months will be detailed in next year’s Chair’s Statement.

Trustee training

With the help of our advisers, we regularly consider training requirements to identify any knowledge gaps.

Trustee compliance

All the Trustees have access to copies of and are familiar with the current governing documentation for the Scheme, including the Trust Deed and Rules (together with any amendments). Any amendments to these documents are reviewed and approved by us. We refer to the Trust Deed and Rules as part of deciding to make any changes to the Scheme.

Missing Information

We are not satisfied that we have obtained full information on charges and transaction costs but are satisfied that the insurer would conform to its obligations as a with profits policy provider regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. We also note the following limitations:

  • At this time, limited data is available from Royal London to enable industry-wide comparisons of pension schemes and we have relied heavily on generally available information through the world wide web; and
  • There is limited transaction costs data available from Royal London to provide industry-wide comparisons.

We understand that these issues currently affect many pension schemes and pension providers with insurers such as Royal London.   We hope the amount of information available should improve.

We hope this Statement is of help to you for your future. If you have any questions, please contact the Payroll Manager at CR Smith Gardeners Street, Dunfermline KY12 0RN.