BUFDG 2018 > Programme > Synopses



Plenary Sessions

Plenary Session 1: Busyness is a Rubbish Strategy

Monday 26th March 2018, 09:45 - 10:45, Middleton Hall

Tony Crabbe, Business Psychologist and author of ‘Busy’

We believe we are busy because there is too much to do; but really, busyness is a strategy for success and a set of work habits. Busyness is not inevitable; it’s a choice; and it’s a dumb choice. This talk explores why we’re busy, and why this matters; and how the habit of busyness will only get worse. Most importantly, it then shares psychological research to show practical ways in which we can use our attentional systems more effectively to think better and feel better personally; and to coach others to beat their busyness. The answer, by the way, no longer lies in time management; time management is making our busyness worse!


Plenary Session 2: Universities and [Social] Investment

Monday 26th March 2018, 14:25 - 15:25, Middleton Hall

Oliver Bates, Partner, Charities, Sarasin & Partners LLP

Brent Cheshire, Cheshire Energy Advisory

Cliff Prior, CEO, Big Society Capital

Chaired by Philippa Thomas

Access, The Foundation for Social Investment, describes social investment as “repayable finance that creates both social and financial returns”. Universities with funds to invest and a strategy to invest for social and financial returns are discovering the benefits of social investment, and are engaging organisations such as Big Society Capital to invest in good ideas that will deliver such returns. On the other side of the equation, universities are courting investment, from funders who expect a financial return or governments and donors who increasingly expect measurable social returns. This session brings together investors from some of these groups to examine whether each is doing enough to persuade others to “invest”. Many of us working in and with universities would argue that funding universities’ teaching and research is the ultimate investment in society – educating the population and finding solutions to problems, many of which are man-made (and some of which could be a result of education), but do we all understand each other?

Philippa Thomas will chair the session, giving each panellist a chance to say what they think and then examine their propositions with help from audience questions.


Plenary Session 3: An Introduction to The Chimp Paradox

Monday 26th March 2018, 16:00 - 17:00, Middleton Hall

Sarah Broadhead, Director, Chimp Paradox

Our minds are complex but with insight into how they work we can improve wellbeing and performance.

This session will introduce you to the rules of the mind to help you understand yourself and those you work with better.

We will examine why our minds can hijack us so we think and behave in ways we don’t want to.

Practical examples and exercises will be discussed in areas such as managing difficult conversations and managing pressure.

This session will be interactive and you will leave with strategies you can apply at home and in the workplace.


Plenary Session 4: Strategic Financial Planning for Sustainability

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 11:30 - 12:15, Middleton Hall

Bob Rabone, formerly CFO at the University of Sheffield and adviser to the FSSG

Professor Mark Smith, VC, Lancaster University and Chair of FSSG

Andrew Bush, KPMG

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy VC, Research and Innovation, University of Leeds and member of the FSSG

Chaired by Philippa Thomas

The obvious cross-subsidy of some teaching by income derived from other teaching, and that of research by income derived from teaching mostly international students, was brought to popular attention in HEPI’s report ‘How much is too much? Cross-subsidies from teaching to research in British universities’, published in November 2017.  The FSSG, a group currently supported by HEFCE and other funding councils, is running a project to understand income cross-flows in the HE Sector, to provide an updated view of how the sector generates income to fund the portfolio of activities it undertakes. Their findings will provide insight principally for the OfS and UKRI, given their responsibilities for monitoring financial sustainability and value for money. However, any Finance Director ought to be aware of how cross subsidies work in their institution and be able to explain it to anyone who asks. This session will debate whether it is reasonable to operate like this in an environment where students are increasingly aware of their consumer rights and their right to expect “value for money”, at a time when a free market is anything but.

Philippa Thomas will chair the session, giving each panellist a chance to say what they think and then examine their propositions with help from audience questions.


Plenary Session 5: Hull UK City of Culture: More to the Story

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 12:15 - 13:00, Middleton Hall

Katy Fuller, Creative Director and Joint CEO, Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Emma Morris, Executive Director and Joint CEO, Hull UK City of Culture 2017

From underdog to resounding success story, Hull has had an incredible journey since the decision was taken to bid for UK City of Culture status. After a year in which 2,000 events, covering every artform, were delivered in over 250 venues, £32 million was raised from more than 70 partners, 9 out of 10 residents participated in a cultural event in the first three months and 2,500 volunteers gave more than 300,000 hours of their time, Hull is far from planning a return to business as usual! 

