- PensionsFirst and ITM join forces to quantify data risk
- PensionsFirst toasts Heineken win
- Hugo James appointed CEO as PensionsFirst Capital drives new approach to the pensions de-risking market
- Value of pension schemes using PFaroe tops £80bn with addition of RSA
- PensionsFirst licenses its risk management platform PFaroe to J.P. Morgan Asset Management
- New PFaroe Buyout Module helps pension schemes identify de-risking opportunities
- FS Tech award PFaroe "Risk Management Software of the Year" for the second consecutive year
- Punter Southall and PensionsFirst announce ground-breaking alliance
- National Grid will now be powered by PensionsFirst
- PensionsFirst wins another new client with Trinity Mirror plc adopting PFaroe
- David Norgrove appointed Chairman as PensionsFirst looks to the future
- Accounting changes could increase profits for risk-aware FTSE 100 companies
- Research reveals that further increases in inflation may be beneficial
- Invensys Pension Scheme signs up to PFaroe
- FTSE 100 schemes fail to grasp the opportunity to de-risk
- PensionsFirst Adds Senior Expertise
- PFaroe wins ‘Risk Management Software of the Year’ title
- Three new actuaries join the team at PensionsFirst
- PensionsFirst Launches North American Division and Hires CEO for the Region
- Babcock adopts PensionsFirst’s PFaroe to manage a trigger-based pension de-risking strategy
- Chris Lilingston-Price joins PensionsFirst
- Pension risk makes FTSE-100 companies “as risky as hedge funds”
- PensionsFirst's PFaroe wins ‘Risk Management Product of the Year' Award
- PensionsFirst founders star in Dell's ‘Take your own path' advertising campaign
- Johanna Garner and Simon Robinson join PensionsFirst
- “The best of the best” - PensionsFirst Analytics wins two hotly contested industry awards
- State Street and PensionsFirst Analytics Form Strategic Alliance
- PensionsFirst Analytics continues to expand with three senior IT appointments
- PensionsFirst Analytics creates sales team with FIVE key appointments
08 Feb 2013
Legal & General Investment Management to enhance its client service proposition with PFaroe.
Legal & General Investment Management to enhance its client service proposition with new online analytics and monitoring platform for smaller pension schemes.
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) is set to enhance its client service proposition with the launch of an online analytics and monitoring platform later in the year. The analytics have been designed specifically for use by governance-constrained pension schemes in conjunction with their investment advisers.
Mark Wybrow, Head of UK Core Client Team, said "As a growing number of smaller pension schemes look to implement scheme-specific investment strategies, the demand for more sophisticated analytics and decision-making tools is growing".
The design, adoption and execution of increasingly bespoke strategies requires more frequent reporting, improved risk analysis, the ability to assess a variety of investment options and the capability to monitor the effectiveness of chosen strategies on a regular basis.
To bridge this gap and best serve the needs of clients and their consultants, LGIM and PensionsFirst have entered into an agreement to create and distribute a bespoke online analytics and monitoring platform designed specifically to meet the increasingly sophisticated needs of smaller pension schemes. The analytics platform will allow governance-constrained schemes, in conjunction with their investment advisers, to address many of the issues they face.
LGIM's expertise and understanding of the needs of pension schemes combined with PensionsFirst's position as the market-leading provider of defined benefit (DB) risk analytics and reporting underpins the creation of a powerful solution tailored to the needs of DB schemes.
LGIM aims to begin a pilot of the analytics platform with pension schemes and their investment advisers in the first quarter of this year.
18 Mar 2013
PensionsFirst recognised as one of the top 50 financial technology companies in Europe
PensionsFirst listed on the inaugural FinTech 50 Watchlist, a guide to game-changing financial services technologies across Europe.
London, 15th March 2013 PensionsFirst has been placed on the 2013 FinTech50 Watchlist, a shortlist of fifty companies in Europe that are redefining financial services through technology. The list, a collaborative project by The CEO Agenda, ICON Corporate Finance, Hotwire, Silicon Valley Bank and Fox Williams, is the first of an annual exercise to track one of the fastest moving sectors in technology.
The inaugural FinTech 50 Watchlist is based on the expertise of the Watchlist Panel, ten industry leaders from across the financial services and technology industry. The panel convened at the end of 2012 to debate and select the top companies that demonstrate the potential to become a game-changer in financial technology or the competitive staying power to continue being one.
"We are delighted to be included on the inaugural FinTech 50 list alongside other distinguished names that are all, in their own way, redefining the way that the financial services industry operates," says Ben Reid, President of PensionsFirst Analytics. "In the pensions sector, technology has the potential to completely revolutionise the way that pension risk is measured and managed, and the FinTech50 inclusion is recognition of the important role that PensionsFirst - and our unique risk management platform PFaroe - is playing in the industry's transformation."
21 Mar 2013
Willis pension scheme signs up to PFaroe in order to grasp de-risking opportunities
PensionsFirst adds to growing client base with Willis Pension Trustees Ltd adopting its PFaroe platform to efficiently measure and manage its defined benefit pension risk.
Willis, the global risk adviser and insurance broker, has selected PensionsFirst as its technology partner to provide more detailed analytics on its pension scheme, which has liabilities of £1.3 billion. PFaroe®, PensionsFirst's award-winning risk management platform, will enable Willis Pensions Trustees to proactively monitor and manage its pension scheme in a more timely and efficient manner - enabling the scheme to seize windows of opportunities to de-risk.
Richard Bostock, Pensions Director at Willis Group, comments; "PFaroe will give us the toolkit necessary for implementing an effective trigger-based de-risking strategy, which will allow us to capitalise on favourable market opportunities far more quickly than ever before. PFaroe will give us immediate and up to date information allowing the trustees to act on market triggers and improve our funding levels in the most efficient way possible."
Benjamin Reid, President of PensionsFirst Analytics, comments: "We are delighted that Willis has partnered with PensionsFirst in order to drive its dynamic de-risking program. Willis went through a rigorous decision-making procedure and challenged us at every turn, demonstrating their deep understanding of the issues, their knowledge of all products in the market, and indeed their own asset management capability".
PFaroe allows all pension scheme stakeholders to have daily access to their entire scheme information online. This changes the nature of the debate. Discussions focus on more relevant topics and it becomes easier for schemes to be managed at the highest levels of governance. All advice can be modelled and the effects of any action mapped out. This often avoids mistakes that may be very costly and may, in some cases, lose schemes millions of pounds.
PensionsFirst Analytics (PFA) is a financial technology business providing intuitive, user-friendly risk analytics and business intelligence solutions. Launched by an experienced team in November 2009, its core product PFaroe®, was initially targeted to DB pension schemes, where it is now the market leader in the UK, with a growing foothold in the US. Over 60 schemes, with more than £80 billion of liabilities, now use PFaroe in the UK (circa 8% by market volume). PFaroe and associated products are also making important in-roads into a growing number of other financial verticals, including DC pensions and insurance. For more information please go to www.pensionsfirst.com
Press contact: Tel: (0)20 7632 9100 or email: email@example.com
27 Feb 2012
Punter Southall and PensionsFirst announce ground-breaking alliance
Punter Southall has become the first major UK pensions consultancy to adopt PFaroe®, PensionsFirst's award winning pension liability and risk management software, in the core operations of its actuarial and benefit consulting business.
In what promises to be a game changing move, Punter Southall will demystify the actuarial process by offering its clients more frequent, transparent and accessible valuations. The company believes the user-friendly analytics and up-to-the-minute information will foster greater collaboration between employers and trustees to create a sharper focus and insight into managing pension liabilities.
PFaroe has already been adopted by some of the UK's largest pension schemes, including National Grid, Babcock, Daily Mail & General Trust, Invensys and Trinity Mirror. This agreement will extend access to PFaroe to a wider range of schemes and represents a ground-breaking marriage of technological infrastructure and bespoke actuarial advice. PFaroe will be offered to all Punter Southall's existing and prospective clients across its 11 offices throughout the UK.
Punter Southall Chief Executive John Batting said he believed this may be a tipping point in the institutional pensions industry when the role of actuary shifts from that of gatekeeper to guide.
"Analytics and up-to-date information have always played a significant role in the successful management of DB pension plans but it is now more important than ever in a complex and challenging economic environment."
"Traditionally, valuations have their own methods and mystique. What this technology does is to present a clear and transparent picture for everyone to see".
