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Corporate Governance

The Society aims to meet the highest standards in corporate governance and voluntarily adopts the relevant provisions of the 2016 UK Corporate Governance Code. The Board is responsible to the Society’s members for good corporate governance and applies high standards to ensure that this is achieved.

The full Corporate Governance Statement can be found in the Society’s Annual Report and Accounts to 31 December 2018.

Click here to view Annual Report and Accounts 2018

Board Committees
Click here to view Terms of Reference of the Audit and Risk Committee

Click here to view Terms of Reference of the Nominations Committee

Click here to view Terms of Reference of the Remuneration Committee

Click here to view Terms of Reference for the With Profits Committee

Letter of Appointment
Click here to view a Specimen of the letter currently used for the appointment of new non-executive Directors

Board Diversity Policy  
The Society recognises the benefits of promoting diversity of Board members, and having a broad set of qualities and competencies when recruiting members to Board. The Society’s Board Diversity Policy sets out how the Society complies with these requirements.

Governance Advisory Arrangement
Since April 2015, pension providers operating workplace pension plans must have an independent Governance Committee or a Governance Advisory Arrangement ("GAA"), whose principal function is to:
• Act solely in the interests of the members of those pension plans; and
• Assess the ‘value for money’ delivered by the pension plans to those members.

PTL provide the Society’s GAA for our workplace pension plans, which were all grouped personal pension plans at commencement. The GAA is required to produce an annual report on a number of matters, including an assessment of the value delivered by these pension plans. Click here to view their latest report.  In the report, they conclude that our grouped personal pension plans “offer reasonable to good value for money".

Principles and Practices of Financial Management
The Society has produced a detailed statement about how it manages the with-profits fund. The document is called ‘Principles and Practices of Financial Management’ (PPFM) and complies with the requirements laid down by Financial Conduct Authority. The document is intended to assist knowledgeable observers to understand the way in which the with-profits business of the Society is conducted. The Society has also produced a much simpler, easier to follow version of the Principles and Practices in Plain English called ‘A guide to how we manage the with-profits fund’.

Click here to view A guide to how we manage the with-profits fund

Click here to view Annual report to with-profits policyholders

Click here to view Changes to the PPFM

Click here to view Principles and Practices of Financial Management (PPFM)

The Society's run off plans
The documents below set out our run-off plans for the year in accordance with the FCA's Handbook of rules.

Click here to view The Equitable Life Assurance Society 2018 run-off plan

Click here to view The Equitable Life Assurance Society 2017 run-off plan

The Society does not undertake investment management directly as this has been outsourced to Standard Life Aberdeen for our unit-linked funds, and to BlackRock for our other funds.

Standard Life Aberdeen and BlackRock have confirmed that they comply with the UK Stewardship Code. Both have been assessed by The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as Tier 1 firms. This means FRC consider they “provide a good quality and transparent description of their approach to stewardship and explanations of an alternative approach where necessary”.

Click here to view:
BlackRock's statement on their compliance with the UK Stewardship Code

Aberdeen Standard Investments’ statement on their compliance with the UK Stewardship Code

Our mandates with BlackRock and Standard Life Aberdeen require them to report on activity in this area and we will monitor this on a regular basis.

Environmental, Social and Governance Factors
Environmental, social and governance factors (ESG or sustainability) are integrated into the investment manager’s process. Such ESG concerns are one factor among several that are used in the selection of securities for our portfolios. The investment manager advocates will look for sustainability excellence when it engages with companies they are considering investing in. We support the incorporation of ESG factors into the investment process by its investment managers.

UK Modern Slavery Act 2015
Given the nature of the Society’s business, we do not consider there is significant risk of slavery or human trafficking within the company or its  supply chain. A ‘right to work’ check is undertaken for all staff as part of the recruitment process. We pay staff above the National Living Wage. We treat staff fairly in accordance with our policies and procedures.

At least annually, we require our material third-party suppliers to attest that they comply with the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and, in particular, to confirm there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in their operations or those of their subcontractors. The annual attestations provided since the legislation came into force have confirmed compliance with the Act.

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