Working with our clients during COVID-19

As an outsourced governance support service for our clients, we worked collectively to provide swift and comprehensive support during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

Actions taken

We took the decision ahead of formal lockdown to set up all staff for remote working. This ensured continuity of service at all times whilst protecting the safety of our team.

We updated our clients’ business continuity plans and designed a risk assessment framework which was personalised for each client. It covered defined contribution, defined benefit and hybrid schemes.

Each risk assessment framework was updated in conjunction with the Scheme’s business continuity plan and guidance from the Pensions Regulator.

The categories considered included:

  • Administration
  • Covenant & Funding
  • Investment strategy
  • Governance
  • Compliance

In each category, the risks were clearly outlined along with how they could be mitigated. Each risk was then “owned” by a designated entity and regularly updated.

We set up all our clients to “meet” remotely and issued clear instructions of how to best conduct a meeting using video conferencing.

We worked with clients to streamline agendas and prioritise accordingly. We also ensured they practised the mantra “little and often” as the most effective way of ensuring key items were addressed as a matter of urgency.

We updated risk registers and ensured mitigating actions were implemented against high risk areas.

Results

Many of our clients were able to use their robust governance framework to execute decisions swiftly for the benefit of their members. For example, new Scheme documentation was put in place to allow furloughed members to suspend DC contributions. Transfer values were reviewed, and investment opportunities were executed throughout March and April to rebalance portfolios and capture value in market anomalies.

“I just wanted to say I appreciated receiving this proactively (Covid-19 update). From my perspective your team have pretty much seamlessly transitioned to the new world”
HP Trustee