SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3N325650
Module Leader Patrick Ring
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

In this module students critically evaluate UK pension policy and reform, as well as looking at pensions law and tax issues in the content of pension planning for retirement. This includes assessing the role of Government, employers and individuals in relation to retirement provision. This involves a detailed examination of the nature and delivery of both defined benefit and defined contribution pension provision, including occupational, work-based and personal arrangements, trust-based and contract-based. Issues of membership, funding, governance, ethics, disclosure and administration are explored. Students also examine in detail the features of HMRC's tax regime as it applies to pension provision, covering pension contributions, investments and drawing pension benefits across the range of different pension arrangements , as well as transfers, and undertaking calculations of benefits and tax reliefs where appropriate. Students also examine the advice implications for a range of situations involving individuals and employers.


-360b7 Economic, demographic and socio-political challenges facing UK pension provision -360b7 The development and current structure of state and private pension provision in the UK, including automatic enrolment Defined benefit schemes - structure, funding, benefits, governance and administration b7 Defined contribution schemes (group and individual) - structure, funding, benefits, governance and administration Pension fund investment, principles for responsible investment, ESG approach to investment b7 The regulatory bodies responsible for pensions Pension scheme accounting and actuarial issues relating to pension schemes Pension planning for individuals: b7 Legal and HMRC requirements concerning contributions and benefits, limits and allowances, including calculations b7 Analysing options and relevant factors in deciding when and how to take pension benefits at retirement b7 Analysing options and relevant factors in deciding how to deal with preserved benefits and pension transfers, as well as ill-health and death benefits b7 Assessing the retirement needs of individuals - planning, investments, risks and outcomes

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to: 1. Critically discuss the current policy issues concerning UK pension provision.2. Analyse the nature and operation of defined benefit and defined contribution pension provision. 3. Discuss the key legal, tax,governance and compliance requirements relating to the creation, structure and funding of pension arrangements, as well their investments, governance and the administration of benefits4. Explain and assess the structure of state retirement benefits in the UK.5. Explain and apply the pensions regulatory and tax regime to individuals and their employers including undertaking pension calculations and analysing transfers of benefits and discuss individual savers' aims and objectives and to meet those onjectives.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Using lectures as a framework, students will require to gather, analyse and interpret a range of material from various sources, including current theoretical research as well as up-to-date industry analysis. A Discussion Board and Blog will also be used to highlight and discuss up-to-date pension issues arising in the course of the module. Social media will also be extensively used as means of expanding students' awareness of the range range of research resources and avenues available. Seminars will provide the opportunity to integrate all of this material by analysing and discussing particular issues. Students will be encouraged to formulate arguments as well as provide evidence-based solutions (including calculations) to practical examples and case studies. A practical dimension will be added through analysis of actual pension schemes, calculations and case study scenarios and presentations by guest speakers from the pensions industry. This will also provide an opportunity for formative feedback. Students' detailed understanding will also be assessed by a final exam. Students will be provided with a template for the evaluation of their coursework, and asked to identify both the strengths and weaknesses of their work, considering it in relation to clear guidance provided as to the coursework's requirements. Forward feedback will also be given by analysis of anonymised previous courseworks and exam scripts GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is normally provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

CORE TEXT/SOURCES Pensions and Retirement Planning: London, CII. Study Text R04 (latest Edition) HMRC internal manual: Pensions Tax Manual, available at: <> Other Texts b7 Barr, N., Diamond, P.(2009) Pension Reform: A Short Guide, OUP b7 Clark, G. Munnell, A. and Orszag, J. (eds) (2006) The Oxford Handbook of Pensions and Retirement Income, Oxford, OUP b7 Clark G., Strauss, K. and Knox-Hayes, J. (2011) Saving for Retirement: Intention, Context, and Behavior, Oxford, OUP b7 Lusardi, A (ed) (2008) Overcoming the Saving Slump: How to Increase the Effectiveness of Financial Education and Saving Programs, Chicago, University of Chicago Press b7 Marshall, J., McKenna, C. and Graham, E. (2005) Pensions Act 2004: A Guide to the New Law, London, The Law Society b7 Mitchell, O. and Smetters, K. (eds.) 2003 The Pension Challenge: Risk Transfers and Retirement Income Security, OUP b7 Mitchell, O. and Utkus, S. (eds.), Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons From Behavioural Finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press b7 Pensions Policy Institute (2018) The Pensions Primer, London, PPI b7 Thaler, R. And Sunstein, C. (2008) Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press Web Resources Association of British Insurers: <> Association of Consulting Actuaries: <> The Department of Work and Pensions: <> The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association: <> The Pensions Policy Institute: <> The Pension Protection Fund: <> The Pension Regulator: <>

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module, and in the context of pension provision, students will be able to: Present and convey technical information and advice in a manner suitable to a range of public and professional audiences. Analyse complex problems, apply and their knowledge to those problems, and exercise autonomy and judgement, to provide appropriate solutions in familiar and less familiar contexts Undertake critical analysis and evaluation of government policies and legislation in the context of specific industry and consumer interests Select and use pension and tax calculations in appropriate contexts Enhance their research skills through a greater understanding of the potential of social media

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 124.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Scenario-based problem (2000 words) Week 10
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Unseen exam