UK - Accountancy giant KPMG has dropped an independent trustee from one of its pension funds before court action to resolve a dispute with members.
It is believed that Capita IRG Trustees was close to resolving the long-running dispute between ex-KPMG employees and the accountant over whether the hybrid with-profits scheme, the KPMG Staff Pension Fund, offered a defined benefit pension.
The removal of Capita and its replacement with Aon Trust Corporation has bewildered and angered members.
One member aid: “I find it puzzling the trustee should be dropped having done a huge amount of research.
“It had voluminous correspondence from members, independent advice from lawyers, actuaries and investment consultants and was briefing counsel to approach the court.”
A letter to members from the new trustee asks them for “patience” in allowing it time to familiarise itself with the issues. This is expected to be some months.
A statement from Capita director Bryan Needham reads: “We can confirm that we are no longer acting as trustees of the KPMG Staff Pension Fund.”
“We have established an outstanding reputation in the corporate pension trustee field and so are clearly very disappointed with this decision.”
KPMG cited the reason for dropping Capita as being due to their wishes to align the same trustee firm across all their pension schemes.
They added that they are also committed to resolving their dispute with their ex-employees and were prepared to go to court to do this.
The dispute between members of the KPMG Staff Pension Fund and KPMG arose last year after members received statements revising their pensions downwards due to the poor performance of investments in the fund.
However, some members contest that their yearly pension statements showed the exact pension each would receive on retirement.
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