Our strategic priorities

We are a forward-looking and ambitious business. Our strategy remains focused on achieving profitable growth.

 

As the pensions regulatory landscape evolves over time, our clients need our support to make changes in order to comply.

Progress

There is more regulatory change in our industry at this time than at perhaps any time in the last 15 years. The Pensions Scheme Act 2021 is now law, and it brings tougher Pensions Regulator powers and a strengthening of the funding regime for defined benefit schemes, with regulations on the latter expected in Q1 2022. There is also GMP equalisation, with schemes needing to do lots to correct how they have treated men and women unequally historically, and the CMA review deadlines for fiduciary reviews are in Q2 2021. Our clients need a lot of support to navigate through these challenges.

Priorities for 2021

  • Key focus on supporting clients address Covid-19 uncertainty and The Pensions Regulator guidance
  • Demand growing for GMP equalisation services
  • CMA review continues to drive strong demand for FM oversight services

We provide a full range of the services that pension trustees and corporate sponsors need, but for many clients we only provide one service and could do more.

Progress

Our aim in this area is not simply to increase the number of service lines that clients use us for, but also to continually innovate and develop broader solutions as the market evolves and requirements develop. We do the former by building strong trusted relationships and providing excellent service to clients to enable us to discuss wider services. We do the latter through developing a culture of innovation, augmented by strategic hires.

Priorities for 2021

  • DC consulting – New Head of DC joined from AON to grow business
  • Risk transfer – Increasing activity and pipeline
  • NPT – Assets under management crossed £1bn threshold during the year
  • Member Analytics – bring deeper insight into the membership characteristic of UK pension schemes

Our objective is to become the clearly differentiated alternative firm to the ‘Big 3’ and the pre-eminent mid-tier pensions consulting firm.

We will remain focused purely on the UK pensions market, operating at scale and yet agile enough to provide clients with superior service at better value than our larger rivals.

We seek to grow our business by winning ‘new logo’ clients – pension schemes and sponsors with whom we have no prior relationship.

Progress

XPS has become a strong brand, recognised for high quality in the market with an offering that combines scale (and the ability to invest) with agility (we move quickly and provide a very tailored approach). We use technology to express our ideas and bring insight, including our award winning actuarial and investment software Radar. New business activity remained suppressed in the year with the exception of Investment Consulting due to the pandemic.

Priorities for 2021

  • New business pipeline steadily growing towards pre-pandemic levels
  • Investment Consulting business winning on larger clients
  • Market Force initiative launched to drive external opportunities

We operate in a fragmented market, and have an opportunity to grow through acquisitions that can boost our scale and capability in some specialist areas.

Progress

During the year we successfully integrated two small acquisitions made in the prior year – Trigon and Royal London. These have both bedded in very well, each delivering a strong RoI and with happy staff and clients, and deliver on the Group’s strategic objectives. We now have a very strong platform to do further similar deals.

Priorities for 2021

  • Deals completed previously continue to deliver and enhance shareholder value
  • M&A opportunities restarting following slowdown during the year