ICAS Pensions Panel
The ICAS Pensions Panel represents ICAS on matters impacting on pension provision and the pensions industry, in relation to:
- Public policy
- Law, regulation and governance
- Financial reporting
- Auditing and assurance
The Panel's key policy positions are as follows:
- The UK Government should consider setting up an independent pensions/ retirement savings commission as a standing advisory body which seeks to achieve long-term stability for the UK pension system and cross-party consensus.
- In the context of debates around constitutional reform, support for a unified UK savings market, including pension saving - and for financial services and pension law and regulation remaining a UK matter, as should pension protection arrangements.
- Support in principle for UK government plans to move forward with a legal and regulatory regime for collective defined contribution pension schemes, a model designed to enable genuine risk sharing among scheme members.
- Savers, employers, trustees and governance committee members should have access to information which enables them to assess whether defined contribution pension products are delivering good outcomes.
- Support for a legal and regulatory environment which encourages providers of pension decumulation products to bring new products to the market with confidence that these will be able to operate without change over the long-term.
- Master trusts must develop and maintain governance arrangements which are fit for purpose and support good member outcomes for auto-enrolled savers.
Matt Cooper (Chair)
Matt was appointed Chair of the ICAS Pensions Panel in December 2018. He is a director at PwC and leads PwC's employer covenant advisory team in Scotland. He is a CA (2005 qualified) and has been advising corporates and trustees with defined benefit pension schemes since 2007. His client base has included over 50 pension schemes with assets ranging from £4m to £20bn. Areas of advice he provides include ongoing scheme funding and contribution affordability, covenant monitoring, contingency planning, moral hazard risk, pension-driven restructuring and the assessment of potential detriment as a result of corporate transactions.
He has developed areas of specialism including Banking and Utility companies, having worked closely with clients in these sectors. In particular how the funding of pension schemes interacts with the other regulated industries as defined by FCA/PRA and Ofgem respectively. He is also part of PwC's team focusing on the adoption of integrated risk management, in particular how this can be demonstrated for small and medium-sized schemes.
Before specialising in pensions, Matt had broad experience including corporate audit, due diligence, and a 9-month secondment the strategic business services team at Clydesdale Bank.
Brian has broadly-based Chief Financial Officer/ Chief Operating Officer with over 25 years experience in multi-national consumer goods businesses, covering private equity, new start-ups, joint ventures, co-operatives, family business and public company situations.
He has comprehensive experience across all areas of corporate finance, accounting, strategy, planning, tax, treasury, pensions, HR, IT and legal. He also has very strong experience in Mergers & Acquisitions, private equity, debt financing and a restructuring track record, covering acquisitions, disposals, restructurings/ closures and turnaround situations.
He is skilled in multi-cultural stakeholder management in joint-venture structures and has highly developed skills in IFRS Accounting Standards, tax, treasury, pensions and IT. Brian also has operational experience with direct general management and commercial responsibility for overseas subsidiaries /regions, and as COO in turnaround situations.
He has lived and worked in multiple countries.
Chris Wilkie is an ICAS member, having been admitted in 2007.
Chris is an Audit Director for Johnston Carmichael, based at the firm’s Glasgow Office. Chris is also Head of Pensions Audit for the firm and is Audit RI for a portfolio of approximately 80 pension scheme clients across the UK. His portfolio includes: ongoing pension schemes with an active and continuing employer; schemes with an employer which has suffered an insolvency event and the pension scheme has entered a Pension Protection Fund (PPF) assessment period; and “irregular” schemes where The Pensions Regulator has removed the incumbent trustees and appointed an independent trustee.
Chris has worked in the pensions audit team at Johnston Carmichael since 2004. His experience includes auditing defined benefit, defined contribution and hybrid pension schemes covering schemes with up to 1 billion of assets and 10,000 members. He regularly meets with the PPF and other professional advisors to the PPF to discuss current issues impacting the pensions industry.
David is a Director and Owner of Spence & Partners, an actuarial and administration specialist, Dalriada Trustees, a leading firm of professional trustees and Veratta, a software and data specialist.
David specialises in advising charities and corporate bodies on pension strategy, funding negotiations and on managing pension change projects.
David is a regular contributor of articles and commentary in the press and is an acknowledged expert on multi-employer pension schemes. As well as being a member of the ICAS Pensions Committee, David is also a special adviser to the Charity Finance Group and on a Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Working Party. David has also worked with the DWP and Scottish Government in relation to the impact of multi-employer pension schemes on third sector organisations.
Bio to follow.
John is self-employed, trading as JRM Training and Professional Services. Until October 2015, John worked with Grant Thornton in Scotland for 37 years. During his period with Grant Thornton, John specialised in auditing and financial reporting, in relation to large unquoted private companies, pension schemes, solicitors and similar professional service organisations
Throughout his professional career, John has had a very close involvement with ICAS. He has been a member of the ICAS Business Policy Committee and served on AAT Council as an ICAS nominated member for 5 years. John also delivers training courses for BPP, as part of its partnership with ICAS. John is the immediate past Chair of the Pensions Panel.
Louisa is a longstanding partner within the Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP Pensions law team and has an extensive range of experience advising on pensions law issues for trustees and companies. She has significant experience in advising through the lifetime of occupational pension schemes in matters including risk reduction measures, including scheme restructuring, as well as the impact of commercial activity on schemes and negotiations with The Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund. Louisa has in-depth knowledge of EU and UK constitutional reform matters affecting schemes.
In addition, she advises regularly on the detail of European law as it affects pension provision – equalisation and equality law being particular specialisms
Bio to follow.
Philip is a Partner at RSM and has over 25 years’ experience of delivering audit services to some of the largest UK pension schemes, Philip also has extensive experience of leading the audits of a variety of investment organisations ranging from some of the largest global asset servicing entities to smaller alternative and hedge fund managers. In addition to audit, Philip also performs risk and governance reviews for his clients.
Philip has led the audit work for a range of internal control reporting assignments (AAF01/06 and SAS70 reports) including some of the earliest applications of these frameworks to pension administrators. He leads the provision of the RSM accreditation services to PASA (the Pension Administration Standards Association). In addition to client responsibilities as Audit Principal Philip heads the National Pensions technical team within the National Pensions Group.
Philip is a member of the PRAG SORP Working Party, previously chaired the PRAG Internal Audit Working Party and is a member of the ICAEW Master Trust Assurance Framework Working Party. He is a regular speaker at other industry forums.
Rachel is a senior manager based at PWC’s Glasgow Office. Rachel has ten years’ experience as a specialist pensions auditor: she also has extensive experience working in the wider financial services sector in the UK and US.
Her portfolio of pensions clients includes DB and hybrid schemes, those administered by third parties as well as those managed in-house, covering all sizes up to those with net assets in excess of £15 billion. She is also involved in managing non-audit assignments such as benefit reviews, risk register reviews and controls benchmarking exercises. Rachel is a member of ICAEW.
Ross is an Associate Partner at Aon.