How the Greater Manchester Pension Fund is run
Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) is one of 86 funds that make up the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in England and Wales. These funds are run by administering authorities, which are councils that have been given responsibility for running the LGPS locally. Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (Tameside MBC) is the administering authority for GMPF.
Tameside MBC delegates the day to day running of GMPF to a committee called the Pension Fund Management Panel and the Director of Pensions. An Advisory Panel supports the Management Panel. The panel set up three working groups that consider areas of GMPF’s work in more detail and make recommendations. Every LGPS fund also has a local pension board. This board supports the Pension Fund Management Panel by carrying out a scrutiny role, ensuring GMPF is managed and administered effectively and efficiently and that it complies with the code of practice on governance and administration issued by the Pensions Regulator.
The panel’s key role is to pay pensions and ensure there is enough money in the fund to do this, taking into account environmental, social and governance matters. It is responsible for the administration strategy and all policies and funding matters.
The panel is made up of Tameside MBC councillors, councillors from other Greater Manchester councils and a representative from the Ministry of Justice. The Advisory Panel, which sits alongside the Pension Fund Management Panel, is there to offer advice and guidance to panel members and officers. It is made up of one councillor from each of the nine other Greater Manchester councils and trade union representatives from GMB, Unison and Unite.
The panel can set up working groups to consider matters in more detail and then make recommendations to it. The working groups are made up of a subset of Pension Fund Management Panel members. There are currently three working groups, which are:
- Policy and Development Working Group: this working group considers policy matters that affect pensions and the wider LGPS.
- Investment Monitoring and ESG Working Group: this working group considers GMPF’s investment choices and performance. It looks at environmental, social and governance matters in order to maximise investment returns.
- Administration, Employer Funding and Viability Working Group: this working group considers how GMPF is administering pensions, how it communicates with members and considers funding issues.
This board’s main role is to make sure GMPF complies with the LGPS Regulations and any other legislation relating to the governance and administration of pensions. It must make sure GMPF is being run effectively and efficiently and is complying with the requirements of the Pensions Regulator. The board is made up of five employer representatives and five member representatives.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has overall responsibility for the Local Government Pension Scheme in England and Wales. DLUHC regulates on investment pooling and funding matters, scheme participation and the overall cost of the LGPS. It can issue statutory guidance and consultations to make changes to the LGPS rules.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) regulates scheme administration and governance. It ensures that administering authorities are running LGPS funds properly. TPR makes sure that pension funds have key administration policies and internal controls in place, that funds are collecting contributions promptly and are producing documents for members on time.
The Pensions Ombudsmen investigates complaints about pension administration and is responsible for arbitrating between members and GMPF when an issue arises.
In 2014, the Government asked the LGPS funds in England and Wales to work together to create investment pools to achieve efficiency savings and invest more in infrastructure. GMPF teamed up with West Yorkshire Pension Fund and Merseyside Pension Fund to form the Northern LGPS.
The Northern LGPS invests in alternative asset classes such as private equity and infrastructure. The Northern LGPS Joint Committee is an oversight committee. It determines key strategic objectives and examines the day to day decisions made by a group of governing officers. Management panel members from the three Northern LGPS pension funds sit on this joint committee.