SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN321907
Module Leader Patrick Ring
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Pension and Employee Benefits or equivalent.

Summary of Content

This module builds upon the pensions material covered in previous levels, particularly Level 3 - Pension & Employee Benefits. It encourages students to critically analyse current theoretical and practical issues relating to the structure and funding of the UK pensions system.The module will also provide students with a detaile d familiarity of the creation, administration, financing and investment issues surrounding pension schemes and, in particular, occupational pension provision as it is practiced in the UK, and will incl ude analysis of the latest issues affecting these areas.


1. Theoretical debates surrounding the structure of UK pensions provision - pillars and parametrics. 2. Creating pension schemes - the practical issues. 3. Pension funding - the theory and the practice. 4. Pension scheme administration - complexity and necessity. 5. Pension scheme supervision.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Critically analyse theoretical debates concerning the structure and funding of pension provision in the UK.2. Understand and critically assess how UK pension schemes are created, administered and funded.3. Apply their knowledge of UK pension provision to solve problems and provide practical solutions.4. Provide a detailed analysis of current issues at the forefront of the pension industry.5. Contextualise these pension issues within broader debates relating to public/private provision and financial services regulation.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Using lectures and downloadable podcasts 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. Their research and enquiry will then be tested and underpinned by seminars, in which they will be encouraged to formulate arguments as well as provide evidence-based solutions to practical case studies. Students will be supported by use of Blackboard, including online group discussion and work. Students will be provided with a template for the evaluation of their coursework, and asked both to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own work. They will be asked to consider their work in relation to in relation to clear guidance provided on the coursework's requirements and given time to discuss and reflect upon those criteria in class prior to submission. Feedback will be provided soon after submission and identify strengths, weaknesses and corrective advice. Feedback will identify generic and individual action points and encourage estudents to identify their own action points to close the gap between current and desired performance. Time will also be set aside in seminars to provide feedback on formative tasks. All feedback will be constructive and clear.

Indicative Reading

Due to the broad nature of this module, there is no single prescribed textbook. Indicative Reading Barr, N., Diamond, P.(2009) Pension Reform: A Short Guide, OUP Clark, G. Munnell, A. and Orszag, J. (eds) (2006) The Oxford Handbook of Pensions and Retirement Income, Oxford, OUP Clark, G., Strauss, K. and Knox-Hayes, J. (2011) Saving for Retirement: Intention, Context, and Behaviour, Oxford, OUP DWP (2006) Security in retirement: towards a new pension system, Norwich, The Stationery Office DWP (2007) Personal accounts: a new way to save, Cm7121, Norwich, TSO b7DWP (2008) Risk sharing consultation, 5 th June 2008, London, Department for Work and Pensions Ellison, R. (2006) The Pension Trustee's Handbook: The Definitive Guide to the Trustee's Role and Obligations (5 th Ed), Thorogood Ellison, R. and Jolly, A.(2007) The Pension Trustee's Investment Guide, London, Thorogood ) HM Treasury (2008) Updating the Myners principles: a response to consultation, October 2008, Norwich, HMSO Jupp, B (1998) Reasonable force: The place of compulsion in securing adequate pensions, London, Demos Lusardi, A. (ed) (2008) Overcoming the Saving Slump: How to Increase the Effectiveness of Financial Education and Saving Programs, Chicago, University of Chicago Press Marshall, J., McKenna, C. and Graham, E. (2005) Pensions Act 2004: A Guide to the New Law, London, The Law Society Mitchell, O. and Smetters, K. (eds.) 2003 The Pension Challenge: Risk Transfers and Retirement Income Security, OUP Mitchell, O. and Utkus, S. (eds.), Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons From Behavioural Finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press ONS (2010) Occupational Pension Schemes Annual Report, No.17, 2009 Edition, Newport, Office for National Statistics Pensions Commission (2004) Pensions: Challenges and Choices, London, TSO Pensions Commission (2005) A New Pension Settlement for the Twenty-First Century: The Second Report of the Pensions Commission, London, TSO Pensions Commission (2006) Final report of the Pensions Commission, London, TSO Pensions Policy Institute (2012) The Pensions Primer: Introduction, London, PPI Self (2004) Tolley's Pension Administration, London, Tolley Self, R. (2005) Tottel's Pension Fund Trustee Handbook, London, Tottel Publishing Thaler, R. And Sunstein, C. (2008) Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press The Guide for Pension Trustees, NTC Publications The Guide for Pension Trustees, (Electronic resource) GCU Online Holdings Journals Pensions: An International Journal Pensions Management. Journal of Pension Planning &Compliance. Occupational Pensions. Pensions World. Fiscal Studies Websites Association of British Insurers - Association of Consulting Actuaries - The Department of Work and Pensions - National Association of Pension Funds - The Pensions Commission - The Pensions Policy Institute - The Pension Protection Fund - The Pension Regulator - The Trades Union Congress -

Transferrable Skills

The module will develop the data gathering, analysis and interpretation skills of students by making them personally responsible for identifying their own learning needs and encouraging initiative in assembling relevant course material. Lectures and seminars will adopt an interactive approach, allowing students to develop their communication and group working skills through practical exercises, as well as having the opportunity to communicate concepts and theories via discussions and presentations. The practical exercises will include problem solving scenarios and role play.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Independent Learning (FT) 47.00
Independent Learning (FT) 99.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 25.00 n/a Short problem = 25% (1500words)
Coursework 0.00 25.00 n/a Policy note = 25% (1500 words)
Exam (Exams Office) 3.00 50.00 35% Unseen examination. Administered by Exams Office.