Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#UNDC13 Capital Stewardship fringe - Wednesday Evening

Picture from UNISON NDC Capital Stewardship fringe "time for members to govern their money" with UNISON national officer Colin Meech, Mo Baines from Greater Manchester Pension Fund (Chaired by NEC Jane Carolan in the middle)

Colin spoke about the need to bring the fund management of the local government pension (LGPS) fund "in-house"and stop being ripped off by City fund managers. He briefed us on the new governance arrangements of the LGPS which will probably come into effect in 2015 (we think).

Mo praised Colin for his work on pensions. He had been the first to point out why schools and hospitals use PFI to fund rebuilding when we have money elsewhere?

The Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) is worth £10 billion but it only has trade union  observers with no voting rights. The fund is looking into localised investments. It wants to build 240 homes for market rent. If you pay into a pension scheme then the area you live in should also benefit from scheme investments.

Mo said that fish always rot from the top. We should make sure that in the LGPS we change fund management from the top.

My question to both is that UNISON should consider regional networks of LGPS pension reps to encourage and give face to face support to reps? There use to be a national network of LGPS reps who actually sit on pension panels and committees, who could be consulted and give feed back on what they they need to help them carry out their duties.

Colin responded by saying there will be a national consultation forum. He warned us not to underestimate those who feed off your money. Do they want to give this up? There are huge vested interests. The LGPS has high fees plus hidden charges. You could clear pension deficits within 8 years if the LGPS was merged & you cut costs and raise performance.

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