Lothian Pension Fund paid out £194m in last year

The £8 billion Lothian Pension Fund (LPF) said on Tuesday it paid out £194.3 million in pension benefits to 33,915 beneficiaries in 2020-21 compared to £185.8 million in 20219-20.

The fund announced on June 1 that David Vallery has been appointed its new chief executive officer.

Vallery will succeed Doug Heron who earlier this year announced his decision to leave Lothian Pension Fund to take up a similar role overseas.

Heron remained in place for a period of time to support a smooth transition.

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

It is a multi-employer scheme with more than 84,000 members and 90 employers and is the second largest LGPS fund in Scotland.

In the fund’s unaudited annual report, Heron said: “Our vision and purpose are to deliver a valued retirement savings product for our members; all of whom serve or have served the public.

“In our active membership we have 1,011 cleaners, 412 support workers, 1,244 early years practitioners, 447 cooks, 253 customer service representatives and 262 facilities managers and assistants.

“We’re incredibly proud of our members’ work and contribution to their communities and we’re working hard to provide them with a secure retirement.

“During the year we paid £194.3m (19/20: £185.8m) in pension benefits to 33,915 beneficiaries of the fund, responded to 33,938 enquiries, welcomed 3,910 new members and helped 1,519 members move into retirement …

“COVID-19 brought many challenges for our members, employers and tenants and we’ve done everything we can to help and support them through these difficult times.

“As a commercial property portfolio owner, we’ve faced many new and challenging headwinds to safeguard the prospects of the portfolio beyond the current crisis.

“We’ve been working hard to support our tenants who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and manage the response to COVID-19 in our commercial property.

“We’re incredibly proud that a number of our portfolio companies have been at the forefront of developing the COVID-19 vaccine, and with the vaccine roll out well underway, it’s possible to start looking forward to what 2021 and beyond will bring.

“In February of this year, we added the Titan warehouse, one of the largest modern industrial buildings in Scotland, to our asset portfolio.

“Titan is let to the Scottish Ministers (NHS) until 2031 and plays a crucial role in the distribution of PPE across the UK.”

Heron added: “Benefits in Lothian Pension Fund are protected by a statutory guarantee and members can be confident their pensions will be paid when they fall due.

“Every three years we’re required to appoint an independent actuary to undertake a valuation.

“The most recent valuation was conducted with a reference date of 31 March 2020.

“The total valuation level for LPF was 106%.

“Put simply, this is a measurement of the sufficiency of the assets the fund holds today to meet the benefits members have earned and expect to receive in the future.

“A valuation above 100% is a positive result, but benefit obligations increase every day and the fund is required to generate positive asset returns and collect contributions to ensure the funding level remains sufficient.”