Lothian Pension Fund paid out £252m in last year

Lothian Pension Fund CEO Doug Heron

The £7.5 billion Lothian Pension Fund said on Friday it paid out £252.4 million to 31,500 pensioner members or their dependants in its 2019-2020 year.

The figure is revealed in the fund’s unaudited annual report and accounts.

Lothian Pension Fund administers the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Lothian is the second largest LGPS fund in Scotland, with around 90,000 people in the scheme.

It also manages the Scottish Homes Pension Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Lothian Pension Fund manages over 85% of assets in-house via internal equity, bond and other “real asset” portfolios like infrastructure, property and timberland investments.

Lothian Pension Fund CEO Doug Heron said: “During the year we paid £252.4m in pensions to 31,500 pensioner members, or their dependants.

“We welcomed 7,489 new members and handled 60,000 enquiries with a 96% member satisfaction score.” 

Heron warned of a “growing complexity in the LGPS (Local Government Pension Scheme) with the age discrimination remedy likely to significantly increase workload and present members with multiple benefit scenarios.”

Heron said: “We await an agreed remedy from HM Government but this is likely to see us collate additional data on individual circumstances, generate tens of thousands of calculations and supply parallel benefit schedules to members each year.

“Readying for this we’ve closely examined our resourcing levels and started the process to train additional administrators.” 

Heron said that despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, 2019-20 was a year of significant progress for Lothian Pension Fund.

“Against the difficult backdrop of COVID-19, there were many notable highlights for LPF in 2019-2020.

“We built a team to manage our directly held property assets internally, resulting in significant cost savings and increasing our level of control on how that strategy is executed.

“We also extended our investment partnerships with other LGPS funds and broadened the scope of the FCA authorisation for our investment firm, LPFI, establishing the potential for us to move beyond strategic advisory services to investment management. 

“On technology, we implemented an entirely paperless HR operating system, launched a new suite of websites, implemented member functionality to upload the documents we need, and delivered an industry-leading investment order management system to streamline how our investment strategies are implemented.

“There’s more to come here but I’m pleased with the momentum in our digital strategy. 

“But one of the things I’m most proud of in the last financial year is the resolve and fortitude of our team.

“They have continued to serve and support our members and employers during these difficult times whilst working remotely and facing their own personal challenges.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.