The Culture Company and the multiple partners who came together for 2017 are collectively taking on the challenge of building a legacy for this success. As Hull University publishes the preliminary findings of the UK City of Culture evaluation, and a new leadership takes the Culture Company forward, Katy Fuller and Emma Morris take us through the story so far and their plans and aspirations for the future. 

Workshop Sessions

Workshop 1A: Language that Creates Connection (and Language that Doesn’t)

Monday 26th March 2018, 13:15 - 14:20, LTG, Larkin

Ellie Hemingway, Director, NOV8 Ltd

Everybody knows that the HE sector is facing unprecedented challenges. Of course, it makes complete sense for people to work together in a joined-up way to meet those challenges. And yet often this isn’t what happens. Instead there can be blame, apathy, confusion and inaction.

As the architects and custodians of institution-wide processes and communication, finance leaders are in a unique position to connect, guide and influence people right across and beyond the organisation. For many leaders these vital skills remain mysteriously elusive. We have all experienced feelings of connection and disconnection with our various audiences, but may not know why.

Drawing on real life examples, psychological models, and prominent historical leaders, this informative, interactive and practical session will focus on two crucial aspects of language that can be the difference that makes the difference. Participants will receive practical tools and techniques to try on the day, and take back to the day job.


Workshop 1B: J.P. Morgan’s Guide to the Markets for BUFDG

Monday 26th March 2018, 13:15 - 14:20, LTE, Larkin

Dr. David Stubbs, Head of Client Investment Strategy, J.P. Morgan Wealth Management, EMEA Sandeep Bhamra, Client Advisor, J.P. Morgan Endowments and Foundations Group

J.P. Morgan is delighted to deliver a Guide to the Markets presentation for BUFDG delegates on current investment themes and market outlook. The session will help provide insights on key macro-economic trends across the world and highlight the implications for investors such as Universities for their endowment and pension portfolios. These insights will also assist Finance Directors in providing economic updates to their Council members and for portfolio strategy planning for the year ahead. We will also facilitate Q&A from BUFDG members on any key topics of interest to be addressed.

Further information

Please do not hesitate to contact us to see how we can be of assistance to your University;

Sandeep.s.bhamra@jpmorgan.com or call 0207 134 5639

Visit our website at www.jpmorgan.co.uk/efg


Workshop 1C: Reform of Higher Education Pensions Provision and the 2018 Revolution

Monday 26th March 2018, 13:15 - 14:20, LTC, Larkin

Mike Harrison, Partner, Mercer

Stephen Willis, Chief Finance Officer, University of Hull

Rebecca Dodd, Principal, Mercer

2018 is a revolutionary year for Higher Education pensions. The 2017 USS valuation has led, inevitably, to proposals for material benefit changes and, equally inevitably, to significant industrial action.

The sector needs to consider the balance of pensions cost and risk and how it engages its colleagues on pensions issues. Universities need to consider what sort of pensions and benefits a 21st century workforce really wants and how change to pension provision could be a positive and engaging experience.

Stephen will share his own experience of pensions reform at University of Hull.

Mike and Rebecca will share their experiences of pensions reform across the sector (including SATs, LGPS and USS); innovative designs; bear-traps and war-stories; successful pensions education programmes; and examples of wider benefit reviews.

The session will be interactive giving delegates a chance to ask questions of consultants with massive experience in this complex area. 


Workshop 1D: Student Housing Procurement and Financing 

Monday 26th March 2018, 13:15 - 14:20, LTF, Larkin

Robert Kingham, Director, Higher Education, JLL

Peter Lyons, Partner, QMPF

Many universities have a critical need to invest in their student housing while at the same time focusing their borrowing ability on improving their academic estate. Many are therefore exploring alternative funding routes for expanding and improving their residential estates.

