Aon Hewitt supports EC with EU pension scheme

30 January 2015

To support the movement of researchers within the European Economic Area, the European Commission is in the process of setting up a single EU wide pension scheme. After a lengthy development process, supported by Aon Hewitt, the firm has recently been announced as the schemes technical advisor for the initial rollout of the scheme to the first nine countries over the coming four years.

The European Commission (EC), the body set up to oversee the daily running of the EU, is creating a single European pension arrangement to improve the mobility of researchers within the European Research Area (EEA), in part because the free movement of researchers is seen as a driver for excellence. As it stands, researchers face considerable constraints in preserving their supplementary pension benefits when they decide to move into cross boarder opportunities.

European Commission

In a forward looking move to overcome these issues, the EC has come to the aid of a consortium of employers, through Horizon 2020, by helping to creating a single Retirement Savings Vehicle for European Research Institutions (RESAVER), which will set up contribution plans, suited for research organisations. The new scheme will create a savings product that allows mobile and non-mobile employees to remain affiliated with the same pension scheme when taking up the new opportunities while creating savings with lower asset management chargers and better access to quality investment.

Aon Hewitt already has a strong track record with the programme, being involved in the 2009 feasibility study of the proposed framework commissioned by the EC. After a various workshops and engagements with stakeholders in 2013 a group of representatives set up a “Task Force for the establishment of a pan-European retirement savings vehicle (RSV) for Research Professionals” for which Aon Hewitt was charged with providing a report on the six meetings held by the taskforce.

Recently it was announced that EC and the RESAVER consortium have appointed the same HR consultancy to provide full technical support for creating the pan-European defined contribution (DC) pension fund for researchers. The firm’s role will be to guide the end-to-end selection process, which includes the selection of investment managers, annuity providers, custodians, reinsurance providers, as well as administration providers and insurance providers to provide pension (2nd pillar and 3rd pillar) and risk benefits. In addition, Aon Hewitt will develop and implement a communications strategy to maximise participation in RESAVER.

Aon Hewitt - Pension

The programme starts with the roll out of a cross-border DC IORP that, over the next four years, will open to organisations in at least nine different countries. With the countries to be selected dependent on the relative demand – all public and private research institutions in selected countries will be able to take part in the programme.

Paul Bonser, partner and leader of Aon Hewitt's UK International Retirement Practice, comments: “This is a landmark assignment for Aon Hewitt which will change the way pensions are provided in Europe and will change organisations’ views on what is possible across borders and across companies. We expect this trend to gather pace, extending the geographical coverage of cross-border pension funds and enabling the coverage of smaller groups of employees on a cost-effective basis.”



RSM sells controversial UK wealth manager out of administration

26 March 2019

RSM has overseen the sale of UK financial advisory firm Mount Sterling Wealth out of administration. The company had fallen into insolvency earlier in March, but has been purchased by Quilter Private Client Advisers for an undisclosed fee.

Mount Sterling Wealth is a York-based financial advisory firm, offering financial planning and wealth management services to clients from offices in Mayfair and North Yorkshire. Founded in 2010, the firm has endured an acrimonious relationship with the UK’s businesses community, having been formed by Scott Robinson to move his clients from an old firm, after being sued for advising on investments which failed and were not covered by professional indemnity insurance.

Robinson was allowed to continue working as a financial adviser by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), despite being ruled against in court and avoiding further legal action after liquidating his company. The controversial decision of the regulator caused Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake to state the FCA needed "to take a long, hard look at itself" for allowing Robinson to continue trading.

RSM sells controversial UK wealth manager out of administration

That comment was prompted by the case of Hollinkrake’s Thirsk and Malton constituent, Andy Mohun-Smith, who according to the Yorkshire Post, lost £2 million after trusting Robinson (one of Mount Sterling Wealth’s two Directors alongside David McLaughlin). Mohun-Smith also claimed the saga had a “devastating” impact on his life and health, with the stress involved “undoubtedly a major factor” in the break-up of his marriage.

As a result of the chequered history of one of its Directors, there was little sympathy expressed for Robinson’s firm when it fell into administration in March 2019. Mount Sterling Wealth was placed into administration following historic financing issues, appointing Jamie Miller and Gareth Harris of RSM as joint administrators to oversee the sale of its assets. The York-based firm had around £100 million in assets under administration.

Mount Sterling Wealth has since been sold out of administration, in a deal that preserves both jobs and the continuity of service for its clients. The financial planning and wealth management practice was sold to Quilter Private Client Advisers for an undisclosed fee.

Jamie Miller, RSM restructuring advisory partner and joint administrator, said: "I’m pleased to confirm that the deal preserves all jobs, ensures continuity of service for the company’s large portfolio of private clients and business owners and should result in significant returns for both secured and unsecured creditors which is an excellent result in the circumstances."

Commenting on the acquisition, Dominic Rose, Strategy and Acquisitions Director at Quilter PCA, said, “Mount Sterling Wealth was placed into administration following some historic financing issues. RSM was appointed joint administrators and the business was then sold to Quilter Private Client Advisers. Mount Sterling Wealth’s portfolio of clients will now be serviced by Quilter PCA’s by London, Chester and Shipley offices ensuring continuity of service. In addition, one adviser will join Quilter PCA.”