"We know this will be a positive cost-benefit for our clients and believe it's a great fit for our consulting business. PFaroe is intuitive, in-depth and, judging by the research we've carried out, in demand. Our firm belief is that the best outcomes are achieved by employers and trustees working closely together, and using PFaroe to give both parties access to the same information will greatly enhance that cooperation".
PensionsFirst Chairman David Norgrove said: "I'm delighted that Punter Southall is adopting PFaroe. Most schemes have information that is much too limited and out of date for the scale of the risks being managed, as I know from chairing a scheme and my time at the Pensions Regulator. The reality is that medium to large schemes run similar risks and face similar challenges to financial services businesses so they need the same frequent, deep and rigorous management information.
PFaroe achieves this for corporate sponsors, scheme trustees and their actuarial advisers, giving them access to critical data and allowing them to analyse a range of risk and liability scenarios. PFaroe's market-leading capability has been recognised in a string of industry awards. By adopting its powerful analytics, Punter Southall will be opening up for its clients the opportunity for a more useful, complete and accurate understanding of their schemes than they have ever had before."
This latest move comes after a busy start to 2012 for the Punter Southall Group, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year. Earlier this month, it announced it had taken full ownership of a 50:50 joint venture of boutique fund manager PSigma Asset Management, run by Bill Mott and Ian Chimes. Its institutional investment advisor, P-Solve, also expanded in the US after taking over an actuarial practice in Massachusetts.
29 Mar 2012
New PFaroe Buyout Module helps pension schemes identify de-risking opportunities
PensionsFirst has added a new Buyout Module to PFaroe, its award winning business intelligence platform. The Buyout Module provides pension schemes with indicative pricing from a panel of insurers to help them identify appropriate times to approach the insurance market.
PensionsFirst announces it has added a new module to PFaroe. The Buyout Module provides pension schemes with indicative buyout and buy-in pricing from a range of insures to help them identify favourable market conditions. Previously it has been a time consuming and expensive process for pension schemes to gather pricing information from insurers, with consultant's buyout bases often proving inadequate.
This module allows pension schemes to monitor the insurance market each month by providing creditable indicative pricing directly from insurers, enabling them to see the range of prices in the market. To date the buyout market has been plagued with pension schemes missing opportunities to de-risk or embarking on expensive buyout projects when pricing levels are unattractive. The Buyout Module addresses these issues.
Many PFaroe clients have already signed-up for the additional Buyout Module. "Having regular indicative pricing from buy-in and buyout insurers at our fingertips is essential. This will help us to monitor the buyout market and choose the optimal timing for our scheme to explore the ultimate form of pension de-risking."
Fiona Page, CEO PensionsFirst Analytics comments "PFaroe continues to evolve to meet the needs of our clients. The new Buyout Module will help schemes to monitor the market and choose the right time to engage with insurance companies without incurring significant costs in the process."
29 Mar 2012
FS Tech award PFaroe "Risk Management Software of the Year" for the second consecutive year
PensionsFirst's business intelligence platform PFaroe has won the FS Tech (Financial Sector Technology) award for "Risk Management Software of the Year 2012", a title that it also won in 2011.
London, 29th March 2012 PensionsFirst has again been recognised as the leading provider of risk management software with PFaroe winning the "Risk Management Software of the Year" award at the prestigious FS Tech Awards held at the London Lancaster Hotel, on 28th March 2012.
The primary judging criteria of the FS Tech Awards is "the delivery of definable and significant business benefits, innovation, and originality of application." The Risk Management Software award "recognises success in the development, implementation and running of risk management software for the financial sector." This was a hotly-contested award category with a total of nine software providers being shortlisted including Credit Suisse Securities Europe, ITRS Group, SunGard and Wolters Kluwer Financial Services.
Fiona Page, CEO PensionsFirst Analytics comments "This is major honour from the financial services industry and the whole team at PensionsFirst is delighted that PFaroe has, once again, been recognised as a thought-leading and innovative risk management platform."
27 Jun 2012
PensionsFirst licenses its risk management platform PFaroe to J.P. Morgan Asset Management
New York - PensionsFirst announces that J.P. Morgan Asset Management Columbus Fixed Income has licensed PFaroe, PensionsFirst's award winning risk management platform, gaining advanced analytics and reporting capabilities on pension plan assets, liabilities and risk.
PFaroe is a web-based platform that provides detailed and regular pension information encompassing liabilities, assets and risk. PFaroe's detailed cashflow modelling analytics are a fundamental requirement of designing a comprehensive solution for the increasing number of pension plans moving towards an LDI strategy. Initially launched in the UK, PFaroe has already been adopted by many of the UK's largest pension plans, including Aga Rangemaster Group, Babcock International, Daily Mail & General Trust, HSBC, Invensys, National Grid and Trinity Mirror.
"As an investment manager of significant LDI and pension assets, our asset/liability service continues to be a core activity in delivering customized solutions to our clients, and we are pleased to have added this capability" said Gary J. Madich, CFA and Global CIO - Columbus Fixed Income.
Owais Rana, Head of LDI Solutions for Columbus Fixed Income comments "PFaroe's modeling engine, its user-friendly interface and its ability to present results simply but effectively enables us to gain efficiencies and scale for our LDI Solutions business".
Fiona Page, CEO, PensionsFirst Analytics adds "we are delighted that J.P. Morgan, one of the world's leading financial institutions, has chosen PFaroe to enhance its offering to the corporate pension market".
20 Jul 2012
Value of pension schemes using PFaroe tops £80bn with addition of RSA
London - PensionsFirst announces another new client with RSA signing up to use the PFaroe platform to help them measure and manage their defined benefit pension plans
RSA, the leading global insurer, has selectedPensionsFirst's PFaroe platform to help improve management and oversight of its two largest UK pension schemes.
PFaroe is a web-based platform that provides pension scheme sponsors, trustees and their advisors with detailed and regular scheme information encompassing liabilities, assets and risk.
PFaroe offers a broad suite of analytics that support pension schemes and sponsors across a spectrum of requirements - from those who simply want better on-going reporting, through to some of the UK's largest financial institutions to support the management of their regulatory capital requirements.
Since its launch at the end of 2009, PFaroe has now been adopted by more than 30 pension plans representing over £80bn of pension liabilities.
Sankar Mahalingham, Head of Group Pensions at RSA, said "RSA has chosen to use technology to drive much greater operational efficiency into the management and reporting of our DB plans. Given our business, RSA is a very sophisticated risk manager and PFaroe will provide us with the analytical tools to allow us to better manage our defined benefit risk exposures"
Benjamin Reid, President, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "We are extremely pleased that RSA have chosen PensionsFirst as their pension analytics provider. RSA have demonstrated a robust approach to risk management with significant de-risking transactions and PFaroe represents an evolution in the governance and control of their defined benefit obligations".
01 Aug 2012
PensionsFirst toasts Heineken win
PensionsFirst announce another new client win with
HEINEKEN's UK operating business signing up to use the PFaroe risk
management platform to help them measure and manage their defined
benefit pension plan risk.
HEINEKEN, the international beer and cider business, has selected PensionsFirst as its technology partner to provide advanced analytics on its pension plan. PensionsFirst's award-winning risk management platform, PFaroe®, will empower HEINEKEN to manage its £2.5bn of UK pension obligations in a more timely, accurate and efficient manner. HEINEKEN will use the technology to drive more effective risk management of its assets and liabilities, and to improve the quality of management reporting.
Carol Young, Pensions Manager at HEINEKEN comments "PFaroe's unique capabilities enable us to achieve our goals of making informed de-risking decisions at the right time with confidence. PFaroe provides us with a greater understanding of the nature of risks within our pension plan, and helps us take advantage of market opportunities to benefit our plan and our members."
Benjamin Reid, President, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "We are pleased to announce HEINEKEN as the latest client to adopt PFaroe. Heineken share our vision that access to quality analytics is fundamental in achieving asset and liability management objectives, particularly in these uncertain and volatile times."
31 Jul 2012
Hugo James appointed CEO as PensionsFirst Capital drives new approach to the pensions de-risking market
Ex-Credit Suisse Fixed Income MD, Hugo James, joins PensionsFirst Capital as CEO to lead the company's drive to offer alternative "end-game" solutions for defined benefit pension schemes
London - PensionsFirst Capital today announced the appointment of Hugo James to lead the company's continuing push to establish market leadership in delivering cost effective insurance-based risk transfer solutions and innovative investment opportunities to defined benefit (DB) pension schemes. James - who previously was a Managing Director in Fixed Income at Credit Suisse and has more than 15 years of corporate advisory, capital markets and insurance experience - will lead the PensionsFirst Capital team in sourcing, structuring and delivering solutions to the corporate sponsors of major DB liabilities of £500m and above.
