Council pension pots set to merge - here's how to have your say on plans

Plans for a multi-billion pound merger of two of the North East’s pension funds have reached the next stage.

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 6:00 am
Picture by PA

Bosses at the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund agreed to push ahead to join up with the Northumberland County Council Pension Fund (NCCPF) in 2019.

And now a public consultation on the proposals has opened ahead of final permission being granted by the government.

South Tyneside Council (STC), which runs the Tyne and Wear fund, has already been providing admin services for the Northumberland fund for about two years.

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And following the success of the arrangement finance chiefs began transferring full control to STC in a move expected to cost the NCCPF £1 million, but slash running costs by about £500,000 a year.

Previous reports have put the value of Tyne and Wear fund assets at £8.8 billion, while the Northumberland fund holds £1.4 billion, although the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak could affect this.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “This is an exciting project which will build on the successful pension administration shared service that has been in place since January 2018.

“The launch of a consultation on [the merger] is the next stage in the process which is expected to be completed by June, although the effective date of merger should be backdated to April 1, 2020.

“The name of Tyne and Wear Pension Fund will be retained for the combined fund which will be based in the Town Hall in South Shields.

“Merging the two funds will lead to economies of scale and improved resources to meet increasingly stringent standards.

“This will also provide increased resilience to allow the newly merged fund to respond to any potential future changes and consolidation in the local government pension scheme.”

The only previous merger of local government pension funds was between the London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond in 2016, which was part of a wider amalgamation of services between the two councils.

A public consultation on the merger is now open on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s website.

Comments can be submitted until 11.45pm on Friday, May 1.

James Harrison