How the Royal Mail pension schemes are run
Whether it be through its Final Salary Scheme (RMPP), the interim Cash Balance arrangement or its DC trust, Royal Mail Pension Trustees have consistently over-delivered to their organisation and the members of the various Royal Mail pension schemes.
This has been overlooked but is rather important.
Under the excellent investment management of Ian McKnight, the funding costs of the promises made to postal workers have been stabilised and look in future to be negative (at times plans have been in surplus with attendant savings to the ultimate sponsors (including the Government).
Ian has worked with Ben Piggott, who is in charge of the DC arrangements looking at innovative solutions to the shortcomings of insured DC defaults, though these have been stymied by permitted links regulations (liquidity based) , hopefully they will bear fruit in the investment strategy of the imminent CDC plan – which McKnight expects to be “punchy”.
Further innovation comes from Tim Spriddell, a consultant to the Trustees who is so embedded in Royal Mail communications that I can speak of him as the architect of the member’s communications. I love the RMDCP video- made with Quietroom
With Mark Rugman and Michael Mayall providing the link to Royal Mail’s member benefit administration, Richard Law-Deeks can be very proud of the team of whom he is chief executive.
The Royal Mail’s pension executive is a fine example of how pensions should be run – and I cannot say that for all the executives I have visited recently.
How the Royal Mail pension schemes are governed
The management of the Royal Mail pension schemes is down to the executive, but strategic decisions and oversight is up to the Trustees.
You can read about the Trustees of the DB plan here. Joanne Matthews, Mark Ashworth and others represent the independent ones and Phil Browne and others from the Royal Mail fill the rest of the places other than Graeme Cunningham and Lionel Sampson of Unite and CWU respectively. Though this plan is no longer accruing new benefits, it underpins the pensions of most postal workers and is of vital importance. The executive and trustees need to work properly together, I get the impression they do.
The (new) Chair of the Trustees of the DC plan (RMDCP) is Venetia Trayhurn.
Victoria spent time at the Financial Ombudsman Service and we had a good conversation about protecting member’s interests when she came to a recent AgeWage workshop. She works as a professional trustee for LawDeb but gave up her time to come to a workshop we gave this week about helping members with their difficult retirement choices.
Other trustees include Jon Millidge, formerly the company HRD and instrumental in negotiating the proposed CDC plan with Terry Pullinger and the CWU. Though the DC plan is likely to be superseded by the CDC arrangement , you can see by the attention paid to its communication, that it is anything but a poor relation.
What does this mean for members?
Postal workers at Royal Mail are properly pensioned and – provided the Government don’t renege on promises, will continue to be offered build up of a wage for life pension into the future.
My recent visit to their Pension’s Office in Ironmonger Lane in the City of London and meetings with their trustees, teaches me that this is an organistion where sponsor, trustees and pensions executive are working together with the member’s interests at heart.
I love writing this blog, because it lightens my heart that there are places in Britain where pensions excellence persists, and Royal Mail is one of those places.
They are setting the gold standard against which others can be judged and we should be grateful that they do.
What this means for the members of the various Royal Mail pension arrangements, is they can work with the comfort that when they stop working, their pensions will last as long as they do.
Oh and don’t confuse the Royal and Daily Mail!