PensionsFirst Capital, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of PensionsFirst Group, offers solutions to major UK companies looking towards the "end game" in the management of their DB pension schemes, by partially or wholly transferring their pension scheme liabilities to PensionsFirst Capital's pioneering insurance companyLong Acre Life. Long Acre Life was launched by Ex-Chair of The Pensions Regulator, David Norgrove, in December 2011.
"Defined benefit pension funds have, in recent years, both destroyed tens of billions of pounds of shareholder value and caused significant concerns for corporates and scheme members alike," says James. "While many schemes have started down a road of de-risking, funding volatility shows that shareholders and members are still exposed to substantial risks. While insurance solutions offer the most complete solution to this problem, to date they have been unattractive to corporate sponsors of the larger schemes from a value and transparency perspective."
James adds: "At PensionsFirst Capital we believe that a fundamentally different approach is needed, and are therefore focusing on corporate finance driven solutions that enable corporate sponsors to fully understand the risk and reward involved in the transaction. Furthermore, this transparency will help demonstrate shareholder value to their investors and provide security to scheme members."
James was previously Managing Director of Fixed Income at Credit Suisse where he was responsible for the company's UK actuarial risk business, and notably led the award-winning £1.7 billion ITV pension scheme longevity hedge in 2011 - the third largest of its kind to be conducted in the UK. Prior to this, he was Sales Director of the Bulk Annuities team at Legal & General, where he took responsibility for all structuring and sales of bulk annuities. While there, he led the development of the company's longevity insurance and collaterised buy-in offerings while jointly developing its combined investment and insurance de-risking propositions.
"We are absolutely delighted that Hugo, who is highly-respected within the pensions industry, has decided to join PensionsFirst Capital as our new CEO," adds Timothy Lyons, CEO of PensionsFirst Group. "His unrivalled knowledge of the de-risking industry and his extensive experience of structuring and delivering innovative bulk annuity and longevity solutions that bring real value to clients will be important to our company as we continue to offer innovative insurance-based products to help pension scheme sponsors and trustees reduce their risk exposure."
21 Sep 2012
PensionsFirst and ITM join forces to quantify data risk
PensionsFirst announces another new partner with ITM signing up to use PFaroe to enhance its data audit offering to UK Pension Plans
ITM,the pension data specialist, is partnering with PensionsFirst to provide an enhanced data audit service to its clients. Under this arrangement, ITM will access risk management platform, PFaroe, to assess the potential liability impact of data and benefit errors discovered during its data risk audits.
PFaroe is a web-based platform that provides pension scheme sponsors, trustees and their advisors with detailed and regular scheme information encompassing liabilities, assets and risk. Since its launch at the end of 2009, PFaroe has now been adopted by more than 30 pension plans representing over £80bn of pension liabilities. Earlier this year, Punter Southall became the first actuarial firm to adopt PFaroe as part of its core operations.
Darran Blount Head of Consulting at ITM, said "We have seen increasing demand from our clients to quantify the potential financial impact of data risk, particularly in preparation for liability reduction projects. This new initiative allows us to focus our client's attention on those data risks that are critical to the management and financial health of defined benefit pension schemes. ITM and PensionsFirst are both at the forefront of innovations in technology for the pension industry, so this represents an exciting opportunity".
Benjamin Reid, President, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "We are extremely pleased that ITM have chosen to partner with PensionsFirst on this exciting initiative. As more pension schemes consider end-game solutions, membership data risk has become a central concern for Trustees and Sponsors. The relationship with ITM is a clear demonstration that PFaroe has become a broadly recognised standard in the pensions industry."
02 Jun 2011
Invensys Pension Scheme becomes the latest pension scheme to adopt PensionsFirst’s PFaroe
Invensys Pension Scheme has chosen PensionsFirst as its pension technology partner, using the award-winning business intelligence platform PFaroe, to further enhance the management of its assets, liabilities, capital markets and actuarial risks
PensionsFirst has announced a new client win with Invensys Pension Scheme (IPS) adopting their business intelligence platform PFaroe to help manage its assets and pension obligations. IPS will use the technology to drive more effective risk management of its assets and liabilities, which at the last year-end had pension liabilities valuing over £4bn.
"To successfully manage a mature pension scheme in today's challenging environment, there is a critical need for improved liability data understanding, analytical precision and risk measurement and monitoring," says Robin Claessens, CEO of the Invensys Pension Scheme. "PensionsFirst's unique system, PFaroe, therefore represents a step-change for the industry and will allow IPS to further bring risk considerations to the centre of the investment process."
Benjamin Reid, CEO, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "We are pleased to welcome Invensys Pension Scheme on board as the latest client to adopt our technology. With markets already proving volatile this year, it is promising to see an increasing number of pension schemes - such as IPS - putting in place the technological infrastructure to further enhance the management of their scheme assets and liabilities."
13 May 2011
FTSE 100 schemes fail to grasp the opportunity to de-risk
The latest PF Risk Report shows that the aggregate funding deficit of the FTSE 100 pension schemes continues to decline - yet schemes have done little to improve their risk position
Despite significant improvements in the deficit numbers over the previous eight months, the majority of pension schemes have failed to seize the opportunity to de-risk according to PensionsFirst, the pension industry's leading provider of risk analytics and reporting software.
The latest PF Risk Report - the company's monthly analytical report on UK DB pension risk for FTSE 100 companies - highlights that over the past eight months assets held by FTSE 100 DB schemes have increased by £29 billion while liabilities have fallen by £25 billion, resulting in a net reduction in the proxy funding deficit of £54 billion. The deficit now stands at £80 billion.
However, far from good news, this could represent another lost opportunity to de-risk. The vast majority of schemes have not taken the opportunity to "lock in" improvements in funding levels by removing risk - meaning that their aggregate risk position has remained relatively constant. Indeed, the report highlights that the Value-at-Risk (VaR) for the FTSE 100 has fallen very little (from £30.54 billion to £30.19 billion) since August 2010 - a relatively small amount in comparison to deficit improvements.
"The improvement in funding levels over the previous eight months has been a huge benefit to pension schemes," says PensionsFirst Analytics CEO, Benjamin Reid. "To put this figure in perspective, the improvement in the deficit outweighs the total dividends paid out by the FTSE 100 over the same period. Many pension schemes were in a similarly favourable funding position back in 2008 but failed to take the opportunity of reducing risk and subsequently slipped back into deficit when the financial crisis hit. It is worrying to think that many are leaving themselves open to this happening again."
The issue is made more pressing by the fact that many FTSE 100 schemes are beginning or are currently working on the triennial process of valuing their schemes' assets and liabilities. Given that scheme contribution requirements are pegged to the scheme's deficit figure and are only agreed once the valuation has been completed - which can often take a year or more - companies beginning their valuations are exposed to potentially serious risk. Indeed, over the year that it takes most companies to sign off their valuation, the PF Risk Report shows that the VaR figure stands at over £100 billion*. A widening in the deficit of such a magnitude would result in FTSE 100 companies having to make approximately £10 billion of increased cash contributions into their schemes each year with major P&L implications.
"Despite April 2011 looking like a fortuitous date for a triennial valuation, there is a chance that firms may see deficits more than double over the next 12 months if de-risking takes a back seat while trustees and corporates go through the onerous valuation process," adds Andrew Morris, Assistant Vice President of Client Solutions at PensionsFirst. "Given that deficit swings over that period could have economic implications for schemes for the following three years, it is imperative that they do not take their eye off the ball."
*at a 1-in-20 value-at-risk confidence level
15 Apr 2011
PensionsFirst Adds Senior Expertise to Address Growing Risk Management Needs of North American Pension Market London
Veteran Aon Hewitt exec Robert Wilen joins PensionsFirst as Principal to deliver enhanced pension risk management services to public and private sector plans
PensionsFirst, a leading solution provider to the global defined benefit industry, today announced the appointment of Robert Wilen as Principal. Wilen will help expand PensionsFirst's North American business which provides innovative technology and financial solutions to address the growing crisis of underfunded public and private sector pensions. Drawing on two decades of experience in retirement services consulting, Wilen will focus on business development, marketing and client relationship management.
