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Join the other MNRPF members (and their families and friends) who are already benefiting from our free Wellbeing Webinars and register now to enhance your wellbeing.
In these challenging times it’s even more important to consider your health and wellbeing - to find out how, register for our series of free Wellbeing Webinars taking place every week on Wednesdays at 10am.
On average, 100% of members who have joined so far, have rated the webinars as very helpful or helpful.
In the last webinar 88% of viewers rated the speaker as excellent.
It’s not too late to register! These fun and informative webinars are continuing until 31st March 2021. For details of the topics, please click here
Just click on the link below to register.
Please feel free to invite non-members, who you think would benefit – all they need to do is click the link below to register.
Or if you prefer to watch the webinars in your own time, recordings of all the webinars taken place so far can be found by clicking on the link below.
Beneficiary Trustee Director Nominations
Further to the Trustee’s recent request for members to volunteer for the role of Beneficiary Trustee Director, the RMT has now confirmed their nominations for Beneficiary Trustee Directors. Further details can be found on the RMT website by clicking here.
Our free webinar programme
It’s interesting that we live in a world where asking ‘how are you doing?’ has become a bit of a formality. But the world has changed, and never have we put so much importance into the question ‘How are you?’ We hope this finds you safe, well and coping.
Over 13 weeks starting on 6 January 2021, the MNRPF are teaming up with the Wellbeing People to present a free 60 minute webinar every week, covering a wide range of wellbeing topics. These essential live wellbeing webinars are designed to support your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing particularly during these unprecedented times of social distancing and, in all too many cases, self-isolation.
Click here to find out more about the webinars and to register.
Ill Health Retirement – High Court Update
As members will be aware from the recent Summary Annual Report 2020 (also known as the Member Newsletter), a trial was due to be heard in the High Court over 8 days from (or shortly after) 9 November 2020 in relation to the ill-health early retirement (“IHER”) benefits paid by the Fund.
The issues in the case relate to whether IHER benefits paid by the Fund from 1985 onwards were validly introduced and the legal effect of various subsequent changes to those benefits. In particular, from 1991, certain IHER benefits were reduced or suspended, and from 8 October 1993, no further IHER pensions were provided to members leaving service after that date.
However, as a result of ongoing confidential settlement discussions, the Judge agreed to adjourn the trial and put the case on hold for a three month period. This is to allow the parties the necessary time to prepare and hopefully agree detailed settlement terms in this complex matter. The intention is that if settlement terms are agreed, they will be considered for approval by the Judge at a further hearing over two days from (or shortly after) 22 March 2021. The Judge would only approve the settlement if he considers that it is in the interests of the members and employers to do so.
Further information about the proposed settlement will be made available to members and employers in due course.
The Trustee strongly recommends that, where possible, members retain any medical and employment history and/or knowledge about their past health. The Trustee also recommends that where possible, a member's family/dependants also retain knowledge of, and/or records related to, a member's employment and medical history in the event of a member's incapacity or death. This is relevant for all members with service before 8 October 1993 who either have or had IHER benefits or left service through ill-health after that date without taking IHER (at the time of leaving service). This could be relevant whether or not the case settles.
We are looking for members to become Beneficiary Trustee Directors
The Trustee is currently seeking to fill two vacancies on the Pension Fund Trustee Board. A communication pack giving full details of the role and how to be nominated as a potential Trustee Director was posted to all members for whom the Trustee holds addresses on 4 September. All nominations need to be received by midnight on 30 October 2020. If you have not received your information pack by 11 September please contact the Fund administrator Mercer at MNRPF@mercer.com and they will arrange for one to be sent to you.
Please remember to advise Mercer if you ever change address so that the Trustee can keep in touch with you. Mercer will also keep a record of your e-mail address if you provide it to them.
Appointment of new trustee board and new independent Chair of the Trustee
As noted in the Trustee Report and Accounts (“Report and Accounts”) for the year ended 31 March 2019, published on the member website and highlighted in the letter sent to members in December 2019, the Pensions Regulator (the “Regulator”) has been undertaking an investigation into the governance of the Fund.
You can download the full letter by clicking here.
The Trustee is also mindful of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) and the concerns that members might have about the impact this might have on their benefits. The Trustee is monitoring the impact of this situation with its advisers and we will report further on this in later communications.
