We want to improve the experience for clients by improving products that help the vulnerable and that are also accessible to all.
We set out below a summary of progress and initiatives for our material issues:
We have a wide reach of clients, and for some of the scheme members where we provide administration services some may be vulnerable.
Our Scam Service has been created to protect the needs of pensioners and to create better outcomes for clients. Another example of sustainable development is providing information in an accessible format for scheme members who are visually impaired.
Leading the industry with our scam prevention services
We first introduced our scam service in 2015 as a direct response to concerns for clients about the increasing risk to their members. Our approach is to speak with the member over the telephone. This increases the chances that the information provided is robust and that any suspicious activity is identified. It is an additional layer of protection for members and can be bolted onto any existing administration service.
- Is built on (and has contributed to) the Combating Pension Scams Code of Good Practice, published by the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG).
- Enables trustees to meet the due diligence requirements of The Pension Regulator’s pledge.
- Identifies whether one or more of 45 possible scam red flags exist for each pension transfer.
- Identifies red flags that may not be discovered through the use of paperwork alone.
- The service supports trustees (where required) to undertake necessary follow on investigation and action, including engagement with the member.
1,600Cases with red flags
£345mOf pension transfers protected
We recognise that investors have a role to play in making the future world a place where our investment returns will have value
Therefore, ESG integration and stewardship are embedded throughout our processes and interactions with our clients, investment managers, and at Firm level.
Our Responsible Investment Policy captures the following key ideas:
Deep understanding of the risk issues at play and how they can materially affect outcomes for pension schemes and society at large.
Strong beliefs around how ESG integration and sustainability should be incorporated into pension scheme investment strategy – as captured in our Principles and Preferences which underpin all of our advice:
- ESG and strong stewardship are fundamental elements of risk management
- Sustainable approaches improve outcomes
Raising the bar for the industry – We expect investment managers to integrate ESG into their processes and set a minimum standard for all funds we will recommend to our clients. We review our clients’ funds annually and engage with managers to improve processes and practices.
We have developed our own Sustainable designation that we award to funds that demonstrate high degrees of ESG integration and strong active ownership, alongside additional incorporation of sustainable objectives.
XPS are a signatory of the UN Principles of Responsible Investing and a recognised signatory of the 2020 UK Stewardship Code. We are also early adopters of the Impact Investing Principles of Good Governance, Pensions for Purpose, and participate in the Investment Consultants Sustainable Working Group.
Helping our clients – We have a clear framework to help our clients develop and implement bespoke strategies capturing their specific beliefs around ESG integration and sustainability. One size does not fit all when it comes to ESG.
In respect of climate change in particular we
Further detail about how we support our clients with responsible investing can be found here.
Overall, our vision is to offer clients an independently vetted sustainable choice across all asset classes.
Case Study: Helping the industry get better at ESG
Background: We rated an investment manager’s fund highly on all aspects except ESG where it failed (being rated Red) because the manager had failed to incorporate ESG factors adequately into their processes.
What did we do: We gave our feedback to the investment manager, explaining why the fund had not met our requirements and would not be recommended to our clients. Following this feedback, the Chairman and senior portfolio managers of the investment management house asked to meet with us to understand what, in our view, ‘good’ looked like and actively sought our thoughts on how this could be improved.
Improvement: We researched the manager again a year later about a different fund and we discovered that the manager has improved dramatically in ESG risk management across the business. Further, ESG issues featured prominently at their investment conference that year demonstrating the knock-on impact of our work.
“It is critical to us and our members that we invest in a transparent and responsible manner, which XPS recognise and are committed to helping us achieve. They have listened and demonstrate that they understand our aspirations, beliefs and the Trustees’ desire to provide financial wellness for our members. The strategic advice that XPS has provided has been pragmatic, clear, thought-provoking and comprehensive.”
TfL Savings for Retirement Plan, Chair of Trustees
We also demonstrate our commitment through participation in various industry initiatives as below.
For more information please click here.
We embed information security within our culture. We do this by implementing effective policies and technical controls to safeguard our customers’ information.
We also focus on data privacy and being transparent about how and where we are using client data. Data is one of our most valuable assets and we must ensure that the information we hold is accurate, secure and managed appropriately.
A central part of our staff training is the ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks and the logistical, reputational, and financial damage this can cause. Because our employees are our first line of defence in protecting client, employee and corporate information, we have regular communication for staff awareness. This policy applies to all staff and contractors, all of whom receive compulsory training.