01 Apr 2011
PFaroe adds ‘Risk Management Software of the Year’ title to growing list of accolades
PensionsFirst's unique business intelligence platform, PFaroe, is acclaimed as "Risk Management Software of the Year" at the Financial Sector Technology Awards in London
PensionsFirst has been recognised as the financial sector's leading provider of risk management software - with PFaroe winning the "Risk Management Software of the Year" award at the prestigious Financial Sector Technology (FST) Awards, held at London's Lancaster Hotel. PFaroe was also highly commended in the "Most Innovative Data Intelligence Product of the Year" category.
Now in their seventh year, The FST Awards recognise excellence and innovation in the field of information technology within the UK and EMEA financial services sectors. PensionsFirst beat a host of providers - including SunGard, Vichara Technologies and ITRS Group Plc - to take the hotly-contested "Risk Management Software of the Year" award.
Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics, says, "The PensionsFirst team are extremely pleased to have received such a prestigious award for PFaroe, reflecting our commitment and ability to improve the way the industry measures and manages funding and risk. It is a huge endorsement of our technological capabilities, and of our ability to develop, implement and run market-leading risk management software for the financial sector."
This is the fourth award that PensionsFirst has won over the past twelve months - coming on the back of success achieved at the Risk Management Professional Awards and European Pensions Awards last year.
14 Jun 2011
Research reveals that further increases in inflation may actually be beneficial to FTSE 100 pension schemes
PensionsFirst research shows that an increase in inflation of 1.4% above current market levels would have a net positive impact on the funding positions of the pension schemes of the FTSE 100
According to new research by technology provider PensionsFirst, further increases in inflation may actually prove beneficial to FTSE 100 pension schemes. The research suggests that increases in inflation are costly for FTSE 100 schemes only up to a level of, on average, 1.4% above the current market rate. Inflation increases beyond this level - the so-called "tipping point" - should result in improved funding levels, as caps on pension increases to members come into play.
Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures released today show the Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation figure will hold at 4.5%, but predict it will rise to 5.0% later in the year.. "Since the early 1990s inflation levels have remained below the cap levels associated with most pensions and increases in liabilities as a result of higher inflation have not been matched by increases in overall asset values," says Matthew Furniss, an Assistant Vice President at PensionsFirst. "Inflation increases to date have therefore worsened funding positions for the FTSE 100. However, given the ONS inflation figures released today, we are not far away from the point at which inflation increases should start to reduce rather than increase deficits."
Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics adds: "Individual schemes' tipping points will differ depending upon the specific nature of both the scheme's benefit structure and its asset portfolio. At a time when inflation is rising and becoming more uncertain, pension schemes can benefit from understanding their own individual risks from inflation in both the short term and longer term, and across liabilities and assets. Without this insight into scheme's sensitivity to inflation it is difficult to make informed analysis as to the right way forward for investment strategies and de-risking activities."
04 Feb 2011
Three new actuaries join the team at PensionsFirst
PensionsFirst continues to expand with the addition of three new actuaries.
PensionsFirst announces the appointments of three new actuaries - Matthew Furniss who joins from Punter Southall, Robert Heathcoat, also from Punter Southall and Chris Hoffman who was previously at the Pension Protection Fund. All join as Assistant Vice Presidents.
Matthew is an Assistant Vice President in the Client Solutions Group. He is a qualified actuary with over ten years industry experience and has recently joined PensionsFirst from Punter Southall where he was Chairman of their buyout and longevity solutions technical committee.
Matthew has wide-ranging experience in the pensions field, including providing all forms of trustee and corporate pensions advice and speaking and providing media comment as an industry expert. His particular area of expertise is insurance solutions where he has been responsible for keeping up-to-date with market products and pricing and has developed cashflow models to help evaluate these.
Robert is an Assistant Vice President in the Professional Services team. He previously spent seven years at Punter Southall as a consultant where he was responsible for developing Punter Southall's actuarial tools for both internal and external use as well as carrying out client work such as valuations, reporting, cash equivalent transfers, actuarial factors and bulk transfers.
Chris is also an Assistant Vice President in the Professional Services team. Prior to joining PensionsFirst, Chris worked for the Pension Protection Fund where he was heavily involved in valuation coding, major in-house IT projects and calculations around the PPF levy.
Wayne Chen, Partner, Professional Services comments "Due to our rapid growth, PensionsFirst has an on-going recruitment drive to find talented actuaries who can help us to further develop our risk management technology. We are delighted to have attracted actuaries of the calibre of Matthew, Robert and Chris."
01 Feb 2011
Babcock adopts PensionsFirst’s PFaroe to manage a trigger-based pension de-risking strategy
Babcock International Group PLC, the leading engineering support services company has become the latest UK pension sponsor to adopt PFaroe, PensionsFirst's award-winning risk management platform.
PensionsFirst has announced a new client win with Babcock International Group PLC. The FTSE-250 company is adopting PensionsFirst's risk management platform PFaroe, to provide Babcock and the trustees with timely, detailed and accurate information for its DB pension's risk. Babcock, whose aggregate pension liabilities exceed £2.8bn will use PFaroe's analytics to provide it with up to date information on its schemes as part of its liability management and as a core part of a trigger-based investment strategy for its investment sub-committee.
"The investment strategy for a number of our schemes involves changes to asset allocations triggered by reaching specific funding levels," says Andrew Birkett, Group Pensions Manager at Babcock. "To implement this strategy effectively it is critical to have accurate liability and funding level information available on a daily basis - this wasn't available from any other sources so we have adopted the technology platform provided by PFaroe which enables the investment sub-committee to react quickly and take advantage of market opportunities for the benefit of the schemes"
Benjamin Reid, CEO, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "Babcock has a very forward-looking pension strategy with an emphasis on triggers, and we're delighted that they have chosen PFaroe as their pension risk management platform and PensionsFirst as their technology partner."
02 Feb 2011
PensionsFirst Launches North American Division and Hires CEO for the Region
Pension risk management specialist PensionsFirst expands into the US and Canada appointing Alan Colner as a Partner and CEO of new North American division, PensionsFirst Inc.
PensionsFirst, the pioneering UK-based pension risk management firm has launched a new division, PensionsFirst Incorporated, to deliver advanced risk management services to both public and private sector pension plans in the US and Canada. Alan Colner has been appointed CEO of the new division.
PensionsFirst's groundbreaking analytics help public and private sector plan sponsors and trustees proactively measure and manage the risk in their portfolios. The company's flagship PFaroe® risk management platform is the first to integrate asset and liability risk measures in an easy-to-use, web-based application. This comprehensive approach to pension risk empowers plan sponsors with fast, accurate plan information, analytics and reporting.
PensionsFirst enters the North American market at a time when there is greater turmoil than ever before in the defined benefit marketplace. Increased market volatility, growing liabilities and widespread underfunding have driven the need for a more granular view of pension risk.
Following this past year's successful introduction of PensionsFirst's award-winning analytic tools to the UK market, the company sees a large opportunity to help North American pension plans address a serious requirement to manage risk more effectively.
To lead the expansion effort, PensionsFIrst has named Alan Colner CEO of its North American operation. Prior to joining PensionsFirst, Colner was a Partner at Compass Advisers, an international investment banking partnership. In this role he was an adviser to PensionsFirst for the past two years, helping the company to raise capital and build an alliance with State Street Corporation which is a minority investor in PensionsFirst Analytics.
Colner brings to PensionsFirst more than 25 years of experience as a successful private investor, director, founder and advisor for numerous rapidly growing businesses, particularly within the financial services and technology sectors. He has also worked extensively with major institutional investors throughout the world, and with many leading alternative investment managers.
Before joining Compass, Colner was Managing Director, Private Equity Investments at Moore Capital Management, a multi-billion dollar global investment firm. Previously, he was a Managing Director at Corporate Partners, a $1.5 billion private equity fund that managed capital from institutional investors including large corporate and public pension plans.
Colner comments: "Pension plans throughout North America face rapidly increasing financial pressure because of changing market, regulatory and demographic forces. PensionsFirst's unique, web-based analytics platform, PFaroe, empowers pension executives with a substantially better way to measure and manage risk. The PensionsFirst team has dedicated their enormous talents to pioneering technology and capital markets solutions for improving pension management. I am very excited to join this group and provide valuable new services to the pension market."
