Report of the Director of Finance and Public Value (DF/22/77), attached
The Annual Report is attached as a separate document.
The Committee considered the Report of the Director of Finance and Public Value (DF/22/77) on the Pension Fund Annual Report, including the Statement of Accounts, which remained subject to approval by the County Council’s Audit Committee on 29 November 2022 and completion of the external audit. The audit findings report for the Pension Fund would be presented at a future meeting.
The Annual Report included · a foreward from the Chair · an introduction from the Director of Finance and Public Value outlining the major issues during the year. · details of the training that Members had received as required by the CIPFA Code of Practice on Knowledge and Skills. · details of Members’ attendance at both the Investment and Pension Fund Committee and the Pension Board. · a market update from the Fund’s Independent Advisor. · an annual report detailing the work of the Pension Board. · a section on investment pooling, setting out the costs and savings to date resulting from the pooling initiative. · a cost transparency section highlighting the underlying investment costs over and above those included in the statement of accounts. · the Fund’s key risks from the Risk Register and the mitigating controls. · details of the voting and engagement activity undertaken during the year in relation to the Fund’s responsible investment policies set out in the Investment Strategy Statement. · details of the carbon footprint of the Fund’s equity investments and the Fund’s approach to climate change. · a summary of the performance of the Fund’s external managers, including reports on the Brunel Pension Partnership managed portfolios and the funds still managed outside of the pool. · details of pension fund income and expenditure for the year against the budget forecast, and explanation of significant variances. · details of the employee and employer contributions paid during the year, split by employer. · Pensions Administration Performance – additional information on value for money and key performance data in relation to pensions administration. · the Statement of Accounts - this included adjustments identified since the formal publication of the Devon County Council unaudited statement of accounts 2021/22 on the Council’s website. · more detailed information about the operation of the Fund. · details of the Fund’s top equity and bond holdings and property and private markets funds, and · The Fund’s statutory statements.
In particular, the section on Stewardship and Engagement had been strengthened further, taking note of the feedback received from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) with regard to last year’s report. A copy of the Annual Report would be submitted to the FRC during October for assessment in order to retain the Fund’s status as a signatory to the UK Stewardship Code.
Members’ discussion point with the Director of Finance and Public Value included:
· expected national consultation, as part of the ‘Good Governance Project’, that might include the proposal that pension funds’ annual reports should be treated separately and not part of the host authority’s accounts;
· the view by members of the good governance arrangements relating to the Devon Fund and the support and expertise of the key officers involved as referenced in the Risk Register;
· the link between earnings and value overtime (in regard to Taiwan Semi conductor company, for example); and
· and any drafting errors should be reported (before final publication) for example Page 133 of the Annual report in the list of Admitted Bodies relating to ‘Torbay Economic Development Academy (Academy should be replaced with Company).
It was MOVED by Councillor P Bullivant, SECONDED by Councillor R Bloxham and
(a) that the position on the audit of the 2020/21 Pension Fund Statement of Accounts be noted;
(b) that the Pension Fund Annual Report and Accounts for 2021/22, subject to approval of the Statement of Accounts by the Devon County Council Audit Committee and completion of the external audit, be approved and adopted; and
(c) that the submission of the unaudited Pension Fund Annual Report and Accounts to the Financial Reporting Council for assessment against the requirements of the UK Stewardship Code be approved.