APPT to launch professional pension trustee accreditation

The Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) has confirmed that its professional pension trustee accreditation process will open to applicants in April.

Approved trustees will be required to comply with a “rigorous professional standards code”, developed in close consultation with The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

The process will see professional trustees demonstrating their competency via exams, which will cover technical and soft skills, as well as demonstrating that they are ‘fit and proper’ via a criminal record and professional references check.

Accredited trustees will also be expected to complete a minimum of 25 hours relevant continued professional development each year to maintain the qualification.

Designed to promote the “highest possible standards” of trusteeship, the accreditation framework will be overseen by the APPT, who will “regularly review” the standards underpinning the process.

APPT chair, Nita Tinn, commented: “Accreditation represents a step-change for the professional trustee sector and will play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing standards across the industry, thereby securing better outcomes for all scheme members.

“It is clear from our work with TPR and the wider sector in devising this process that the industry needs a single set of standards, overseen by a recognised representative body.

"We encourage all professional trustees to register for this official accreditation process and recommend that sponsor companies engaging a professional trustee should always check their accreditation status.”

TPR recently consulted on proposals for mandatory professional trustees, but confirmed this week that these plans would be dropped in favour of support for the APPT accreditation process and standards.

TPR executive director of policy, David Fairs, said: “We welcome the APPT’s accreditation for professional trustees to ensure new standards created to improve governance and administration are delivered in a clear and structured way.

"The standards are an important step to increase protection for savers and I encourage professional trustees to fully engage with accreditation programmes.”

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