Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association

Edinburgh is no stranger to Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), having held their annual conference in the city since 2002. The leading provider of conferences, seminars, training, publications, education and information on pensions and retirement issues, their purpose is simple – ‘to help everyone to achieve a better income in retirement.’ We spoke to Kate Hadley, Head of Events at PLSA to find out more about their annual conference and what attracts them to Edinburgh year after year.

Please tell us about Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA)

We’re the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, the national association with a ninety-year history of helping pension professionals run better pension schemes. Our members include over 1,300 pension schemes with 20 million members and £1 trillion in assets, and over 400 supporting businesses. They make us the voice for pensions and lifetime savings in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels.

We have been delighted to welcome your annual conference to Edinburgh since 2002. What is it that attracts the conference to Edinburgh and what are the key requirements when selecting the host destination?

As part of our commitment to engaging with members, we look to hold our conferences outside London.  However, we do need world class conference facilities, an excellent transport network and high quality accommodation as well as sufficient venues for delegates to network outside conference hours.  Edinburgh meets all these needs in a spectacular setting so we have been holding our Investment Conference in Scotland’s capital city since 2002.

What was your set up and support during the organisation of the conference?

We used several suppliers we work with on a regular basis. Joe Manby (exhibition), Jonathan Bicknell (structures), Amigo (video) as well as the staff at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.  Things ran extremely smoothly and initial feedback suggests that delegates were pleased with the conference.

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What are the objectives of the conference?

Workplace pension schemes have £2.2tn of assets* under management in the UK which they invest on behalf of their members.  The PLSA’s annual Investment Conference provides them with an opportunity to keep on top of the latest trends, network with new and existing contacts and consider the issues of the day.

Who are the delegates attending the conference?

There are a wide range of delegates – all of whom are interested in the latest developments in pension fund investment.  They range from pension scheme trustees to fund managers to service providers to journalists and trade bodies. 

Have delegate numbers grown over the years?

Numbers have remained relatively consistent over the years which is a testament to the top quality speakers, significant work that is put into developing the programme and the venue/location itself.     

Do you have any feedback from delegates?

Formal feedback takes more time to process as we ask for feedback forms. However, initial   anecdotal feedback from delegates suggests that they found the programme interesting as well as informative and the location excellent.

What have been the main highlights of the conferences?

It is always good to hear positive feedback from delegates and people seem pleased with the contents of the programme as well as the variety of speakers.  Some highlights included Gina Miller from the True and Fair Foundation who was one of our headline speakers as well as Dan Snow (Broadcaster).  We also had some extremely interesting sessions on socially responsible investing which caught the imagination of delegates. 

Have you taken part in many social activities whilst in Edinburgh? If so, what activities have you done?

The conference naturally took up much of our time during the day but we did visit some lovely restaurants in the evening and I believe that several staff members stayed on once the conference had finished to enjoy the more cultural side of Edinburgh.

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