“PSIT was chosen because of their knowledge of the subject and awareness of our particular schemes.”
“The work that has been done has been delivered beyond expectations.”
“They are very proactive and full of new ideas, they've brought better scheduling and better minute sets.”
“I enjoy working with PSIT and we have a very positive relationship. I was new to pensions and found them very helpful.”
“I would recommend them to anyone - I have dealt with a number of other independent trustee firms and would rate PSIT as the best. We are very happy with Mark and the service we get.”
“Their pragmatic approach helps with quick and easy decision making. Another approach might have made things more difficult.”
With two new compliance and enforcement bulletins issued on the same day, the Pensions Regulator (tPR) is making it clear pension trustees who fail in their duties will face penalties. The topics covered in tPR’s statements were two core pension scheme governance requirements - the scheme return and the chair’s statement for defined contribution (DC) schemes.
They highlight a worrying lack of governance and understanding of trustee responsibilities for some smaller pension schemes (under 100 members). Trustees of these schemes are more likely to fail to comply, with many indicating they were not aware of the chair’s statement requirements.Skeletons in the closet
If they are unaware of these very well-publicised requirements, what else is being overlooked?
The second case study given by tPR - a small scheme with an insurer and independent financial adviser (IFA) assisting the pension trustees with governance - does not surprise me. The trustees' excuse for not producing a chair’s statement was:
This really is bad. Trustees cannot simply abdicate their responsibility for knowing the regulations. They should be keeping their trustee knowledge & understanding (TKU) up to date.
It makes me wonder whether there are many other schemes who stated on the scheme return they have completed a chair’s statement when they haven’t. Perhaps tPR will start asking pension trustees for a copy of their chair’s statements to check compliance.But we don’t have the budget…
Employers with small schemes and tight budgets can be nervous of appointing a professional trustee who can help ensure penalty-free compliance and manage their scheme more effectively. Many see it as an additional layer of cost, which they believe they cannot afford. That’s not looking at the whole picture.
We act as professional pension trustee for a number of small schemes including those with under a 100 lives. Our remit includes managing scheme budgets and getting the best value out of advisers by focusing them on the key issues. This means scheme governance improves without increasing (and often reducing) the overall spend on advisory fees. Happy employer, happy regulator, happy scheme members!