Between them, JLL and QMPF have advised 50+ universities and brokered student housing partnership deals that have created 30,000+ beds. In this session they will give some useful pointers for universities who are at earlier stages in their thinking about different routes, including:

•             Why do universities do these deals?

•             What are the funding structures used?

•             Scoping the project and economies of scale including non-residential elements

•             How do we get the deal off our balance sheet?

•             Hybrid and non-OJEU procurement models

•             How to achieve effective process management and negotiation

•             What you need to consider before starting the process

•             Timetables and resource commitment


Workshop 1E: How Universities are Reducing Energy Bills and Carbon Emissions with Salix Finance

Monday 26th March 2018, 13:15 - 14:20, LTB, Larkin

Craig Mellis, Programme Manager, Salix Finance

This technical session will outline the work Salix Finance has done in the Higher Education sector to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions by enabling energy-efficiency projects. It will look at the benefits these projects bring to institutes and include various case study examples of projects. Salix will deliver guidance and information on funding opportunities for universities to implement cost neutral energy efficiency projects and deliver a sustainable estates strategy. Salix will draw on its extensive experience of funding over £130 million worth of energy efficiency projects in almost 100 Higher Education Institutes across England, to showcase best-practice examples of projects that provide quick return on investment, creating both significant financial and carbon savings for universities.


Workshop 2A: Diversity in Finance

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 10:00 - 11:00, LTF, Larkin

Sarah Randall-Paley, Director of Finance, Lancaster University

Sue Baines, Head of Optimisation & Business Growth, UK Debit Cards, Barclays

Julie Mercer, Global Industry Lead Higher Education, Deloitte

Panel will be moderated by Kathleen Britain, Head of Charities and Not-For-Profits, Barclays Private Bank.

Diversity within the financial services sector is still falling short of where it should and could be. In this session, we plan to address the difficult topic of diversity amongst those in the finance field. Our panellists will provide their insight into what we are doing well, what challenges they have faced and why diversity is more important than just a statistic, and what practical steps we can all take to improve diversity in our own organisations. 

  • What does diversity mean to your organisation?
  • Why is diversity important to your organisation?
  • What challenges have you faced in introducing diversity into your organisation?
  • How has diversity benefited your organisation?
  • What more can we do to ensure the leadership teams reflect the people you support (colleagues, clients, students, etc)?


Workshop 2B: Mental Health Awareness

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 10:00 - 11:00, LTB, Larkin

Sarah Restall, Employer Engagement Manager, Time to Change

Jocelyn Cox, Involvement Officer, Children and Young People's Team at Time to Change

Rose-Anne Evans, Time to Change Young Champion and student at the University of York

As part of Mental Health UK’s partnership with Lloyds Bank, this session has been organised with our friends at Time to Change, to focus on strategies for tackling mental health stigma and discrimination and changing attitudes to mental health at university and in the workplace. We will cover the prevalence and impact of stigma and discrimination and will hear from a Young Champion speaking about their experience of mental health problems and their top tips for supporting young people’s mental health at university. We will then will explore some solutions to these issues, including the Time to Change Campaign and free resources and support package. Time to Change is a growing social movement changing the way we think and act about mental health. Lloyds Bank’s partnership with Mental Health UK supports the Bank’s wider ambition to help Britain prosper through tackling social and economic issues, addressing inequality, supporting disadvantaged people and by championing Britain’s diversity.


Workshop 2C: Deconstructing and Challenging the Norms in University Estate Financing

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 10:00 - 11:00, LTG, Larkin

Marc Finer, Director, Debt Advisory Group, KPMG LLP

Gwyn Llewelyn,Director, Infrastructure Advisory, KPMG

This session will reflect on recent and current trends in the financing of universities’ academic and residential estates, and will deconstruct the drivers of estate financing strategy, drawing on the speakers’ own experience advising a wide range of institutions in the sector. This deconstruction will include consideration of the role of a several key stakeholders (both internal and external to the university) in the development and execution of estates financing strategy, and how this is driving many universities to pursue similar (and relatively traditional) financing solutions. In this context, the speakers will present an alternative, challenging approach to estates financing strategy development, and will give delegates an opportunity to consider and discuss the potential benefits of that approach relative to their current experience. 


