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Chairman's introduction

Welcome to the 2019 edition of your Trustee Newsletter bringing you the latest news from the BT Pension Scheme and the wider pensions world.

Going digital

We’re aware that many of you now prefer the more convenient, and environmentally friendly approach associated with digital or online communications, such as this digital version of this year’s Newsletter.

Over time we will be giving members the option to continue to receive paper communications or opt for digital communications only.

The BTPS Portal

It’s very important that we keep our Scheme members up to date. Last year we announced the launch of the new Pension Portal for Active members – click here for the whole story. If you are yet to register on the Portal we have enclosed with the paper-based version of this Newsletter a postcard on which you’ll find your Unique Pension Reference Number (UPRN). You will need this to register on the Portal. Once complete you can log in to check your pension value, update your personal details and explore the many features the Portal also has to offer.

Scheme Funding

Every three years, a full valuation of the Scheme is carried out to assess its financial health. Interim assessments take place in the years in between. The Trustee recently completed the interim assessment at 30 June 2018, the results of which are in the enclosed Summary Funding Statement. The 30 June 2017 full valuation showed a funding deficit of £11.3bn. A recovery plan was agreed with BT to address the deficit over 13 years with £4.5bn being paid before the end of June 2020. The substantial contributions agreed with BT in the near term, together with ongoing developments in the Scheme’s investment strategy, are expected to lead to a material improvement in the stability of the Scheme’s funding position.

BT consultation with Active members

On 15 November 2017, BT entered into a consultation with the Active members of the Scheme about their future pension provision. The result of this consultation, and with the agreement of the Unions, was for both Sections B and C to close to future accrual (the build up of additional pension) for most employees with effect from 30 June 2018, for the majority of members. This decision does not impact benefits that have already been built up.

Court cases

Over the past year there have been two separate court cases relating to the pension increases provided by the Scheme. The ‘Round up’ section of this Newsletter provides an update on each of these cases.

Scheme administration

In May 2018, the administration services for the Scheme were successfully transitioned from Accenture to our own in-house administration team. More details are provided in the ‘Round up’ section of this Newsletter.

Welcomes and farewells

This year Eileen Haughey stepped down from the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BT Pension Scheme Management (BTPSM) which provides support to the Trustee in all aspects of managing the Scheme. Morten Nilsson assumed the role of CEO. Morten has spent his career in financial services and brings with him a wealth of experience across all aspects of pension scheme management. I would like to thank Eileen for her immense contribution over the last five years and also welcome Morten to the team.

I will be stepping down from the Trustee Board in February 2019, having served as a Trustee Director for nine years, seven of which as Chairman. My successor as both Trustee Director and Chairman will be Otto Thoresen. Otto is a highly experienced Non-Executive Chairman with 35 years’ experience in the insurance industry, with a particular focus on life and pensions.

It has been a privilege to have been a Trustee and Chairman of this Scheme. Managing a pension scheme of this size and complexity has been challenging, and I would like to thank my fellow Trustee Directors, the team at BTPSM and all the Scheme’s advisers for their hard work and support over my time as Chairman.

Paul Spencer CBE, Chairman

Paul was appointed as independent Chairman of the Trustee Board in March 2011 and has been an independent Trustee Director since September 2009.

Paul Spencer CBE