John McCawley's letter (Money Marketing, August 15) raises a few points and I respond to them in the same order.
1. The 90/10 or directors select portfolio is a fully approved SSAS and is not “fully insured”. Whereas the 90/10 is a packaged hybrid. It needs no conversion to take advantage of the full SSAS benefits.
2. We launched the 90/10 in 1992 with a structure of fees that were paid by NPI if the trustees invested in an EPP with NPI regularly at certain levels, that is, someone pays the fee. It was quite clear in the fee agreement (signed at the outset by the principal employer and the trustees) that fees would be reviewed annually and three months' notice would be given of any changes. Even though we did not change our fees for many years, we still wrote to the trustees and their advisers annually to inform them.
3. There is no document, marketing literature or sales aid that suggests the the original fee structure was guaranteed not to change ever. We are all aware of the enormous regulatory burden placed on pension schemes since the mid-90s and it would be unreasonable to expect additional fees not to be charged.
4. AMP Pension Trustees has always charged for all the services provided, including day-to-day management, only that NPI has paid them due to the EPP investment. When the latter does not happen in any one year, the fees are payable by the scheme.
5. I am unable to comment on the advice given by the member trustees at the point of sale as that was between them and their advisers. The fee agreement is, however, very clear on the charges and how and when they arise.
6. AMP Pension Trustees is a limited trustee company acting independently in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust, as it should. For obvious reasons, it operates independently of its parent in the performance of its duties. Any complaints against trustees may be referred to the Pensions Ombudsman or Opra.
I am very confident that our practices at AMP Pension Trustees are consistent with the market and that we provide good value for money in relation to our fees. We have almost 1,300 satisfied SSAS customers.
Chief executive & actuary, AMP Pension Trustees, Cardiff