Hymans Robertson promotes Shabna Islam to lead DC role

31 March 2021 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read
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Hymans Robertson has promoted Shabna Islam to lead its master trust research and manage the firm’s relationships with defined contribution product providers.

The UK pensions and actuarial consulting market currently commands combined revenues of around £2.5 billion, with that number likely to rise further in the near future. Almost three-quarters of UK defined contribution (DC) benefit plans are cash-flow negative, placing them in a precarious position amid a volatile geo-political and economic environment.

Having reported annual revenues of around £96 million for 2020, Hymans Robertson is one of the pension and actuarial advisory market's top ten players. As the firm looks to grow its offering to clients, amid a challenging and uncertain environment relating to Covid-19, Hymans Robertson has strengthened its DC wing with the appointment of Shabna Islam to Head of DC Provider Relations.

Hymans Robertson promotes Shabna Islam to lead DC role

Reflecting on her promotion, Islam commented, “We’ve seen the rapid rise in prominence of master trust pension schemes in the last few years, and its stepped up a gear even more in the last 12 months. I’m thrilled to be leading our specialist team in this rapidly growing area and look forward to working with, and advising, our clients about making the transition into these new vehicles.”

Islam joined Hymans Robertson in 2006 as an Actuary. She has an in-depth understanding of both the DC and defined benefit markets, specialising in provider selection exercises, implementing new pension arrangements, pension scheme design and member communications.

Her appointment comes after the UK’s Pensions Regulator and the Department for Work and Pensions recommended a move to master trust for many DC schemes amid the current uncertainty. A Master Trust is a multi-employer occupational scheme where each employer has its own division within the master arrangement, and by 2026, their share of the workplace pensions market is expected to grow from £35 billion to £400 billion.

Hymans Robertson will continue to work with clients making such a transition, and according to Islam, “it really couldn’t be a better time to make the move.”

She concluded, “We’ve seen the ongoing shift towards master trusts lead to highly competitive prices from providers and this is something that is likely to continue as more schemes move over the coming year… We genuinely believe that for schemes to take advantage of this pricing they should act now. It provides an opportunity for them to streamline their governance requirements, reduce their pension costs, and support their members through an enhanced pension arrangement.”