The Association of Members of
IBM UK Pension Plans (AMIPP)

This page created 28 Aug 2002

Members' Report and Annual Report on 2001

 

Some aspects of these reports are worthy of mention:

A curious feature of the Members' Report is that we have received it so late in the year.   In 2001 we received the Members' Report on year 2000 and a "It's your pension" pamphlet dated June 2001 in the same envelope.  The website analysis of that is dated 21st July 2001.  This year we received an "It's your pension" dated August 2002 and, as a separate mailing, the Members' Report in late August.

The Annual Report tells us that the facts and figures in the Members' Report were signed off May 2nd, 2002.  So presumably it was the text rather than the numbers that caused delay.  However most of the text is the same disingenuous material that we criticised last year

Both the Annual Report and Members' Report mention the complaints.  The Annual Report says "There are two cases which are currently being investigated by the Pensions Ombudsman, both of which are subject to the Pensions Ombudsman's Office's confidentiality requirements."   The Members' Report says "The Trustee is currently assisting the Pensions Ombudsman with enquiries relating to two member complaints" - perhaps the idea of  an "investigation" was regarded as too frightening for all members to hear.

It is reasonable that only two complaints should be mentioned since investigation of the majority of the complaints accepted into the Ombudsman's jurisdiction has not yet begun.

It is interesting that the complaints are mentioned at all.  The situation with respect to the Ombudsman was exactly the same a year ago but no mention was made in the Members' Report then.  Perhaps this is a good sign, that the new chairman is prepared to be more informative to members.

Both reports say "The Trustee has been advised that it has acted in accordance with its legal obligations and that the likelihood is remote that the Pensions Ombudsman's determinations will have any adverse impact on the funding and the net assets of the Plan."   It is fairly safe to say that there will be no adverse effect on the funds.  If  the complaints are upheld then the effect of the transfers will be reversed, improving C-Plan funding, and IBM will provide new money so that the M-Plan is unaffected.  If the complaints are not upheld (because the law is too weak, or the Ombudsman's Office under-powered, or the Ombudsman seeks the path of least resistance) then the funding situation will be unchanged.  Possibly IBM's Armonk headquarters might become bolder in its plans to cheapen the UK pensions arrangements, but that would be offset (surely?) by the exposure in the Ombudsman's determination of Armonk's previous practices.

There is a note in the Members' Report that "During the year, the Trustee made a number of requests to the Company to improve pension benefits but...".   It does not say what, if any, efforts were made to increase IBM's awareness of its obligations to members.   (It is hardly helpful for the Trust to be aware that IBM should be degrading our pensions more slowly if it does not make the reasons clear to IBM.)

The requests in 2001 serve to emphasise the Trust failings in the Nineties when such requests were not made and the Trust chose not to use its powers to benefit the members.


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