Workshop 2D: From High Carbon to Low Carbon; Reducing Climate Related Financial Risk and Investing in the Low-Carbon Economy  

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 10:00 - 11:00, LTE, Larkin

Sandra Carlisle, Head of Responsible Investment Specialists, HSBC

Climate change is real and will affect all of us both as investors and as members of society.

Annual cost of action to reduce GHG emissions to stabilise the climate will be 1% of global GDP by 2050 according to Lord Stern or an estimated USD1trn based on projected GDP of USD100trn in 2050.

Limiting climate change to < 2 degrees in line with the Paris agreement will entail profound shifts in the current structure of the global economy. This creates both risk and opportunity for investors. HSBC GAM has developed a low-carbon equity fund that aims to provide long term total return by investing in a portfolio of global developed market equity portfolio with reduced exposure to carbon intensive businesses.


Workshop 3A: Student Accommodation - The Deals Out There

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:30 - 14:15, LTG, Larkin

Victoria Goddard, Property Partner, and Head of Universities and Higher Education Team, Pinsent Masons

Michelle Beaumont, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons

Chris Owens, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons

The student accommodation sector remains buoyant, with quality accommodation provision being a key part of the student experience.

In this session we will:

  • Explore the two main project and funding structures available to universities looking to procure their student accommodation project and implications (positive and negative) of each. Also looking at the issue of university equity investment in the Development Partner.
  • Examine how to go about procuring the project, discussing common pitfalls and mistakes and how up-front planning can be critical to maintaining overall programme.
  • Explore the key risk allocation issues that underpin contracts and what Finance Directors need to worry about, and how to drive value out of your project.
  • De-bunk myths and mysteries of competitive dialogue and suggest ways universities can be "dialogue ready" and a credible contracting authority. What steps can you take to help ensure programme is maintained? What level of resource will the project need?
  • Consider what happens after the contract is signed and how to make sure the contractor delivers on its tender promises.


Workshop 3B: Is Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies the Most Effective Way to Achieve Decarbonisation? Investing in Accordance with Our Climate Active Strategy.

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:30 - 14:15, LTE, Larkin

Oliver Bates, Partner, Charities, Sarasin & Partners LLP

Paul Fairbrother, Investment Manager, Charities, Sarasin & Partners LLP

Climate change is arguably the biggest challenges facing us. Whilst consumers and Governments need to adjust their approach, so do investors. So far, the debate has been led by the ‘divestment campaign’, targeting fossil fuel producers, which has been effective at raising awareness. The issue, though, is that divestment alone will not result in decarbonisation, a healthier planet or a less risky portfolio.  Selling the University’s shares to a buyer who doesn’t care does nothing to change a company’s strategy. To seek real change we believe investors should use their influence to ensure companies have a clear strategy for climate change and move towards net zero emissions.

An ‘engagement approach’ lies at the heart of the Climate Active Strategy – investors in the strategy will be able to join in engagements, adding their voice to the debate, and divest if needed, should companies management show no inclination of changing their approach.     


Workshop 3C: Connecting HE Pension Provision

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:30 - 14:15, LTF, Larkin

Paul Hamilton, Partner and Head of Higher Education, Barnett Waddingham

Pensions seem to be becoming ever more disconnected in the HE sector:

  • Disconnected from other sectors; where defined benefit schemes are generally closed.
  • Disconnected within the sector; as the differences between TPS vs USS and LGPS vs SAT become more apparent.
  • Disconnected within institutions; as the benefits provided by the various pension schemes (and the associated costs) diverge, leading to potentially very different benefits being provided to different members of staff.

The disconnects listed above are going to cause increasing problems for the sector and Paul Hamilton will discuss the challenges in creating a more joined up approach and look at the different types of benefit provision (including CDC) that could be provided.


Workshop 3D: Maximising your ROI in India

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 13:30 - 14:15, LTB, Larkin

Mr Kapil Dua, Global Executive Director, Financial Consulting, Sannam S4

India currently ranks number two, behind China, in terms of both population and international student mobility. With over half its 1.3 billion people under age 25, it is projected to have the world’s largest number of college-aged students by 2025.

Long-term prospects for Indian student recruitment and partnership remain very strong, even if India can seem an expensive operating market with a complex and dynamic regulatory environment.

