Without good quality data the industry cannot seek to improve accuracy and efficiency in any area of work carried out, be it a retirement settlement or a triennial actuarial valuation.

Data is, and always has been, the foundation that the industry is built on; if this is suspect then how can we expect it to hold up to the test of time?

We don’t think that you should settle for anything less than perfect. Veratta can help with all aspects of record keeping, from system selection to data audit and rectification.

Embrace your data and give us a call. Veratta can guide you.

Data and benefit audit

In June 2010 the Pensions Regulator (“tPR”) issued guidance on Record Keeping.

Some of the key points of this guidance were:

  • Poor record-keeping may lead to significant additional costs in a number of areas such as administration, error correction, claims from members, buy-outs, wind-ups and, potentially, may necessitate the making of more conservative actuarial assumptions. Where a scheme’s poor record keeping becomes known, it can cause reputational damage
  • To address these issues, this guidance details tPR’s approach to the testing and measurement of member record data, particularly in relation to:
    • common data – applicable to all schemes
    • conditional data – dependent on scheme type, structure and system design
    • numerical data – to aid understanding of the results
  • The guidance is aimed at trustees, providers and administrators, who as well as checking that data exists, need to ensure that their data is accurate. It sets out a proposed framework for data checking
  • The principles of good record-keeping apply to all work-based schemes and tPR have consulted with the Financial Services Authority (succeeded by the the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority on 1 April 2013) in preparing this guidance as it applies to contract-based schemes
  • This guidance sets out good practice in helping to assess risks associated with member record-keeping. It describes an approach for measuring the presence of member data items which are important in the administration of a pension scheme

In April 2013 tPR published a scheme record keeping report which showed that there is still work to do when it comes to addressing the issue of data quality.

Jump forward to March 2014 and tPR has opened seven case investigations into scheme record-keeping following its thematic review.

This highlights that tPR is serious about data quality. You can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Data is certainly here to stay.

Veratta can undertake data audits (common and conditional) and benefit audits.

These can be bespoke tailored solutions to suit your needs and budget as well as offering guidance on adapting current administration platforms.

Data migration

In this technological age it seems a no brainer that data should be held electronically.

It is only in recent years with the Pensions Regulator (“tPR”) guidance on record keeping that data quality has been placed onto the Trustees' agenda.

Maybe you don’t have the skill sets in house to deal with data migrations, or perhaps you don’t have the volume of staff to cope.

Veratta can guide you.

Our members of staff have significant experience in pension scheme database management and are familiar with all major pension administration platforms used throughout the UK and Ireland.

We have established processes that ensure data integrity is maintained and data security is paramount throughout our business.

We can undertake data migrations on your behalf or provide support to your members of staff to ensure that they are undertaking data migrations in a controlled, secure and robust way.

GMP reconciliation

GMP is the minimum level of pension a scheme is required to pay to members who were contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme prior to 6 April 1997.

GMP reconciliation is the comparison of membership and GMP figures between administrator and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) records. If GMP is recorded inaccurately, this means that pension payments can be incorrect. The process is complex and covers both under and over payments.

The abolition of contracting out for defined benefit schemes in 2016 is likely to require all schemes to reconcile their GMP liabilities.

The GMP reconciliation process is complex and time consuming. These projects can typically take anything up to two years to complete. HMRC are likely to be inundated with requests so now is the time to act.

Acting now will ensure that;

  • your scheme’s data complies with the Pension Regulator’s data checking guidance
  • members’ benefits are accurate
  • you can benefit from increased administrative efficiency

Veratta can guide you as well as undertaking these exercises on behalf of trustees.

System selection

The procurement of a new administration platform is something that shouldn't be taken lightly. With data protection, information security and evaluating how future proof the system is there is a lot to take on board.

Veratta can assist you on all matters relating to system selection.