The Value of IMPAC
IMPAC has been keeping a watch on the changes to the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund for more than 25 years in order to protect the interests of all Fund members. United Kingdom & European Union Government legislation, ostensibly aimed at protecting the interests of pensioners, often leads to unintended consequences, made more complicated by the varying fiscal arrangements of each EU country. The repositioning of Imperial Tobacco Group as a force in the world-wide tobacco market has had an impact on the ITL Pension Fund – the DB (Defined Benefits) section is now closed to new entrants – and will continue to do so in the future.
National Council holds 2 meetings each year in addition to the Annual General meeting held normally in May. So what are we doing? Here are some of the major areas where we exercise an influence on your behalf.
1). The Company and Trustees:
The Trustees of the ITL Pension Fund have powers for the running of the Fund similar to a board of directors of a company. There are 2 Pensioner Trustees. Pensioner Trustees are invited to attend our meetings. We do have access to professional advice (see 3 below) as a result of which the Trustee Board is well aware of being watched very closely by IMPAC and that we are prepared to challenge them if necessary.
2). Pension Fund Consultative Committee:
IMPAC representatives are present at all meetings. Items agreed at IMPAC National Council meetings are submitted for the agenda and the Company is challenged whenever necessary. Our Pensioner representatives have the respect, confidence and co-operation of the Employee Representatives, who agree to IMPAC acting as spokesperson and are increasingly dependent upon us now that the DB scheme is closed to new entrants.
3). Professional Advice:
Your contributions aid IMPAC access to both a ‘Pension Fund’ Lawyer and an Actuary, who are well versed with our Fund and are available to us if we do need to seek Legal and/or Actuarial advice. Both firms used are recognised nationally as leading experts in their respective fields.
4). Actuarial Triennial Valuations:
Every 3 years, the ITL Fund charges an Actuary to value the liabilities of the fund and to set parameters for the future to secure the payment of a pension to every member of the fund for their life-time. Supported by a review from our professional advisers, IMPAC questions the Actuary, the Company and Trustees on the results of the valuation. The amount of detail accompanying the valuation has increased from 20 pages to over 30 in recent years as a result of our probing and the Actuary now meets with the PFCC and representatives from IMPAC to explain the outcome and recommendations of the Triennial Valuation in “Lay” terms. The Actuary is well aware that those assumptions will be challenged if felt necessary.
IMPAC’s Role Today:
We continue to be the ‘External Guardian’ of the Fund, alert and ready to challenge on issues that arise from the Trustees, the Company or the Government, that might affect our pensions.
Our vigilance over the years is recognised by both the Trustee Board, Imperial Tobacco Ltd and Imperial Brands PLC leading to a greater willingness to provide information and open discussion.
25 years on, IMPAC has grown in stature. It has the respect of the Company and remains dedicated to defending and advancing the interests of all members of the Fund.
Your support is greatly appreciated
The IMPAC National Council