Timothy Lyons, founder and CEO of PensionsFirst comments "As our advisor over the past two years Alan has played a key role in helping us to develop PensionsFirst into a game-changing service provider to the defined benefit pensions industry. I am delighted that he has now decided to join us as a partner and that we will have the benefit of his broad experience in financial services to help us drive our business forward in the US and Canadian markets."
22 Jun 2011
Accounting changes could increase profits for risk-aware FTSE 100 companies
PensionsFirst research shows that up to 10% of the FTSE 100 companies that support defined benefit pension schemes could benefit from changes to the IAS19 accounting standard.
Research released today by PensionsFirst highlights that as many as 10% of the FTSE 100 may benefit from changes by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to the IAS19 standard.
It has been widely reported that the key changes - which include removing the current expected return on scheme assets income statement credit and replacing it with interest on the scheme assets at the AA-rated discount rate - would reduce company profits significantly once implemented.
However, this may not necessarily be the case and will depend on the types of assets that schemes are invested in. For those schemes with lower risk investment portfolios, it is quite possible that the returns expected on their scheme assets are below the yield on a AA-rated corporate bond. In these cases - which account for around 10% of the FTSE 100 - the income statement charge for pensions will become lower once the accounting changes are applied, resulting in increased profits.
"Some schemes are now in a position where they have de-risked their assets to more closely match their liabilities," says Matthew Furniss, an Assistant Vice President at PensionsFirst. "As a result of being invested predominantly in lower risk assets such as gilts - which may not be expected to yield the same levels as highly rated corporate bonds - such companies will therefore experience increased profits as a result of the accounting changes. This can only incentivise more de-risking within the pensions industry."
07 Jul 2011
David Norgrove appointed Chairman as PensionsFirst looks to the future
First Chair of The Pensions Regulator, David Norgrove, joins PensionsFirst Group as Chairman to lead the company's drive to deliver innovative analytics and risk-transfer solutions to the defined benefit pensions industry.
London. 7th July 2011* PensionsFirst today announced the appointment of David Norgrove to lead the company in the next stage of its campaign to change the way the defined benefit (DB) pensions industry measures and manages risk. Norgrove - who was Chairman of The Pensions Regulator from its inception in January 2005 until December 2010 - will oversee the company's continuing push to establish market leadership in pension analytics, as well as its launch of more cost effective insurance-based risk transfer solutions.
Norgrove is currently Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, the Family Justice Review Panel and Deputy Chairman of the British Museum. Prior to this, he spent 16 years with Marks & Spencer in various roles and was one of five Executive Directors that planned, communicated and led the company's turnaround between 2000 and 2002. He went on to be appointed Executive Director for clothing and international business, responsible for sales of £4 billion. He was also appointed Chair of the M&S pension scheme - leading trustees through issues associated with Philip Green's ultimately unsuccessful bid for the company. Norgrove began his career as an economist at the Treasury before becoming Private Secretary to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
"We are absolutely delighted that David, who is highly-respected within the pensions industry, has decided to join PensionsFirst as our new Chairman," says Timothy Lyons, CEO of PensionsFirst Group. "His unrivalled knowledge of the industry's needs will play an important part in the next stage of PensionsFirst's strategic development, helping us to deliver innovative solutions that bring real value to our clients."
From early next year, PensionsFirst intends to offer innovative insurance-based products to help pension scheme sponsors and trustees reduce their risk exposure. This risk transfer initiative comes on the back of the success of PensionsFirst Analytics in creating PFaroe®, the market leading business intelligence platform for DB schemes which was launched in 2009. "When we launched PensionsFirst in 2007 it was always our plan to develop two core activities - firstly, to provide advanced analytics enabling pension schemes to measure and manage risk more effectively, and secondly, to offer innovative capital solutions to facilitate risk-transfer," says Lyons. "However, in 2008 we put our capital solutions initiative on hold due to the financial crisis, and focused our efforts and resources on launching PensionsFirst Analytics and PFaroe®."
"Now, with a healthier financial environment and a significant improvement in funding levels, companies and schemes are once again focusing on risk transfer," he adds. "We therefore feel it is the right time to return to our original plan of offering pension schemes a costeffective way to reduce their risk exposure as they move towards the end-game of full windup. The approach we are developing with David's help builds upon lessons learnt from previous industry initiatives and reflects the innovative thinking for which PensionsFirst is already recognised. We expect to launch this part of our business in 2012 initially targeting schemes with liabilities in excess of £500 million, where we see an increasing interest in managing and removing DB exposures."
"The timing couldn't be better for PensionsFirst to bring innovative thinking and a fresh approach to risk-transfer. With more and more pension schemes looking for viable and affordable opportunities to reduce the levels of risk they are running, the company's unique technology empowers pension schemes to measure their risk exposures in a way that was never before possible. However, the market continues to lack affordable solutions to manage this risk - something I believe PensionsFirst can change."
After three years of intense development of PFaroe® - which have seen the platform's core modules expand to include liabilities, assets and risk for the UK and the US markets - PensionsFirst Analytics will now focus on increasing its client base. Currently 23 schemes in the UK, accounting for over £50 billion of liabilities, are signed up to PFaroe®, including Aga Rangemaster Group, Babcock International, Daily Mail & General Trust, HSBC and Invensys.
* Amended 8th August 2011
09 Nov 2011
Trinity Mirror plc, has become the latest company to adopt PFaroe, PensionsFirst's business intelligence platform to measure and manage its defined benefit pension funding and risk
London. 9th November 2011. PensionsFirst, a technology company, has announced a new client win with Trinity Mirror plc adopting their business intelligence platform, PFaroe. Trinity Mirror is one of the UK's largest newspaper publishers with a portfolio including five national newspapers, over 160 regional newspapers and more than 500 digital products. Trinity Mirror operates 10 defined benefit schemes and is committed to eliminating its pension deficit.
Iain Urquhart, Trinity Mirror's Group Pensions Director comments "We've decided to adopt PFaroe as it enables us to have much better oversight of our schemes assets, liabilities and risk. Having all these attributes on one platform drives operational efficiencies, enhances our financial management of the schemes and is a significant step forward in empowering us to achieve our strategic goal to eliminate the deficit."
Benjamin Reid, President, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "As companies adopt more dynamic and sophisticated strategies for their pension risk management, we are increasingly seeing a greater demand for more frequent and comprehensive analytics. We believe PFaroe is the only risk management platform built specifically for the defined benefit pension market and we are delighted Trinity Mirror has chosen to use it to help them achieve their risk management objectives."
05 Dec 2011
National Grid will now be powered by PensionsFirst
PensionsFirst announces another new client win with National Grid plc signing up to use the PFaroe platform to help them measure and manage their defined benefit pension plans
London. 5th December 2011 National Grid, an international electricity and gas company, has selected PensionsFirst as its technology partner to provide advanced analytics on its pension schemes. PensionsFirst's award-winning business intelligence platform, PFaroe®, will empower National Grid to manage its £15bn of UK pension obligations in a more timely, accurate and effective manner.
Since its launch at the end of 2009, PFaroe has now been adopted by 22 pension plans representing £50bn of UK pension liabilities. Users of PFaroe include Aga Rangemaster Group, Babcock International, Daily Mail & General Trust, HSBC, Invensys Pension Scheme and Trinity Mirror plc.
National Grid's Pensions Finance Manager James Hudston, listed a number of areas where PFaroe will benefit the company, specifically:
- Calculate accounting disclosures: National Grid plan to use PFaroe to calculate their accounting disclosures on their pension schemes
- Monitor sponsor's P&L impact: PFaroe will provide senior management at National Grid with real-time information to forecast the cost of the pension scheme on the company's P&L and balance sheet
- Help further develop an appropriate de-risking strategy: The platform will enable National Grid to work with our trustees to develop a de-risking strategy
- Drive efficiencies and reduce costs: By providing funding information on 3 different bases, PFaroe gives access to a wide range of information that would otherwise require detailed actuarial input
- Future-proof compliance: The member level analytics on PFaroe will help National Grid to comply not only with current regulations, but also anticipated future reporting requirements being considered by its regulator, OFGEM
James Hudston commented "PFaroe will help National Grid with day-to-day operational requirements but more importantly it will help us to make more informed and therefore better decisions."
Tilly Ross, the Global Head of Pensionsat National Grid said "National Grid's mission is to manage our pension schemes safely and efficiently, in the best interests of both consumers and members. This means we need to 'join things up'. We've chosen to work with PensionsFirst because the analytics that PFaroe will provide will enable us to have a holistic and responsive approach to managing our pension scheme risk."
