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Pension Protection Fund (PPF) – Chair

Location: London

Date Posted: 15/02/2021

Closing Date: 15/03/2021

£60,000 pa

Vacancy Description

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is a public corporation, established by the Pensions Act 2004, which has been protecting members of eligible defined benefit pension schemes across the UK since April 2005.

The PPF is run by an independent Board and is accountable to Parliament through the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions. It offers protection to nearly 10 million members belonging to more than 5,300 occupational defined benefit pension schemes. If an employer becomes insolvent and its defined benefit pension scheme has insufficient assets to pay its members what they were promised, the PPF pays compensation for their lost pensions. Before the PPF was established members in this situation would have been at risk of losing their pension benefits.

PPF compensation is paid at 100% for those members over the scheme’s normal pensionable age at the date of the sponsoring employer’s insolvency, and also to those in receipt of survivors’ benefits or an ill-health pension irrespective age at that time. Compensation for all other scheme members is typically at 90% of their accrued benefits, subject to an overall cap.

The PPF is funded in four ways; by a levy charged to all schemes eligible for its protection, the return on its investments, assets from pension schemes transferred into the PPF and recoveries from insolvent employers. The PPF is one of the UK’s largest asset owners with more than £36 billion of assets under management.

The PPF also administers the government’s Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) which supports members of eligible pension schemes whose sponsoring employers failed between January 1997 and April 2005. FAS does not offer a replacement for lost pensions but ensures that scheme members get 90 per cent of their expected pension at the point they become due for payment, subject to a cap. Unlike the PPF compensation, FAS payments are mainly funded by the taxpayer.

Currently PPF and FAS are responsible for the pension compensation of more than 425,000 members, with a further number of large, high profile schemes such as Thomas Cook, Debenhams and Arcadia currently in assessment.

In addition to the this, the PPF administers the Fraud Compensation Fund (as a successor body to the Pensions Compensation Board), also established in the Pensions Act 2005, on behalf of DWP. The Fund exists to pay compensation to occupational pension schemes which lose out financially due to dishonesty. This is funded by a separate levy and is an activity likely to receive greater focus in the future following a recent clarifying legal judgment on eligibility to make a claim, and the investigative work involved in each claim.

The PPF employs over 400 people at its Croydon office, with a small satellite investment team based at Cannon Street in the City of London, its operations are overseen by an Executive Committee led by CEO, Oliver Morley. Providing the highest levels of operational excellence and service to members, levy payers and other key stakeholders is vitally important to the PPF team who take real pride in the difference the PPF makes to the lives of those who rely on its services. The fact that these services are often required at a time of great stress only serves to reinforce the importance of excellence. This commitment is reflected in the organisation’s values and strategic priorities. The aspiration to be the best of public and financial services culture ensures its employees consistently rate it as an excellent place to work.

It is a diverse and forward-looking organisation which works closely with other pension, financial services and regulatory bodies to deliver the best outcomes through robust governance, responsible and sustainable investment, clear risk management, and a constant quest to raise standards for service, innovation and assurance.

The next phase of the PPF’s evolution will see the development and launch of a new three-year strategic plan in 2022, there will be a focus on the funding strategy as the business continues to prioritise sustainable growth in these uncertain times.

Further details can be found on PPF’s website and specifically in its three year Strategic Plan and Annual Report and Accounts.

 

The Role of the Chair

DWP is seeking a candidate with exceptional communication and leadership skills to fill this challenging role. The successful candidate will be collaborative, persuasive and have the ability to engage effectively with a very broad range of key stakeholders. They will have responsibility for:

• Setting strategic direction for the organisation in a time of change for the short and long term and effectively drawing out further efficiencies;

• Working closely with the Board especially the Chief Executive, ensuring PPF is managed effectively and that PPF objectives and strategy are translated into clear management objectives;

• Leading the Board in challenging and supporting the executive team;

• Chairing Board meetings and ensuring the effectiveness of the Board including encouraging a full contribution from all members;

• Acting as an Ambassador for PPF to ensure the positive and creditable reputation it enjoys is maintained and enhanced;

• Building constructive and effective relationships at a strategic level with DWP and its Ministers;

• Liaising with external and internal stakeholders; and

• Conducting an annual review of the effectiveness of individual board members and arranging for regular reviews of overall effectiveness to take place.

 

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

• You will possess strong and effective senior leadership qualities including the ability to shape and support the delivery of agreed goals, priorities and statutory obligations, and the ability to lead through others;

• You will have excellent communication skills including the ability to influence people, and develop and maintain relationships across different groups;

• You will have the ability to operate constructively and build positive relationships with Board level and senior stakeholders – in particular the ability to engage and build effective relationships quickly with stakeholders in the Pensions industry in the current economic climate;

• You will have an understanding of the economic and political environment within which the public sector operates; and

• You will be able to demonstrate an excellent knowledge of corporate governance, and a clear understanding of the role of the executive versus that of non-executive.

Desirable Criteria

• Understanding of the pensions landscape;

• Understanding of investment management; and

• Understanding of and commitment to promoting high standards of customer service to members of the public.

 

How to Apply

In order for us to progress your application please submit the following completed documentation:

1. A CV (maximum 2-3 pages) with your education and professional qualifications and full employment history.

2. An accompanying Supporting Statement (maximum 2 pages, font 12). This is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in this information pack. You should aim to provide specific examples that demonstrate how your knowledge and experience matches each of the criteria, and that describe what your role was in achieving a specific result.

Please ensure your full name and the post for which you are applying are clearly noted at the top of your CV and Supporting Statement.

3. Personal Information Form Most of the information requested is not seen by the panel assessing your application (though the panel may consider your declaration of interests).

4. Diversity Monitoring Form. Collecting and analysing candidate data will help us improve our diversity strategy. It will allow us to run more successful recruitment exercises in the future and ensure that competitions are fair for all. This form is not part of the selection process and will be treated in strictest confidence. It will be kept separate from your application and not be seen by the selection panel.

The vacancy closes at 12pm on 15/03/2021

Please email your application to: alb.publicappointments@dwp.gov.uk

If you have any difficulty in sending your application or need the application pack in an alternative format (e.g. Braille, large print, audio CD, tape or e-text), please contact the DWP ALB Public Appointments Team at the email address above.

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