Accountant (Pensions)

Location
Laurence House, Catford
Salary
£39,543 - £41,466 pa (PO3)
Posted
14 Oct 2019
Closes
27 Oct 2019
Ref
RES-19-052
Hours
Full Time

Lewisham is a dynamic and complex organisation supporting a local population of around 300,000 residents within the Borough; working in collaboration and partnership with public sector agencies and other providers within the Borough, and across London.  

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is a key part of the pay and reward package for local government employees and those working for other employers participating in the scheme. Although a national scheme, it is administered through local pension funds whose responsibility it is to ensure the scheme is adequately funded to meet its obligations and pay members retirement benefits. This funding is achieved through contributions collected from member employees and employers, as well as investment returns on the scheme’s assets; it is this combination of returns and contributions that determines the funding difference to be met by scheme employers.

The Council’s Pension Fund was valued at £1.4bn as at 31 March 2019, with almost 26,000 members accruing and receiving pension benefits. The Fund has performed well over the last three years, achieving average returns of approximately 10% per annum, in a period during which the Fund’s investment strategy has been to diversify and de-risk. This has seen the Fund invest in several new alternative asset classes such as infrastructure and private debt, whilst working closely with the London CIV, the regional pooling vehicle for London Pension Funds, as plans are made to transition the Fund’s assets into the pool.

The pension landscape is ever-changing, as are the governance, administration, and reporting requirements imposed on administering authorities; the Council’s Pensions Investment Committee and Local Pensions Board are responsible for deciding on the future strategy of the Fund and assisting the Council to secure compliance with LGPS legislation and regulations. The 2019 triennial valuation of the Fund will determine the future funding decisions and investment strategy of the Fund, linking back to the Council’s commitment to move the Fund away from fossil fuel-linked investments in response to climate change.

The Strategic Finance Pensions Team is responsible for the monitoring of Fund performance and supporting the Investment Committee and Pensions Board, and is instrumental in in delivering Fund objectives and ultimately working towards a fully funded scheme.

The role

This role will take the lead for key bank reconciliations, source to ledger reconciliations, committee report research and writing, as well as being one of the main points of contact for external fund managers and other external stakeholders. You will also support the annual closing of accounts and preparation of the annual report.

You will be responsible for assisting in the management of the Council’s pension investment function and supporting on technical matters.

You will be required to oversee and/or carry out a wide range of tasks as part of financial processes with a high degree of attention to detail, speed and accuracy. In doing so, you will be able to maintain a good understanding of the overall objectives of those processes and be able to interpret results, identify issues for concern and so advise senior managers or take action on your own initiative as may be required.  Examples of processes include but are not limited to:

a.            Monitoring income and expenditure against budgets, ensuring that they are accounted for properly and closing year-end accounts accordingly and in line with agreed timetables

b.            Advising on the financial implications of decisions or proposed decisions

c.             Performing complex reconciliations in high risk and high transaction volume areas such as corporate bank accounts and other corporate control accounts as may be required

d.            Understanding large and complex financial accounting systems and being able to advise on transactions within them; also able to advise on the practical implementation of changes to process within these systems

e.            Understand complex legislation as it relates to the local government pension scheme (LGPS) and be able to advice on individual cases or at a corporate level as may be required.

f.             Able to oversee high volume, high value and sensitive transactional financial services and ensure that appropriate quality control systems are in place and operating effectively

You will need to understand legislative accounting requirements and other related statutory and non-statutory guidance and to be able to interpret and apply this accurately within your own work area, and to be able to research legislation etc. in other work areas and apply accordingly.

The role will require the control of sensitive financial and/or personal data in accordance with proper professional standards, and to advise on the same.

You will be required to carry out options appraisals, reviews, investigations, benchmarking exercises and other complex financial techniques of comparable complexity, under direction from your line manager but working from day to day with a high degree of discretion.

It is important that you can draft high quality written advice for management review, for example in financial implications to reports to Mayor & Cabinet and other formal Member level groups.

You should be able to identify opportunities for improvements within your own areas of responsibility by applying your own professional and technical expertise, and to contribute to ensuring that such opportunities are implemented.

Individually or as part of corporate working groups, you will make decisions concerning the practical application and development of corporate financial controls and develop and provide appropriate training as required.

Location

Laurence House, Catford

What we’re looking for

The successful candidate will have the following skills, experience and attitude:

Commitment and determination.  You will be strong on attention to detail but also able to understand and take account of broader implications of potential courses of action.

Focused on practical solutions and achieving results.

Demonstrable technical expertise in at least one of the areas listed in the job description (or another relevant area for similar complexity and importance).

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding of complex legislation, accounting conventions, standards and codes.

Good at attention to detail, including being able to implement proper quality control measures to ensure that accuracy is maintained across work areas.

Good oral and written communication skills, including the ability to write and present reports on complex matters in an accessible format to those without specific financial background or experience.

Good logical and numeric reasoning skills / highly numerate and able to reason well and logically.

AAT qualified or CCAB part qualified accountant or able to demonstrate significant relevant financial experience in a large and complex organisation.

In return, we’ll offer excellent development opportunities, plus a range of benefits that includes a career average pension scheme, flexible working and the opportunity to make a real difference to our local community.

Salary details

£39,543 - £41,466 pa (PO3)

Further information

For an informal discussion, please contact Robert Browning on 020 8314 6274.

Lewisham Borough Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment.

We value diversity and welcome applications from all backgrounds.

To find out more, including a full job description and person specification, and to apply, please visit https://lewisham.gov.uk/mayorandcouncil/counciljobs and search council jobs

Closing date

Sunday 27 October 2019 at 11:59pm.

Interview Date: Monday 4 November – Thursday 7 November 2019

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