Benjamin Reid, President, PensionsFirst Analytics comments: "Safety and managing risk is at the core of National Grid's culture so it should be no surprise that they also want to take a more sophisticated approach to managing their pension schemes and associated risks. We're very pleased that they've chosen to work with us and we look forward to helping them to achieve their goals."
30 Nov 2010
Chris Lilingston-Price joins PensionsFirst as their Representative - Middle East and Asia Pacific
PensionsFirst has hired Chris Lillingston-Price to represent the company in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions. Based in Hong Kong, Chris will be responsible for developing PensionsFirst's relationships with Sovereign Wealth Funds and State sponsored pension funds in the regions.
Lilingston-Price has 20 years banking experience with a strong track record of building international sales and distribution capabilities. Prior to joining PensionsFirst, he was Managing Director / Head of Sales for Banco Santander in Asia Pacific. Previously he held senior roles in fixed income at Lehman Brothers and ABN Amro in London.
Chris Lilingston-Price comments "I'm excited by the opportunity to work with Timothy Lyons and the other partners, a team I have had a close working relationship with over the past 15 years, but until now, always on opposite sides of the table. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in a unique and ground breaking business which is changing the way an entire industry measures and manages risk".
Timothy Lyons, founder and CEO of PensionsFirst comments "Chris is an exceptional ambassador and relationship manager and having for many years been one of his clients, I am delighted that he has now decided to join our rapidly growing team. I look forward to working closely with him to develop our key relationships in the Middle East and Asia Pacific".
23 Nov 2010
Pension risk makes FTSE-100 companies “as risky as hedge funds”
Defined Benefit pension risk exposes Corporate UK to unhedged financial volatility - and potential deficit increase of £100bn in one year - PensionsFirst report reveals.
The combined Defined Benefit (DB) pension deficits of the top-100 UK companies run the risk of an increase of over £25 billion* within one month, according to the new PF Risk ReportTM published today by pension risk specialists PensionsFirst. Over a year, this could result in an increase of around £100 billion in the total deficit, potentially taking the deficit to over £140 billion (the current deficit stands at £43.5 billion across the FTSE-100). However, according to the report the real concern for the UK's largest companies is the fact their exposure to market volatility remains unhedged.
"For several years the media and the pensions industry have focussed on pension deficits, but we believe the real issue is the volatility that sits beneath the headline numbers, and in publishing the PF Risk Report we are seeking to shift the debate to the far more important issue of risk," says PensionsFirst Analytics CEO Benjamin Reid. "This is a serious issue for all stakeholders - including pension scheme members and shareholders - because unhedged pension liabilities can result in significant exposure to market-directional risk."
The report indicates that many UK companies (not just those in the FTSE-100) are running market exposures similar to hedge funds alongside their core business. However, unlike hedge funds, which are specifically mandated by their investors to take market exposure, most companies are ill-equipped to manage the high levels of financial market volatility embedded in their pensions schemes and shareholders typically have little information on the risks to which they are consequently exposed.
"An increase of £100 billion in DB pension deficits would clearly have a dramatic impact," comments Matthew Bale, Director at PensionsFirst and the key author of the report, "and would result in FTSE-100 companies having to make approximately £10 billion of increased cash contributions into their schemes each year with major P&L implications."
This stark warning for FTSE-100 companies is detailed in the inaugural PF Risk Report, a new monthly analytical report on UK DB pension risk for FTSE-100 companies published by PensionsFirst. Calculated using value-at-risk methodology and publicly-available data, the reports will offer a forward looking view of the pension assets and liabilities held by the UK's largest companies. Uniquely, the reports will break down the pension risk into key risks including interest rate, inflation and equity risk. They will also reveal the likelihood and magnitude of future deterioration or improvements in the FTSE-100 pension schemes' funding position.
As an illustration of the sensitivities that could potentially lead to increased deficits on this scale, a 20% decrease in equities would increase the aggregate deficit by £34.2 billion, and a 1% increase in long term inflation, would increase the deficit by £60.8 billion. The two events combined would increase the deficit by almost £100 billion.
"These are not wild predictions, but realistic scenarios," says Reid, "which is why we believe that simply looking at a pension scheme's deficit number is inadequate. Instead the analysis needs to go much deeper - looking at the key drivers and the extent to which they could change the deficit. By publishing this report, which is derived from individual scheme analysis, we hope to draw greater attention to volatility and the management of risk"
19 Nov 2010
PensionsFirst's PFaroe wins ‘Risk Management Product of the Year' Award
Top award for PensionsFirst as Risk Management recognise PFaroe as a product that "delivers real value to organisations". PensionsFirst was also highly commended in the category 'Risk Management Service Provider of the Year'.
PensionsFirst won the award for 'Risk Management Product of the Year' at the Risk Management Awards on 18th November 2010, beating ten other companies who had been shortlisted. The Risk Management Awards are run by Risk Management Professional which is published on behalf of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). The awards recognise excellence and innovation in all facets of risk management.
Risk Management say the primary criteria for judging are "the delivery of definable and significant business benefits, innovation and originality of application". This is how the 'Risk Management Product of the Year' is described: "In what will be another keenly-contested category, this award will eliminate the hype that can often surround risk management products. Instead, it will focus on those that have delivered real value to organisations."
Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics comments "Our team is thrilled to receive such a ringing endorsement from the Risk Management industry for our ground-breaking pension analytics platform PFaroe."
14 Oct 2010
PensionsFirst founders star in Dell's ‘Take your own path' advertising campaign
Global technology company Dell run an advertising campaign called 'Take Your Own Path' which showcases their 'Trailblazer' customers. PensionsFirst founders' Timothy Lyons and Fiona Page are the latest to be featured in the campaign.
Dell's advertising campaign features pioneering entrepreneurs and showcases their use of Dell technology to help solve business problems. Others who have appeared in the campaign include the founders of Innocent Drinks, Linked In and Lonely Planet. Timothy and Fiona will be appearing on Dell advertisements on billboards, national press advertisements and online banners over the coming few months.
"Dell has always believed that it takes an extraordinary person to launch and run a business. The Take Your Own Path campaign underscores Dell's commitment to supporting individuals like Timothy and Fiona with a big idea," said Steve Felice, President of Dell Consumer, Small and Medium Business. "Today, Dell celebrates the many achievers and dreamers who dare to forge ahead in their own way with a view of how they could change the world, pushing boundaries and ultimately, leading the global economic recovery. PensionsFirst is a great example of a trailblazing company using technology to fuel fresh thinking and big plans."
Timothy Lyons, founder and CEO of PensionsFirst comments "We were delighted when Dell asked us to appear in their advertising campaign. We have a great relationship with Dell, forged from working closely together to develop the technology for our risk management platform PFaroe. This is a great endorsement of our innovative approach to technology as well as our innovative approach to pension risk management."
Click here to learn more about Dell's campaign and to see the video featuring Timothy and Fiona.
12 Aug 2010
Johanna Garner and Simon Robinson join PensionsFirst
PensionsFirst announces two new senior hires - both Vice Presidents - Simon Robinson who joins from Towers Watson and Johanna Garner who previously worked for Goldman Sachs.
Johanna Garner has joined PensionsFirst as a Vice President in their Professional Services area where she will be responsible for onboarding assets for new clients adopting PensionsFirst's web-based risk management platform PFaroe. Garner has a strong track-record in banking, most recently at Goldman Sachs where she was an Executive Director.
PensionsFirst has also recruited Simon Robinson FIA as a Vice President in their Client Solutions team where he will be helping PensionsFirst's clients to manage their pension risk and evaluate de-risking options. Robinson joins from Towers Watson where he has worked for the last five years, most recently as a Senior Investment Consultant delivering investment strategy advice to a number of large pension scheme clients.
Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics comments "Having set ourselves the challenge of transforming the way risk is measured and managed in the DB pensions industry, we are now seeing a rapid adoption of the methodologies we have introduced and have an aggressive recruitment plan to support our growing client base. Johanna and Simon are both great additions to our team with strong track records in their fields."
02 Jul 2010
“The best of the best” - PensionsFirst Analytics wins two hotly contested industry awards
PensionsFirst Analytics has received two awards from European Pensions, the leading trade publication for the European pensions industry. PensionsFirst Analytics accepted European Pensions' special new award for "European Pensions Innovation" and the award for "Pensions Technology Provider of the Year" at the European Pensions Awards ceremony, Lancaster London Hotel, on Thursday 1 July 2010.
