Risk registers

DC governance

Whilst a common tool in the DB world, the use of risk registers in the DC environment is still an emerging practice. As a result the quality of registers in use does vary significantly.
In our experience, a combination of the Regulator’s DC assessment and a scheme-specific risk register tends to be most effective. The risk register should be reviewed quarterly for significant movements with an annual more detailed review combined with an updated DC assessment.

The trustees of a £4 billion scheme asked us to carry out a root and branch review of their governance. The scheme has both DB and DC sections, with a number of trustee sub-committees. The trustees had already identified two concerns:

  • was their risk register still fit for purpose?
  • how best to discuss risks as a trustee group, when many of the day-to-day decisions were taken at sub-committee level?

We worked with the pensions team and a sub-group of the trustees to update and streamline the risk register. We then provided the trustees with a bespoke online risk register, so the trustees could review and comment on specific risks in the run up to meetings (as well as use the risk register live in meetings). 

By having a smaller number of main risks which the trustees had debated and “bought into”, the risk register more naturally became part of regular trustee meetings. To help this development, trustee meetings were arranged so that agenda items were directly linked to the relevant risks from the new, streamlined risk register. This meant that, whatever the topic under discussion, any decision took into account the impact on the associated risks.

Via the online tool, specific risks on the risk register were allocated to the trustee sub-committees, so those groups could consider their areas of risk when meeting as a committee.

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Our starting point is to make sure a DB scheme’s risk register is fit for purpose.

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Our online risk registers can be reviewed and updated in real time to support decision making discussions.

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