In the meantime, should you have any queries regarding your benefits please contact Mercer via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone on 01372 200385
Review of the governance structure of the Trustee Board and resignation of Chair
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund (“the Fund”)
Following the publication of the Trustee Report and Accounts (“Report and Accounts”) for the year ended 31 March 2019 on the member website, we are writing to ensure that all members are aware of the information contained in the Report and Accounts on page 9 outlining the Pensions Regulator’s (the “Regulator’s”) investigation into the governance of the Fund and to provide you with some further information.
In late 2017, the Trustee initiated an independent review of the governance of the Fund. Following an approach from the Trustee, the Regulator became involved and commenced its own investigation in November 2018.
The Regulator’s process is ongoing and the Trustee is engaging with the Nominating Bodies (the RMT and the Employers Group (MNP EG)) on the governance issues which have been identified.
During this time, the Board is continuing to progress business as usual activities.
We would like to reassure you that this has no impact on the security of your benefits or current impact on the day-to-day operation of the Fund as the Regulator’s involvement relates purely to the governance of the Trustee Board. As you know, the Fund has a robust sub-committee structure which deals with all day-to-day activities and enables the Trustee to focus on strategic matters and certain key decisions.
All day-to-day operations are therefore ‘business-as-usual’ and the Trustee will continue to manage the Fund to achieve its long-term strategy. The Trustee is continuing to work with Participating Employers and to collect contributions in line with the implementation methodology, established in the 2015 Court Case.
As highlighted in the Popular Reports which are issued annually to members, the funding level of the Fund has increased from 67% as at 31 March 2014 to 88% as at 31 March 2019, primarily as a result of the Trustee collecting £365 million in contributions from Participating Employers towards the deficits shown in the 2014 and 2017 Actuarial Valuations. (Please refer to the 2019 Popular Report for further information on the financial health of the Fund.)
Following the resignation of the Independent Trustee John Preston the Board expects to conduct a process in conjunction with the Regulator to appoint a new independent Chair of the Trustee, but in the meantime, the Trustee Board has an appropriate framework to operate on a day-to-day basis.
The ongoing investigation into the governance of the Fund by the Regulator prevents us from providing further information on this matter at this time. However, we will write again at the earliest opportunity to provide you with more information. Regardless where we are with the Regulator’s process, we will provide you with an update before the end of March 2020.
In the meantime, should you have any queries regarding your benefits please contact JLT via email at email@example.com or on the phone on 0345 521 0049.
and Peter Hall
On behalf of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Limited
Ill health early retirement benefits (“IHER benefits”)
We updated you last year of the legal uncertainties relating to the entitlement of certain members to enhanced ill health early retirement benefits (“IHER benefits”) from the Fund. The Trustee has kept members updated on the actions they are taking during the course of the year. As you are aware the Trustee is applying to the High Court for directions over these issues.
As mentioned previously, the Trustee has a neutral position in this case. Therefore, the Trustee has appointed representatives to act in the interests of both the members and the employers and each representative has their own legal team to support them. We wrote on 29 March 2019 to all members to let them know the names of their representatives and their legal team. Both the members’ and employers’ representatives are building their own case on the questions before the Court about IHER benefits and following a detailed process the Court will decide what IHER benefits members might be entitled to.
The Court Case will be heard in November 2020 which is the earliest possible date. Judgment is expected early in 2021. Once the Trustee has received this judgment, it will be better placed to decide what the next steps should be and whether members are entitled to any extra benefits. Depending on the outcome of the case, a further Court process may be required for this purpose. The case should not result in a reduction to the overall value of the total benefits of any members.
If higher or new enhanced IHER benefits are to be paid, it will create additional liabilities for the Fund (which were not reflected in the last valuation). We have informed Participating Employers of this.
As we said last year, it would be helpful if potentially affected members retained any medical history about past health, if they believe they may be entitled to this benefit. The Court will clarify if different categories of members are affected, but we believe this relates to members who had service before 8 October 1993.
The Trustee will continue to keep you informed as this matter develops.
Collection of Deficit Contributions
The Trustee has collected four instalments of deficit contributions from the Participating Employers towards removing the Fund’s 2014 deficit of £354 million. As at March 2019 the Trustee had received £314 million in deficit contributions and other payments towards the 2014 deficit.
The Trustee concluded the 2017 Actuarial Valuation (as at 31 March 2017) in 2018 which showed an additional deficit, in excess of expected receipts towards the 2014 deficit, of £89 million. As at March 2019 the Trustee had received £51 million in deficit contributions and other payments towards the 2017 Additional deficit.