Now in their third year, the European Pensions Awards were set up to honour investment firms, consultancies and pension providers across Europe that set the highest standards for services to European pension funds.
Ten organisations were short listed for the new European Pensions Innovation award, including Towers Watson, Mercer and Aegon.
Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics, says, "We are honoured to receive these awards, voted for by the distinguished panel of judges from all corners of the pension industry. They are a strong endorsement of our unique proposition for pension schemes."
Eight providers were shortlisted for the Pensions Technology Provider of the Year award, including Towers Watson and Friends Provident. PensionsFirst Analytics was the unanimous choice of the judges.
Fiona Page, CTO of PensionsFirst Analytics who accepted the awards from TV personality Ruby Wax, says, "These two awards are a huge reward for our remarkable team, which has taken a vision to change the way the DB industry measures and manages risk and created a world class product. The awards are also an endorsement of our unique approach to product development, which combines input from our broad skills base, including pensions, capital markets and technology. As a result PFaroe will provide pension managers worldwide with a powerful and intuitive tool for managing risk."
Award details (from the European Pensions website)
"European Pensions Innovation" The Innovation award is for firms that have brought innovation to the pensions marketplace, be it through a particular product, service offering or overall business approach. This is a new category launched this year, designed in response to the market volatility and to recognise those firms that have responded to market pressures with originality and creativity.
"Pensions Technology Provider of the Year" Effective and reliable pensions technology is essential for the successful running of any pension fund. This award will recognise those firms that are leaders in the field of pensions technology, and ultimately reward who is the best of the best.
The judging panel for the 2010 Awards was made up of 28 judges from across the European pensions industry, including providers, pension funds, consultants and representatives from various European pensions and investment associations. A detailed explanation of the judges' final decisions is to be published in the European Pensions Awards write-up after the Awards ceremony taking place on 1 July 2010.
15 Apr 2010
State Street and PensionsFirst Analytics Form Strategic Alliance
State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT), one of the world's leading providers of financial services to institutional investors, and PensionsFirst Analytics (PFA), a UK-based company providing advanced risk management and advisory services to the global defined benefits (DB) pensions industry, today announced a new strategic alliance marked by State Street's minority equity investment in PFA.
PFA recently launched PFaroe®, a Web-based service that it expects to significantly enhance the measurement and management of DB pension risk. PFaroe provides an actionable view of plan assets and liabilities on a single platform believed to be unique in the industry. This new capability will enable pension sponsors, trustees and advisors to access detailed cash flow projections and scenario analysis. With this expanded analytics toolset, sponsors, trustees and advisors will be able to make better-informed and more timely investment and de-risking decisions.
"This alliance with PensionsFirst Analytics enables State Street to further enhance the services we bring to DB plan sponsors and reaffirms our strong commitment to this client segment," said Joseph Antonellis, vice chairman of State Street. "With concerns about underfunded pensions and the difficulty of accurately measuring liabilities, this innovative new product provides an enhanced level of transparency and insight into pension risk. We believe this strategic partnership creates a truly unique offering to our clients and provides a competitive advantage to both State Street and PFA."
State Street is a leading servicer of pension schemes, servicing more than 2,500 schemes worldwide. The company also manages more than $550 billion in defined benefit pension assets*.
Benjamin Reid, chief executive officer of PFA believes the strategic alliance will rapidly accelerate PFA's expansion and entry into the US market.
"We are delighted to have received this endorsement of PFA and PFaroe," said Reid. "State Street has a well-deserved reputation for identifying and investing in the right partners to provide clients with access to new and innovative solutions. Their large client base of pension funds worldwide represents an unparalleled opportunity for PFA to expand its offering to new customers."
"This step is innovative, necessary and welcomed by the industry," said Joe Moody, SSgA's global head of Liability Driven Investing. "PFaroe is designed for users with no specialist actuarial expertise and significantly reduces the time it takes to value pension liabilities and assets from months to hours and is designed to help managers of DB risk truly understand both sides of the balance sheet."
As part of State Street's investment in PFA, Joseph Antonellis has joined PFA's board as non-executive chairman. Separately, Amelia Fawcett, a State Street board member since 2006, resigned from the board of PensionsFirst Group in March 2010, effective upon the selection of her replacement. PensionsFirst Group is the majority equity owner of PFA.
Note: *AUM as of December 31, 2009
07 Apr 2010
PensionsFirst Analytics continues to expand with three senior IT appointments
Ground-breaking pensions analytics company cements IT leadership with three new directorships
PensionsFirst Analytics (PFA) has appointed an IT Director and two Product Development Directors - all of whom are instrumental in developing PFA's web-based platform PFaroe. Launched in November 2009, PFaroe allows DB pensions trustees and sponsors to manage and measure risk precisely, and means non-technical users can analyse pension assets and liabilities in a timely manner.
Dean Newman is PFA's new IT Director and is tasked with building an infrastructure fit for a global business. Having previously led infrastructure projects for companies such as Barclays and Alliance Boots, Newman brings a wealth of experience around building scalable and robust technology.
Comments Newman: "I am very excited about joining PensionsFirst, having the opportunity to work in an environment that constantly challenges the norm, pushes the boundaries of technology and has a team of highly talented people working to a common goal."
Nick Francis joins PFA as a Director of Product Development to lead the development of PFaroe, after a period consulting for the company. He joins after successfully running Sentient for 17 years - a well respected IT consultancy that partnered with Microsoft to work with blue-chip clients on enterprise projects. Francis used his experience in massively parallel processing while he worked closely with the Microsoft product team on their Windows Azure cloud computing platform and produced the first commercial application hosted in Azure.
"My motivation was to stay with a fantastic team to continue to develop this ground-breaking project," says Francis. "This is data-warehousing on a vast scale - multiprocessing major industry names. This really is a cutting-edge platform."
Finally, Matthew Seymour joins as a Director of Product Development. Formerly the CTO of FundWorks, a global SaaS provider to the asset management industry, Seymour has joined PFA to lead the growth and delivery of PFaroe.
"After seeing the transformative potential of PFaroe," says Seymour, "I thought the opportunity too good to pass up. PFA has a unique mix of being entrepreneurial, flexible and dynamic enough to cope with change, but sufficiently well-resourced to deliver an uncompromised solution."
All three will report to Fiona Page, Partner and CTO at PFA.
"These three appointments will help PFA continue towards its goal of transforming defined benefit pensions risk management. We are delighted to have attracted three individuals of such high calibre."
10 Mar 2010
PensionsFirst Analytics creates sales team with FIVE key appointments
Innovative pension risk analytics provider increases sales capabilities in response to market interest in its web-based service - PFaroe.
PensionsFirst Analytics - the company launched in November 2009 and focused on measuring and managing defined benefit (DB) pensions risk - has appointed a Head of Sales, a Vice President for Client Solutions and has made three further sales-oriented appointments.
Kim Lewin has joined the company as Head of Sales and will focus on marketing PensionsFirst Analytics' managed services to the largest UK pension funds. Lewin joins from SumTotal Software, where he had been Vice President of Sales for the EMEA region since 2007.
This is an exciting challenge given the uniqueness of our web-based managed service - PFaroe - and the overwhelming support from both investors and clients," says Lewin.
PFaroe is aimed at bringing new levels of precision to the measurement and management of DB pensions risk. A unique DB risk management platform, PFaroe combines liability and asset analytics to provide fast, accurate and up-to-date scheme information for pension fund sponsors, trustees and actuaries.
Lewin will report to Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics.
"We are in the process of an ambitious roll-out for PFaroe to major UK pension funds and are very encouraged by their initial response," says Reid. "These new appointments will help us present our industry-changing services to potential new customers."
A further appointment points to PensionsFirst Analytics also deepening the client experience. Matthew Bale joins the firm as Vice President of Client Solutions - an actuarial role helping clients gain a precise understanding of their pension scheme risk profile and potential de-risking strategies. Prior to joining PensionsFirst Analytics, Bale spent three years at Citibank's Insurance and Pensions Structured Solutions Group focusing on the management of defined benefit pension risk.
There are three further additions to PensionsFirst Analytics' sales team. Charles Peach joins as a Vice President of Sales. He previously worked for Nomura's managed products and exotic credit trading business. In addition, Andy Hutt has joined as an Assistant Vice President of Sales. Hutt has over 20 years in the IT sector - his last position being as a sales manager for SumTotal UK. Ian Crompton also joins PensionsFirst Analytics as an Assistant Vice President of Sales. He spent the previous two years in executive sales for ID Support Services.
