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GMP equalisation – Implementation

Implementation is key to a successful Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP) equalisation project. You want to get this done right first time and as effectively as possible. It is therefore important to consider this early in your journey and think about how it will integrate with other activities.

Your administrator plays a key role within your GMP equalisation project. It is important that they are involved in your discussions right from the start, as the impact on your administration will be a key driver when setting your GMP equalisation strategy. It is also important to think about how your GMP equalisation project plan fits in around all of your other ongoing projects, as well as your day to day administration and making sure that your members continue to receive the best service. As GMP equalisation impacts the data you need to hold on your administration systems, your retirement processes, member options and pension increase exercises, it is important for your actuarial advisor and administrator to work closely together throughout to make the implementation as smooth as possible for you.

Where Willis Towers Watson are the administrators, we have already taken the following steps to support your GMP equalisation implementation:

  • We have completed our database development work to store and hold all of the new data required for GMP equalisation, these new data fields are now available and are already in use for some of our clients
  • We have performed live calculations as part of our ongoing operations which allow for GMP equalisation including calculating transfers out, retirements and pension increases
  • We can commence work on future calculations ahead of data being ready and the two workstreams can then run in parallel
  • Our systems facilitate the administration of equalised and non-equalised benefits for members so you can implement payment of equalised benefits as and when tranches of members are ready and do not need to wait until the entire affected membership has been addressed

Communication with members runs through any GMP journey and is another key part of successfully implementing a GMP equalisation project. Getting your communication plan in place early will make or break the success of implementing GMP equalisation. When it comes to communicating technical matters, like GMP equalisation, to members it is important to put that extra effort in to be thorough in the planning of different messages to different members, and make it digestible and easy for members to understand. It is important to think about when to communicate, the relevance of the message that you give, the need to avoid using jargon wherever possible and to be open and transparent with members without giving members unnecessary concern or setting unrealistic expectations.

To help schemes keep GMP equalisation communication straightforward and focussed we’ve developed a series of ready to go templates including web content and an engaging and straight-talking video, to take the leg work out of the core communication requirements. Of course, when it comes to GMP conversion, which is a route many schemes are considering, each conversion exercise will be different and the approach to consultation is likely to vary, particularly for early exercises. This means that consultation and conversion communication will need focused care when drafting and will need the collective agreement of a scheme’s legal and actuarial advisors. Conversion involves changing members benefits, taking the time and making the effort to communicate this in a way that members will clearly understand will demonstrate the trustee’s care for supporting members.

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