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Changes to MPs' staff pensions
CAS-22182
Disclosure Date:29 Jul 2015
Categories: MPs' STAFFING
Exemptions Applied: Section 40 Section 43
Request

On the selection of L&G [Legal and General] who else were invited to tender and what was their offer? Who did the interviews and what qualifications did they have? What advisers were used and how do I know that the best deal for staff was obtained and not just an easy option for IPSA.

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

  • On the selection of L&G [Legal and General] who else were invited to tender and what was their offer?

Following a tender process, we engaged PFP Wealth Planning to do a review of the pensions market who researched all of the leading providers. They reviewed the corporate retirement planning market and advised on an appropriate replacement for the Portcullis scheme.

PFP then went out to tender and received responses from the following providers: Aegon, Aviva, Friends Life, Legal and General, Aon, BlueSky, Carey Group, Cheviot Group, Close Brothers, Salvus, PFP, SuperTrust and WelPlan.

The offers received are held by PFP, on behalf of IPSA. These offers are commercially sensitive information. By disclosing market-sensitive information or information of potential usefulness to the providers’ competitors, disclosure would be likely to weaken the providers’ position in a competitive environment.

Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption for information which is commercially sensitive, where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it). We have considered whether the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure and concluded that the balance is in favour of withholding the information. As such, we are applying the exemption at Section 43 (2) of the FOIA to withhold the information requested.

  • Who did the interviews and what qualifications did they have? The tender panel consisted of two individuals from IPSA’s Policy and Finance teams and an advisor from PFP Wealth. They were assisted by a representative from the Members and Peers Staff Association (MAPSA) and a representative from UNITE, both of whom are currently MPs’ staff members.

The names of the individuals themselves and their educational histories are personal data under the Data Protection Act. Section 40(2) provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.

  • What advisers were used and how do I know that the best deal for staff was obtained and not just an easy option for IPSA.

As noted above, PFP advised IPSA.

PFP received three superior tender responses (including Legal and General’s), all of which exceeded the quality benchmark of National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) from a cost, automatic enrolment assistance and quality perspective.

The ‘easiest option’ for IPSA would have been to stay with one of the providers of the Portcullis pension plan. Legal and General’s offer represented the cheapest scheme for MPs’ staff while still offering good returns and client management.