In February 2012, the Pension Management Institute (PMI) and the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London announced their partnership for exploring the future development of pension schemes. This partnership is of crucial importance to both parties in terms of learning, sharing expertise and know how, collaboration, and combining theories with challenges in industry.

On 13 September 2012, Imperial College London and the Pensions Management Institute formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to officially begin their collaboration. The ultimate aim for this collaboration is to establish a Masters course which would focus on Sustainable Pensions and Retirement Provision. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Pro Rector of Imperial College, Professor Julia Buckingham and the President of the Pensions Management Institute, Susan Andrews, and was witnessed by Steve Webb MP, Minister of State for Pensions.

Some of the challenges faced by PMI practitioners include population growth and the increased life expectancy. Vince Linnane, PMI Chief Executive commented: “The PMI has been considering bringing an academic partner on board for some time. Whilst we have experience gained over four decades amongst our members of advising and managing pension schemes, we felt that such seismic changes for our industry should lead us to examine how we can benefit from aligning ourselves with an institution which can offer academic enhancement, collaborative research and innovative thinking to promote even higher standards of excellence in retirement provision. The future of providing an adequate standard of living in retirement is one that will challenge this country for decades to come. We hope that our partnership with Imperial will, over time, stimulate some fresh thinking on finding solutions to this problem.”

During the announcement of the agreement on the Memorandum of Understanding between the parties on 8 February 2012, Dr Zen Makuch, Director of the Centre for Environmental Policy, stated: “Imperial College London already has excellent links to the business community which this collaboration will further strengthen. The UK has as much invested in pension funds as the value of its GDP. The strength and vitality of UK pension schemes feed directly into the general well-being of UK plc. We see the partnership with the PMI as being a primary driver towards Imperial strengthening connections with business communities in the UK and I am confident that the innovative thinking that has led Imperial College London to be rated one of the highest rated universities in Europe will be of enormous benefit to the UK pensions industry and the PMI”.

The importance of this collaboration was highlighted by Mr Webb who stated that a long-term vision was required given the variety of challenges facing pension managers today.

The Centre for Environmental Policy and PMI are currently in communication in order to prepare the framework for the best possible route ahead.