Disclosure of actuarial advice 2

United Kingdom

Reference: F00814

The trustee changed the commutation and early retirement factors of the scheme. A member asked for copies of the actuarial advice that the trustee had received on the issue, arguing that it was a trust document paid for out of scheme assets. The trustee argued that the member was on a fishing expedition and there should be no requirement to disclose actuarial advice until the member had demonstrated a proper cause of action. The trustee also argued that it was not obliged to divulge any material indicating the reasons for discretionary decisions. After being threatened by the Ombudsman with proceedings for contempt of court, the trustee eventually produced copies of the actuarial advice. The Ombudsman remarked that, if the trustee's submission were correct, any trustee could seek to argue that every document generated by or for them was in some way "relating to" their deliberations. The Ombudsman concluded that the advice was factual rather than revealing the trustee's own reasons for its decisions. The Ombudsman directed the trustee to supply the member with an unabridged copy of the actuarial advice.