At Acuvest, we are experts on what delivers better outcomes for people from company Pension Schemes and the roles that Trustees play in ensuring all duties and responsibilities are adhered to. Paul King, Business Development and Client Manager, walks us through the main points.
Experienced and committed Trustees are vital to a successfully run pension scheme and are bound to always act in the best interests of beneficiaries, i.e. the people who will retire from the scheme in the future. But we all know that key duties and functions are increasing and there is plenty of change afoot. Here’s my top 5 tips for Trustees for 2018 and beyond:
1 Let’s start at the very beginning (with the Oxford Dictionary’s definition)
An individual person or member of a board given control or powers of administration of property in trust with a legal obligation to administer it solely for the purposes specified.
Whether you are a lay Trustee or a professional Trustee the onus of responsibility to stay ahead of changes in regulation and practice can be onerous. A good habit to get into is keeping a regular check on what is being asked of you as a trustee. Checking in with the Pensions Authority should be standard practice as the agency offers a comprehensive guide for trustees on www.pensionsauthority.ie, as well as an e-learning facility for trustees at http://trusteetraining.pensionsauthority.ie. Acuvest has expert advisers on hand to talk you through your company scheme and what is the best way to proceed. Go to www.acuvest.ie for more information.
2 Knowledge is power
A good Trustee places an enormous emphasis on the importance of transparency and keeping an efficient record of all matters concerning their company pension scheme and member data. There is no scope for shortcuts when keeping a steady paper trail of your company scheme.
Ensure all details on members are up to date including marital status, a point often overlooked and seeking regular updates to records held such as email addresses will pay dividends in the future. The trustee is accountable for the scheme’s assets and data, so any discrepancies will lead back to the trustee’s shoulders.
3 Good governance leads to good outcomes
As a trustee of a company pension scheme, the onus is not only to fulfil the duties and responsibilities required of you but to ensure you are creating and driving an agenda on behalf of your members. This means you must dedicate an appropriate amount of meeting time to discussing regular agenda items that you know make a difference, e.g. member analysis and suitability of default funds.
4 Don’t complicate the complicated – Ask for help
Pensions are not the easiest to understand with schemes sometimes caught up in an ever-changing financial market or morphed by the global economy. An independent advisor is not affiliated to any of the services or products feeding into the pension scheme. An independent eye can determine more easily what is best for your company pension and what choices are available.
5 Communication counts
How familiar are members of your company pension scheme with the nature of their policies? The reality is that the trustee(s) should be making information available to members on a regular basis on how the scheme is performing even by simply including a cover note with the annual benefit statements will greatly enhance the experience of being a members of the scheme.
But do keep in mind that your level of understanding may be scores ahead of those set to benefit from the scheme. Where possible, make your language and explanations as simple as can be.
Paul King is Acuvest’s Business Development and Client Manager. Paul can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 01 6344520 for company pension scheme advice which is jargon-free and easy to understand.
Acuvest is an independent pensions and advisory management business taking care of the futures of over 40,000 of our clients’ employees. For more market analysis and expertise follow Acuvest on Twitter @AcuvestIreland and Acuvest.ie for ongoing blogs and pension updates.