The programme, according to organisers, is the first of its kind in the UK and has been designed to give pensions professionals a comprehensive grounding in pensions risk and investment management strategies, alongside techniques associated with managing defined benefit and defined contribution schemes.
During 12 evenings between May and October, the programme will be taught by a mixture of academics from the Pensions Institute and the finance faculty of Cass, together with leading practitioners from the pensions industry.
Chris Wagstaff, senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School – which is part of City University, London – and the programme’s director, said: “Understanding the nuances of institutional investment and risk management, with its often mystifying jargon and terminology, is by far the hardest and arguably most important aspect of successfully managing any pension scheme.
“Our programme is designed to help pensions professionals confidently navigate the risk and investment management landscape, and understand the governance challenges involved in developing, implementing and running a scheme’s investment and risk management strategies.”
Joanne Segars, chief executive of NAPF, said: “This venture offers trustees, pension managers and anyone working in pensions a solid understanding of risk and investment management, which are critical areas during these difficult economic times.”
Ms Segars continued: “We have put a lot of thought into developing a wide-ranging syllabus that will deepen a delegate’s pensions knowledge and also go towards professional accreditation.”
The programme is targeted at delegates who may have little or no formal training in risk and investment management, but who nevertheless wish to attain a practical, structured and comprehensive grounding in these vital areas.
The programme is accredited by the Pensions Management Institute, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and the CFA Society of the UK, meaning that delegates who complete the course will receive formal accreditation towards their continuing professional development.
Among the topics covered in the curriculum are the macro-economic background to pensions and risk management as well as liability driven investment.
Nick Evans, a financial planner for Hertfordshire-based One Life Wealth Planning, said: “There are myriad training opportunities now available for advisers, but the downside of what exists in the market place is that it is normally sponsored or provided by some form of product provider in some way, shape or form and for that reason you tend to end up with a bit of a sales pitch with it that tends to put off some people. The advantage of that, however, is that in most cases that training is free and clearly it is also run during the working day. I am not sure I have an opinion on how successful I think this would be, but I know it is something I wouldn’t do just because I think there are so many sources out there. So for the general holistic financial adviser, I don’t think [this course] has much appeal over and above what exists already.”