Launch of two pro trustee accreditations risks 'confusion' - Dalriada

The launch of two professional pension trustee accreditation frameworks could cause confusion and undermine the qualification, Dalriada Trustees has warned.

The Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT) and the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) both announced the launch of their respective accreditation programmes within two days of each other earlier this month, despite initial plans to create a joint framework.

Dalriada Trustees director, Tom Lukic, said: “There are now two incredibly similar accreditation regimes which is unhelpful to the industry, could potentially cause confusion and undermine the benefits an accreditation programme was meant to bring to pension scheme governance.

“However, with a choice of accreditation regimes now available, professional trustees are having to carefully consider which they want to follow. Whilst our strong preference was for a single accreditation process, we now have to decide between the two.

“What’s best, an accreditation regime run by professional trustees for professional trustees, learning and developing from direct experience or one run by a third-party commercial organisation?”

Lukic added: “Whilst as a firm we remain supportive of the PMI, with regards to accreditation our intention is to continue to support the APPT’s accreditation process going forwards. We will be putting all of our professional trustees through the APPT’s process.”

In response, a spokesperson for the PMI commented: “From inception, the PMI was always set to be the accrediting body for the professional trustee standards as set out by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG).

“Both accreditations will follow the same framework but the APPT decided that they wanted to change the original plan and appoint a different partner to manage their accreditation process.

“It’s not necessarily the qualification that’s different, it’s the programme that will differ. Ultimately we will have to wait and see what the APPT’s programme looks like when it materialises later in the year.

They added: “The PMI has over 40 years of experience as a membership organisation. We can draw on our diverse experience in running an accreditation programme on behalf of the FCA as well as offering Ofqual regulated qualifications.

“Our robust accreditation programme is fully integrated with our new CRM system, which offers automation and great user experience. The automated system will be supported by our highly professional and experienced membership, qualifications and compliance teams, who will provide first class customer service.

"We believe our system is well placed to accommodate applicants both from large firms and sole traders.”

However, APPT chair, Nita Tinn, said: “APPT accreditation represents a gold standard for accreditation of professional pension trustees.

"As the official body representing the sector, we are the industry’s natural choice of accreditation provider.

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

The PMI's accreditation framework, APTitude, opened to applications today (25 February), whilst the APPT framework is expected to open the application process in April.

Whilst The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has welcomed both accreditation frameworks, its response to the consultation, Future of Trusteeship and Governance, dropped plans to require a professional trustee on every board, in favour of supporting the APPT trustee standards and accreditation.

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