Yet with many universities heavily invested in the Chinese market, identifying and investing in the most appropriate activity in India is strategically important.

How can CFOs ensure that they are squeezing every last drop of value out of their investment in India?

In this session, Kapil will highlight four practical ways to make the most of the money you are putting into India and the money you are projecting to take out.


Workshop 4A: ‘Out-of-the-Box’ Planning Solutions in an Era of Rapid Change

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 14:15 - 15:00, LTB, Larkin

Austin Jackson, Managing Director, Account-Ability Ltd

Quentin Jackson, Director, Account-Ability Ltd

Account-Ability will show how a ‘can-do’ ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to planning, forecasting, costing and reporting is both possible and needed in this era of rapid change in HE.

With case studies, we will show how ‘culture connecting’ planning solutions can be delivered ‘out-of-the-box’ in as little as 8 days using ‘standard models’ for: (i) student numbers and income planning; (ii) TRAC; (iii) budgeting and reporting; (iv) research planning; and (iv) course and module costing.

Ample time will be allowed throughout for Finance Directors to challenge and discuss the premise that planning, budgeting, reporting and costing can and needs to be changed radically from an ‘annual slog’ to a slick, efficient, informing process with continuous feedback on in-year performance.

We will discuss how an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach short circuits ‘excuses to delay’ and delivers ‘everything that is material’, resulting in a huge increase in planning productivity, and puts down a ‘culture change’ marker.


Workshop 4B: The changing face of cash management

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 14:15 - 15:00, LTG, Larkin

Robert O’Riordan, Institutional Business Development Director, Insight Investment

This session will focus on the key topics that are changing the face of cash management, including:

- The development of money market fund (MMF) regulations, which has impacted MMFs’ ability to preserve capital in all market conditions and their yields.

- The trend of treasurers looking to diversify their cash away from bank exposure, due to less attractive bank deposits and deteriorating bank credit ratings.

In this session, we will discuss a new approach for treasurers to tackle both these headwinds, while still achieving their cash investment objectives. We will discuss how a non-bank government fund can offer treasurers diversification from the bank sector, as well as future-proofing MMF regulation with an investment that is backed by government securities, offers daily access to their cash and is set to remain constant NAV under the upcoming regulation, all without having to sacrifice on yield.


Workshop 4C: Beware the "Boilerplate" in Bank Facility Agreements

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 14:15 - 15:00, LTE, Larkin

David Emanuel, Leader, HE Banking Team, Veal Wasborough Vizards

Negotiating bank facility terms - balancing restrictions against operational activities.

Universities negotiating loan facilities need to consider how undertakings and covenants in standard Loan Market Association terms affect their operational activities in ways they might not have realised.

In this session we will look at some common situations and pitfalls to help you negotiate appropriate carve outs where possible, and understand the extent of restrictions.

Examples of issues we will consider:

Financial covenants - matching standard covenants to university financial reporting, and incorporating flexibility to adapt to changing accounting standards and reporting requirements in longer term facilities. FRS 102 is an obvious recent example.

Negative pledges - examining what is meant by ‘security’ and the potential effect of widely drafted definitions on existing and future grant funded assets with conditions.

Group undertakings - restrictions on joint ventures, shareholdings, and assets held outside the borrowing ‘group’.


Workshop 4D: Improve Your Chinese Students Payment Experience whilst Ensuring Back Office Efficiency

Tuesday 27th March 2018, 14:15 - 15:00, LTF, Larkin

Sheona Griffiths, Head of Marketing, WPM Education

International Students are indispensable for world-class universities and Chinese Students make up 31% of all non-EU students. Of the £4.5bn taken in non-EU tuition fees we estimate that £2-3bn is not being paid on card, but via overseas bank transfers, or from a UK bank account via transfer or direct debit. This is not only significantly impacting upon the efficiency of your back office, but is not how Chinese Students want to pay. Drawing on the findings of 10 focus groups with 80+ Chinese Students, we will share how Chinese students are paying their tuition fees, why they are paying in that way and what that experience is like for them. Find out what you can do to improve that payment experience and ensure you are operating as efficiently as possible.

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