The Isle of Wight has been recognised as the best Local Government Pension Scheme fund of the year.

  • Pictured: (Left to Right) Anthony Esse, chief executive of Darwin Property Investment Management Limited (award sponsor), Jo Thistlewood (technical finance manager), Alexander Armstrong (event host), Cllr Vanessa Churchman (Vice-Chairman, pension fund committee).
  • Photo credit: DG Publishing, 2019 LAPF Investment Awards.

 

The Isle of Wight has been recognised as the best Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) fund of the year (assets under management below £2.5 billion) at the LAPF Investment Awards ceremony in London last week (Thursday 19 September).

The Isle of Wight Council Pension Fund won the national award, for its overall management and performance of the fund.

The council administers the fund on behalf of more than 15,000 members from 31 local employers.

Members of the scheme, around ten per cent of the Island’s population are either currently employed (active), retired (pensioners) or former employees who have not yet reached retirement age (deferred). It was one of five funds shortlisted for the award.

Collectively the 105 LGPS funds in England, Wales and Scotland have assets of £200 billion and 4.6 million members; the Island is 97th by way of size and scale; so is one of the smallest.

To March 2019, the investment portfolio was a leading performer, continuing to outperform its benchmark.

Despite not having the advantages of corporate scale of many administering authorities, the Isle of Wight has successfully implemented best practice to:

- complete a fundamental review of their fund’s governance;
- articulate new funding and investment beliefs;
- equip itself with robust strategies for the future. 

Jo Thistlewood, technical finance manager for the council, said: “As the smallest boutique fund in the LGPS we continue to punch above our weight based on innovative thinking, strong investment returns and within the 'top ten' funding level against national comparators.”

Councillor Adrian Axford, chairman of the Pension Fund Committee, said: “I’m really proud of what we have achieved through our innovations and good management of the fund, on behalf of scheme members who have all worked hard for our Island.”

As at 31 March 2019, the fund had investment assets in excess of £600 million.