An increasing area of focus is to assess the effectiveness of the trustee board in its decision-making and the value of the support provided by advisers in that decision-making process. Traditional tools such as questionnaires or annual interviews with individual trustees do not always provide the necessary evidence. Specific issues that clients have been grappling with include:
- too much reliance on a small subset of the trustee board due to knowledge and experience
- trustees who do not have sufficient understanding of technical aspects to be able to engage in and challenge decisions
- meetings not being well run and meeting papers being late or with the wrong level of detail
- advisers who do not provide the right level of support in meetings.
We can provide support in a range of different ways and, as we do not provide wider services to trustees, we can provide a truly objective perspective.
A number of our clients are now using online technology at the end of meetings to evaluate the trustees’ assessment of the decision-making that took place and a trustee’s personal understanding of the issues.
The quality of the advisory support, including papers prepared in advance, can also be rated. Trustees can provide their comments on an anonymous basis, if this will lead to more open feedback.
The output is available in real time and any significant issues can be discussed at the end of the meeting. Trends in this feedback over time can help identify which topics the trustees find most challenging and inform future training needs.
In the news over the last week, the Pension Schemes Bill is at the final hurdle, automatic enrolment limits are reviewed, there is new research into trustee decision-making, the FCA sees signs of improvement in DB transfer advice and a full buy-in is completed.
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