"The new line-up brings together a rare combination of talent," says Reid. "The breadth and depth of experience they bring from the technology, pensions and capital markets sectors means the company can offer clients a new and unique approach to defining and managing the complex risks facing their pension schemes."
13 Dec 2009
PensionsFirst announces appointment of Simon Parr & Rob Stuart
Two new senior personnel join rapidly expanding group
PensionsFirst Group LLP today announced the appointment of two new key hires as the business continues its ambitious expansion plans. Simon Parr joins as Finance Director and Rob Stuart as General Counsel.
The new appointments follow on from the launch of PFaroe®, the industry changing web-based service for managing DB risk exposure, introduced last month by PensionsFirst Analytics.
Simon was previously Group Financial Controller at IAG-UK, where he managed the central finance function and played a key role in restructuring the UK business. Prior to this, Simon was at Barclays Bank PLC from 1997 until 2007, working in a range of senior finance roles including Head of Finance - Barclays Private Banking Americas; Financial Controller - Barclays Private Bank and Finance Director - General Insurance. Simon played a leading role in the re-launch of Barclay's general insurance business which became the UK's fastest growing insurer. Simon's final role in Barclays gave him responsibility for the Retail Bank's total insurance profit and loss as Finance Director - Barclays Insurance. Simon started his career at Price Waterhouse, becoming a member of the ICAEW in 1996.
Rob joins PensionsFirst from MKM Longboat, a multi-strategy hedge fund. Prior to this, Rob was General Counsel at Imagine Group, the speciality and structured reinsurance firm, which he joined in 2003. Rob began his legal career in private practice in 1992 at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, a leading Canadian business law firm, and later practised in Allen & Overy's International Capital Markets department, from 1999 to 2002. He is qualified to practise law in New York, England and Wales, and Ontario (Canada).
Commenting on the two appointments, Timothy Lyons, CEO Pensions First Group LLP, said:
"We welcome Simon and Rob to the fast-growing PensionsFirst team. Their extensive experience within the financial markets will add invaluable strength and depth to our infrastructure at an exciting time in the development of PensionsFirst. PFaroe is already set to bring about a fundamental shift in the pensions landscape in the UK, and we have ambitious plans to bring its ground-breaking qualities to a wider global audience.
"In contrast with much of the financial services industry, we have ambitious expansion plans. We have grown from 22 people in June of this year to over 50 and expect the team to double in size again over the next year with the launch of PFaroe in the US in the first half of 2010. Simon and Rob will play a critical role in managing our company's rapid growth."
20 Nov 2009
Benjamin Reid to head up PensionsFirst Analytics
Benjamin Reid has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of PensionsFirst Analytics, the provider of risk management analytics and advisory services for DB pensions, which this week launched its ground-breaking PFaroe® service.
Benjamin was a founding partner of PensionsFirst which, since its launch in 2007, has grown to employ some 50 people, a figure expected to double in the next year. The group now comprises two distinct entities - PensionsFirst Analytics, offering risk management analysis and advisory services to the DB pensions industry and PensionsFirst Capital, which provides bespoke investment solutions to defined benefit schemes.
Prior to joining PensionsFirst, Benjamin was a Director at Wachovia Securities in New York where he was responsible for the origination of a broad range of asset financings. Before joining Wachovia, Benjamin was the US Managing Director of Burgundy Global, a managed services company specialising in corporate strategy and delivering IT-based ground transportation solutions.
Benjamin began his career on the investment desk of Quadrant Capital, an asset management business, investing in high-grade fixed income products. In 1999 he became a Director of Quadrant and led the company's marketing, business development and distribution until Quadrant sold its operating business to the Bank of New York in 2002.
Commenting on Benjamin Reid's appointment, Timothy Lyons, CEO of PensionsFirst Group LLP, said:
"Given his deep understanding of both capital markets and the critical issues facing managers of DB risk today, Benjamin, with his background in managed services is ideally suited to leading PensionsFirst Analytics and delivering a truly differentiated offering to our customers in the UK and the US.
"With the introduction of PFaroe's powerful analysis of DB risk exposures, we believe that PensionsFirst Analytics will help to radically change the way trustees and scheme sponsors manage risk and facilitate their use of much more sophisticated risk transfer solutions."
Benjamin Reid, CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics, added:
"PensionsFirst Analytics has been established to offer a level of sophisticated risk analysis and advisory services that has been lacking in the DB industry. One of the reasons DB schemes have become a major management issue for so many corporate sponsors is because they have lacked the appropriate tools and advisory support to measure and manage risk properly. We live in a digital age with increasing focus on standards of corporate governance and out of date paper based reporting of highly volatile financial exposures is no longer adequate.
"PensionsFirst Analytics will change the way DB pension schemes are run because for the first time we will enable managers of DB risk to properly understand their exposures and present them with an objective view of all their options to mitigate the risks. I am very pleased to be leading this exciting initiative and feel that we have a great deal to contribute to the industry."
15 Nov 2009
PensionsFirst to revolutionise the DB pension industry
PensionsFirst to revolutionise the DB pension industry with actuarial valuations in 24 hours
No more woolly numbers!
In a move set to revolutionise the defined benefit pensions industry, PensionsFirst is launching PFaroe® , a web-based managed service which will bring new levels of precision to the measurement and management of DB risk. In an industry renowned for opaque and woolly reporting, leaving it increasingly out of step with modern standards of corporate governance, PFaroe offers definition and speed of management information unrivalled by any other provider.
PFaroe provides clarity, timeliness and definition to the valuation and understanding of the complex area of DB risk - something the industry has lacked for far too long. PFaroe® does this by generating actuarial valuations within 24 hours, in a clearly presented format supported by detailed and transparent assumptions. Cashflows are produced at an individual scheme member level and for each scheme asset, allowing users to conduct multiple, user defined scenario analyses.
PFaroe® delivers accounting, actuarial and solvency valuations on demand on a 24 hour turnaround, regardless of scheme size.
Despite its sophistication, PFaroe® is designed for users with no actuarial expertise, enabling them to perform instant sensitivity testing on both assets and liabilities by altering assumptions for longevity, interest rates, inflation and investment mix. It also allows users to conduct standard VaR analysis or scenario testing, and refine benefit design. In addition, because it is web-based and available to sponsors, trustees and consultants, PFaroe® provides a powerful tool to facilitate consensus in negotiation between the scheme stakeholders.
The launch of PFaroe® follows a rigorous beta-testing program in conjunction with several leading UK companies, including Aga Rangemaster Group, Alliance Boots, Daily Mail & General Trust and JPMorgan Cazenove. These schemes account for £8bn of liabilities and 150,000 members. A beta program for selected US customers is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2010.
Benjamin Reid, Partner and CEO of PensionsFirst Analytics, said:
"Recent volatility in the financial market has dramatically exposed the fact that the DB industry significantly lags behind modern management practices in other sectors of the financial markets. This is because trustees and scheme sponsors have not had access to the appropriate tools to accurately measure and manage their scheme risks and as a result most pension trustees, CFOs and corporate treasurers lack an accurate picture of the risks to which the sponsoring company's balance sheet - and therefore its shareholders - are exposed. Quite simply, if you can't measure risk, you can't manage it.
"Having developed PFaroe initially to manage our own exposure to DB risk, we have decided to make PFaroe® available to all managers of DB risk, because we believe it is vital that standards of risk management in the sector are radically improved. PFaroe will provide DB managers, for the first time, with a clear understanding of their risk exposures and it will completely change the way they manage risk."
Comments from beta customers:
"In a few years time we will ask ourselves how we ever managed without a tool like this." CEO, beta customer - April 2009
"For the first time, it allows you to have the risk-conversation." Pensions Manager, beta customer - May 2009
"PFaroe borders on the brilliant." Pensions Manager, beta customer - May 2009
"Every time I see PFaroein operation … I wonder how trustees manage their schemes without a tool like this.… every trustee board in the land will want it … and it will completely change the way they run their schemes." Trustee, beta customer - June 2009 "The availability of detailed and timely reporting on a scheme's liabilities … bridges the gap for asset managers considering more sophisticated investment strategies." Investment Committee Member, beta customer - September 2009
For further information or to arrange a demonstration, please contact us directly:
UK +44 20 7632 9100
US +1 646 344 6601 (US)
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