Simon joined the Trustee Board in 2018, we met with him to talk to him about his role within Prudential and his experiences so far as a Trustee Director.
Simon, thank you for meeting with me today, for those members who don’t know you, can you tell me a little about your career so far with Prudential?
SI: I joined Prudential straight from University, initially in the actuarial department within Prudential UK. I have subsequently worked in roles across the company, including in Group Risk, and Finance & Capital, prior to my current role as Director of Annuity & Derivative Portfolio Management in the Investment Office.
You’ve worked in several different areas, does that help you in your role as a Trustee Director?
SI: Yes, I think so. The Trustee is responsible for managing the Scheme to ensure we have the right balance of assets to meet the future benefit payments due to members, this is similar to my current role, where I am looking at the assets the Company holds to meet the annuity payments it is contracted to pay. My previous roles also have helped me to understand the Trustee’s role in the financial management of the Scheme and the mitigation of the risks the Scheme faces.
What are the risks that the Scheme now faces?
SI: One of the most significant risks the Defined Benefit section of the Scheme currently faces relates to longevity. This is the risk that the assumptions we make as to how long pensions will be paid are not borne out in reality. In other words, will members live longer than we anticipate? Many of the other risks that schemes such as ours typically face have been mitigated to some extent, due to our strong funding position and the fact that the Scheme has carefully matched its assets to its liabilities.
Can we talk about when you joined the Trustee Board, how quickly did you feel you were up to speed?
SI: There is a lot of information that you need to absorb as a new Trustee Director. We are expected to have read and understood the information within a large pack of papers before each meeting, which requires quite a bit of preparation time. I have now been on the Board for about a year and I now feel that I am ‘over the hump’ in terms of the knowledge I need as a Trustee, the induction process has helped me with this. The other Trustee Directors are very impressive, there is a good spread of knowledge across the Board.
The Trustee Board delegates some of the day-to-day management to several Committees, which Committees are you a member of?
SI: I am on the Asset & Liability Committee, the Investment Committee, the Funding & Factor Working Party and the Joint Longevity Working Party. We are also encouraged to periodically attend meetings for the other Committees to gain an understanding of their focus and challenges.
Simon, thank you for your time today, it was great to meet you.
Simon is a qualified Actuary. He graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Economics. He is married with a young daughter. Simon is a keen swimmer and has recently discovered the ‘delights’ of outdoor swimming, particularly in summer! He is also an Arsenal fan and tries to watch as many games as he can.