What does the Committee do?

The Committee monitors the BTRSS and reports to BT Group so that BT Group can make changes if necessary. Some of the things the Committee considers are:

  • whether Standard Life Assurance Limited is operating the BTRSS in line with good market practice
  • Standard Life’s rationale for the suitability of the default investment option and their monitoring of funds available to colleagues
  • Standard Life’s communication plan and the way information about the BTRSS is communicated to members
  • changes in the law that affect pensions and specifically their impact on the BTRSS
  • proposed developments of Standard Life’s systems such as the Dashboard and App
  • suggestions made by members

 

The Committee does not have the same decision powers as a Trustee board, they will monitor and comment but they cannot impose changes. The Committee can write to the BT Group with a recommendation if they believe BT Group should be taking action on a particular point, though BT Group would not be bound by the request.

What has the Committee discussed recently?

The Committee monitors and discusses a variety of topics on the agenda and meets a number of key stakeholders in Standard Life. The below are some examples of agenda items in the last 12 months [updated August 2022]

  • The evolution of the Standard Life default fund to the Sustainable Multi Asset fund
  • Improved functionality on the App such as the switch journey.
  • Meeting the IGC (Independent Governance Committee) Chair to discuss their views and observations of Standard Life’s performance
  • Meeting the CEO of Phoenix Group (which owns Standard Life) to discuss their short and medium term plans.
  • Meeting the dedicated BTRSS administration team at Standard Life in Edinburgh to better understand the scheme’s operational processes.
  • Discussing how best to engage members to update their beneficiary details and move to paperless communications.
  • Change in legislation for ‘stronger nudges’ where Standard Life has to direct people to the Money and Pension Services / Pension Wise in certain circumstances.
  • Change in legislation raising the minimum age from which you can draw your pension benefits from 55 to 57, with effect from April 2028.

Who is on the Committee?

There are five members of the Committee. Two members are appointed by BT Group and two are selected by the unions. BT Group also appoints an independent chairperson, in agreement with the unions.

  • Anna Eagles - independent Chairman
  • Marc Bergen - appointed by BT Group
  • Penny McIntyre - appointed by BT Group
  • Ian Varnes - selected by trade union (Prospect)
  • David Stuart - selected by trade union (CWU)

The members of the Committee normally serve a three-year term. After that they are required to re-apply for membership.

 View the committee members' biographies

How often does the Committee meet?

The Committee has a regular meeting once a quarter. Meetings are also held, if required, to discuss any issues that arise in between their quarterly meetings.

The Committee regularly gets advance notice of changes that either BT Group and/or Standard Life is proposing. For this reason, consistent with other pension scheme governance committees and trustee boards, details of the discussions and minutes are not made public.